When preparing to get a website done by a professional, savvy business owners should do their due diligence to start the process off right. Here are some tips that businesses can follow to save money, and turn a web developer into their new best friend.

1. Write down up to three outcomes you want to accomplish with your website

By defining your desired outcomes for the site, your developer will have a macro sense for what you want. This also allows the developer to more quickly come up with ideas that may be out of the box.

2. Features Wishlist

No one knows your business better than you. Make sure you sit down at least twice as an organization to brainstorm features that will make your jobs easier. It’s easier (and cheaper) to cut or reorganize features in the planning stage than it is to add a feature late in the game.

3. Describe who will be using your website

Knowing your audience is vital in any form of communication, and in web development it can be a great money-saver. If you know in advance who your users are, you can avoid unnecessary features, confusion layouts, and maximize ROI. Is your website internal or external? Do your users prefer mobile phones or screen readers? What is the average age and level of technological aptitude of your audience? Answering these questions help build a website’s foundation before you ever start paying for development.

4. Designate a decision-maker

Confusion and redundancy waste time, and thus, cost you money. In order to cut down on problems designate a person who has final decision making power for the project. Web developers love this because they don’t have to navigate company conflicts, but instead can focus on getting the job done right.

5. Decide on a time frame

By deciding when you want a final product completed, you can be upfront with your expectations in advance. Although the developer may explain that the time frame is not realistic, at least you will know well before issues arise. By not deciding on an expected completion date, you run the (very rare) risk of having the clock run by unscrupulous developers. In addition, asking for rush development deep into a project will incur additional costs because the developers have to push aside other projects.

6. Decide on a loose style with 4 keywords. Then, let the developer design to their fullest

Get together with your designated project decision-maker and decide on 4 styling keywords. For example, do you want your site to be modern? Clean? Cozy? Once those words are decided, allow the developer the flexibility to run with the project. Although it can be difficult (there’s a lot at stake after all), reputable developers must be trusted to use their expertise and experience to build something great. Many a stunning design has been ruined by clients who don’t have any design experience (or think they do) micromanaging the project. There is certainly room for critique, but in general feel comfortable trusting that your developer’s career hinges on them making great sites – you’ll be glad you did.

7. Decide on a budget

Having an idea of how much you want to spend is not just important for web development, but really for any major project in life. Budgets help keep costs under control, and having a budget early can help your developer set the correct expectations. Maybe your budget allows for extra features, or some things may have to be consolidated. This also helps the project have a well-defined scope.