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How to Brief a Web Developer for an Accurate Quote (Table Breakdown)

So you need a quote from a web developer to get started on your critical website.

Then these are the 13 things ideally needed by a web developer to quote you:

  • Accurately
  • Relevantly
  • Quickly.
# What’s Needed Why It’s Needed


What is your target niche/industry?

Mention your target niche/industry straight away when communicating to your web developer. Because they may even have experience in that target niche/industry - which will not only give you greater confidence to hire that developer but allow them to fast track your success. And if they don’t have experience in your target niche/industry? Well, it's certainly not a deal-breaker because any highly skilled and experienced developer can leverage from previous projects and apply them to your target niche/industry. So just be open about your target niche/industry from the get-go because you’ve got more to gain than lose.


What are your design requirements?

So this starts by you giving your web developer competitor websites that you like and summarising why you like these websites. But any good web developer should be able to present to you a ‘showcase’ of previously designed websites that break-down the websites into different categories of design – for e.g., budget, good and premium. Therefore, let your web developer know the website designs you like in their showcase and try to summarise ‘why’ to give your web developer greater understanding of what you want (so they can deliver that). There is no need to go into detail with your design requirements but clarity in what you want with ‘design’ is critical for best results.


Do you need a custom website from scratch or template-based?

Template websites are cheaper than custom websites, but it comes down to your budget and what you want as the outcome? Because a custom design is specifically streamlined to offer your brand what you need while a template website is the best offering on the market to closest meet your need at a lower budget. And again, think outcome and budget – because both a template and custom website can get you great results. So carefully analyse the developer’s showcase (that we spoke about in 2.), communicate to your developer the websites you like and they in return will tell you which (of the site’s you like) is a template or custom-based website. Then it will come down to your budget and limitations - because overall a custom website has fewer limitations than a template website and this can maximise growth for your brand (when built right).


What functionalities do you require?

Website functionalities you must consider for best results (make sure you talk to your web developer if you’re unclear about the purpose of any of these):

  • Easy to update in the future (even by yourself and without diving into the code)
  • Responsive on all devices
  • Speed optimised
  • SEO friendly
  • Mailing list software integration (Mailchimp for e.g.)
  • E-commerce functionality
  • Payment integrations
  • Security
  • Backups
  • Integration of Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Tag Manager, Facebook Pixel etc.
  • Live chat.


How many pages are needed for your website?

This is essential to a web developer quoting you accurately because simply more website pages developed = higher investment required.
So more time/effort/resources will go into a website that is 25 pages as opposed to one that is 10 pages. And don’t worry if you don’t know the exact number of pages you need – instead consult with your content creator that should be able to guide you more on this. Because the worst-case scenario (if you don’t know the exact number of pages you need) is to settle for a range of pages (say 10-12) and allow for the web developer to factor this into their quote accordingly.


Is just development required or more?

If you require a custom designed website, then you would need only the development of the website - which can be done by only one developer, but the outcomes and results might not meet your expectations. Because this approach is not guaranteed to get results as the developer can’t rank your website on the first page of google to get organic traffic. This approach is usually taken by freelancers or individual developers when the client has a small budget but still needs a custom website. Alternatively, there can be a complete process that starts with keyword/market/competitor research, site architecture, prototyping, content writing, web design and web development leading to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and monthly maintenance. This approach is usually taken by agencies that offer one stop solutions to all your needs from start to end.


Will content be provided prior to starting the website?

Preparation is key to the success of any website and that’s why it’s highly recommended that you provide all the completed content to your web developer prior to starting your website project. But this is the ideal scenario and understandably you may not be able to achieve this. Well, if this is the case, then provide as much content as possible, that is close to completion. Because the worst-case scenario where you have ‘little content’ or ‘no content’ makes it so much harder for your web developer to execute your project to be in line with your expectations. Yes, it is possible to move forward with ‘little’ or ‘no content’ but not only will it take longer to complete your project, but your results become jeopardised. So ideally provide content upfront for best results.


Will you be providing images for the website?

Professional and business specific images taken by a photographer can take your site to the next level, unquestionably. So you have to decide if you will be providing images to your developer or alternatively whether you want to use stock images. The obvious choice is to go with professional images but if your budget does not permit that then high quality and relevant stock images can still add value to your site and make it look great. And stock images can get you by for long enough until you want to go with professional images sitewide (after your brand grows).


Will you be providing logos and a brand identity for the website?

Your website represents your overall brand and therefore it’s important to provide your brand logo, brand identity (colours, fonts etc) to your developer so the website is completely in line with your brand’s colours.


Do you have any other instructions or requirements specific to your brand?

Instructions (if any) on things to follow or avoid during the development of the website.


Do you require any custom graphics?

We already mentioned in 8. (images) that professional images can take your site to the next level and the same applies for custom graphics like icons, illustrations and cartoons for example. And it’s true that you may find it hard to justify the investment in custom graphics right now (particularly if you’re just starting out) but they are something that can easily be looked at in the future (with business growth) to engage your target audience with the wow factor and differentiate from your competition to build your brand better.


Do you require any automations?

Let your developer know if you need any automations to ‘automate’ the workflow of your business. For example, integration of the website with your business CRM to automate the process and avoid wasting time on adding the same data in different areas. For example, a real estate business using a CRM like Agentbox to keep track of all their properties, and to display those properties on their website as well. The developer can integrate their CRM with their website and the website can automatically fetch all the properties from the CRM. Such integrations can save the business tons of hours by automating the workflow.


Have you organised your domain and hosting?

Have you already purchased domain/hosting and is it setup and linked together? If you already have a website, then provide a stagging or sub domain to your developer where they can develop your website.


Your website is your greatest asset and remember that a website is your best employee, that promotes you 24/7.

And that means (as Paul Cookson says): “Websites should look good from the inside and out.”

 Because (again as Paul Cookson says): “Great web design without functionality is like a sports car with no engine.”  

So take this feedback onboard and ensure you take the time to brief your web developer – and remember to ask if you’re unsure – because that little bit of extra effort now – will reward you with an awesome website now and for the rest of the existence of your business.


Over to You…

Do you agree with How to Brief a Web Developer for an Accurate Quote (Table Breakdown)? Or is there something missing, or you would like to add?? Would love to hear from you in the comments – any feedback is greatly appreciated.

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