Real Budgets for 2010 Web Projects

Here we are, hurtling toward the end of the year and the beginning of the new year. For many organizations that can mean only one thing – it’s budget time! This year it is even less fun that years past, what with 2009 being such an awful year and all.

How do you go about setting realistic budgets for web work in 2010? It is not as difficult as it seems at first… Before you can establish budgetary ranges for the next year, you first need to figure out the scope of the work you will want or need. Easier said than done, but you can at least pull together a broad list of projects as a starting point, for example:

  • Web Site Redesign: if it has been more than 3 years since your last design, it is definitely time to at least take a serious look at your web site
  • Adding Functionalities to Your Web Site: time to start using ecommerce to sell products or process donations, add an interactive calendar, etc.
  • Search Engine Optimization: if you’d like to capture more search traffic for your products or services, it simply won’t happen without conscious SEO
  • Web Site or Internet Marketing: if you build it, they will come is not a sound business practice – you need a plan to promote awareness of your site
  • Email Campaigns: email has enjoyed a revival and when a campaign is properly constructed, the results can be quite extraordinary

So how do you assign dollar ranges to these types of projects? There are a number of ways to do this. If you have a well defined project scope, you could seek proposals from trusted vendors. If you don’t have well defined project scopes, you may want to consider hiring a web professional to act as a consultant to help you develop your budget.

I know spending money on the budget process might seem a little counterintuitive at first, but it really makes sense. What better way to make sure that the budget figures in your upcoming budget will actually cover the projects you’d like to complete in the coming year than by asking a trusted provider?

It may seem like having a vendor help you develop the budget is a sure fire way to end up spending way more than you would have otherwise, without opening up the process to them. But, if that is how you feel about your vendors, you should really find some new vendors!

I run into situations all the time with clients who have great ideas and who want the sun, the moon and the stars but have only budgeted $2,000 for the project. It puts everyone at a disadvantage when unrealistic budget amounts are already in place. We try to do what we can to help clients in this type of situation figure out how to break their desired project into phases, but if they had had a more realistic budget range to begin with, we’d be starting work and not agonizing over how to get the foundation built without having enough money to do so properly.

It is worth investing at least some time, if not some dollars, to make sure your budget will match your projected work in the coming year. And remember, there is always someone willing to complete your project at any price point – realistic or not. But, you get what you pay for, so proceed carefully. A little planning and a real world budget will make for a better outcome for your future web projects!

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