“I need help with my website, but my budget is limited”. A predicament we come across all too often. Whether you have specific issues that need fixing or you’d like to head towards a complete site rebuild, budget management can be overwhelming.
Getting additional budget to support web development is a common challenge. One that is no doubt exacerbated by the current climate. That big project you had in the pipeline for this year has suddenly been pushed back two, maybe even three years, and now you’re left with a website that needs to last longer, and do more for your business. Evermore frustrating, you recognise the pain points and they’re holding your business back.
How do you make the most of what you’ve got within the budget you have available? In this blog, we’ll cover the areas where investment and a phased approach to web development can help you not only get more from your website, but hopefully, also gain buy-in from the wider business.
Work out your pain point
There are so many reasons that could drive the need to invest in your website. Significant strategic events such as a change in your business model, a new CEO who kick-starts a culture shift, or a business acquisition can all be catalysts that result in rebrands, reskins and rebuilds. But a web project isn’t always born out of big events. Perhaps you have general performance concerns, you’re worried about security, or something just isn’t right with the user journey. Or maybe, the site is beginning to feel dated and clunky, putting aesthetics and functionality top of your list.
In some cases, the pain points might not even be immediately clear, and what you’ve noted is a drop in conversion or a disengaged user-base without an obvious cause. Working with an expert web agency and investing in a site audit is sensible to get to the root cause of the problem.
What can I do with the budget I have
Understanding what you want to achieve is the starting point and will help you decide how to best work within the web budget that you have. If a rebuild isn’t on the cards right now, there are many other - and possibly more suited - routes you could take. In many cases, businesses believe they need to make huge website changes to see an impact but, in actual fact, it is often the smaller, incremental fixes that generate a faster return. There are countless ways to spend budget on your existing site, inching closer to your aspirations. Some of the most common include:
A reskin can be the cure for many websites. If it feels outdated, you’re rebranding, , you’ve been acquired, or had a change in your values or proposition that needs to be reflected, then a reskin could be the best place to invest your budget. You’ll be surprised by how much of a difference even just refreshing your website’s imagery, fonts and colours can make to the overall look and feel of your site. A reskin can also be a great way to start tackling accessibility issues: changing the colours, fonts or small design changes can be a great step towards making your website accessibility compliant. You can read more about how we did this for Ongo below!
Adding or improving upon an existing piece of functionality can be a great quick win to improve your users’ experience on the site. It could be as simple as improving the search function or adding in a much-needed location map or tackling something more in-depth like the addition of a customer portal.
However, functionality additions don’t just have to be about your users; you could easily introduce efficiencies by adding or improving functionality for your internal site admin team. Whether you want to make a legacy site editable, quickly and easily create new pages or improve integration with third-party platforms like the CRM, additional functionality can streamline processes, increase efficiencies and make your team’s job so much easier.
Perhaps you’ve noticed a drop in conversions, you don’t think your user journey is the best it can be and you’re keen to get more from your existing investment. If your site is difficult to navigate and users are complaining that they can’t find what they need, it’s worth focusing your budget on improving the user experience. UX workshops and user testing are great ways to get to grips with how your site is used. Discovering barriers to conversion and user frustrations means you can focus on enhancements that make a real difference to your customers.
Security and performance:
When your website has been live for some time, your code can become dated, causing issues and potential vulnerabilities if you don’t give it due attention. Through a technical audit, your web development agency can ‘get under the hood’ of your website, analysing the code and exploring performance issues. Recommendations could highlight specific issues for quick fixes such as a platform upgrade or code tidy up, making sure your site is well cared for and adheres to best practice.
Get the most out of the budget you do have
Once you’ve pinpointed your specific pain points, find that one thing that will make all the difference to your business. Taking this approach, quick wins that yield results can be implemented and will help to encourage buy-in from the wider business
But which of your objectives are the most important? We find the simplest methods to help you prioritise your website actions is the MoSCoW model – Must, Should, Could and Would
- Must have this requirement to meet the businesses objectives
- Should have this requirement but project success doesn’t depend on this
- Could have this requirement but it won’t impact the project if it’s left out
- Would like to revisit this requirement in a later phase of the project
If you’re struggling to create a roadmap of priorities, we can help you define quick, high impact fixes. Your website issues can then be split down into actionable pieces of work, and by focusing on the most essential factors in order of priority and rolling out iterative improvements, you will benefit from each individual investment faster.
Helping build the business case
A large web project is time-intensive, and it can take a significant period of time before you see a return. Taking a phased, priority and impact-led approach allows you to prove a return faster. In turn, it should become easier to secure the budget to reinvest in your website and tackle the remaining ‘Should’, ‘Would’ and ‘Could’ have list of enhancements.
While your web development agency continues working on your priority fixes, you can begin demonstrating success to gain buy-in from your internal teams. If your budget spend has a significant impact and generates an ROI for the business, it justifies further investment and helps get more budget released
It’s not uncommon for this approach to eventually result in a full rebuild. It may take longer, but many businesses find it to be a more palatable solution. This controlled, phased approach to website investment offers flexibility aligned to business impact and performance. We do, however, advise that by taking this approach you will probably end up spending more in the long run, although the benefit of faster ROI tends to outweigh this concern.
Choosing a phased approach
If you choose to take a phased approach, it’s still important to communicate your ultimate goal with your web agency. It is only with this long-term understanding of your goals that we can advise on the shortest and most appropriate development route to get you from A to B. We want to ensure that improvements not only benefit your business in the short term but set you on track to achieve your long-term aims, so you really do get the most from your investment
The phased approach into action
Taking a phased approach works well and is something we do often with our clients, such as Ongo. When we first started working with Ongo, they were overwhelmed and didn’t know where to begin with their web development project. Unhappy with the onsite user journey, they didn’t have the budget to start all over again having only rebuilt their site three years earlier
Deciding to invest in a technical audit first, we helped them gain insight into the issues they were facing. Taking this approach, ensured we started the project armed with the facts and not led by presumptions. Through our technical audit, we identified accessibility issues were holding them back, which subsequently fed into prioritised recommendations - the first of which was to fix their navigation.
Their internal team were able to restructure the navigation, making the changes themselves with our guidance and just a couple hours of developer support. This not only empowered them to fix their navigation issues in-house, but it also preserved budget to make further accessibility updates to their site, including the header, footer and navigation design, before moving onto tackle the page bodies with any remaining budget.
If you choose to not invest in your site due to a lack of budget, it can quickly become stagnant and will become more expensive to fix in the long run. Whatever you think the issue may be, it’s worth the conversation because a conversation is free and, you never know, we might even find a way to work around it. In the worst-case scenario, we can chip away at the problem. In the best-case scenario, we can fix it with the budget you have.
Contact NetConstruct for a free consultation, we’ll provide honest recommendations to help you get you closer to your objectives.