If you’ve spoken to a web design firm who has given you a quote for a custom website without asking “What’s the scope of the project?” — I’d encourage you to run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. Without determining scope, no reputable website design firm can or will give you a quote.

Every web design firm is weary of scope creep. But what exactly goes into determining the scope of a website project?

First of all, you need to dig into the exact functionality needed. Is the website simply a brochure site (ie content only), or is ecommerce functionality needed? Need your visitors to be able to schedule meetings with you? Need people to be able to search through a database of products with differing attributes? Need custom technology solutions integrated into the site? Need your contact forms to sync with your CRM?

Second, how many pages need to be designed? A “page layout” are pages with differing calls to action. For example, you may need a custom squeeze page designed for your primary product, that has a different header, footer, and calls to action. Or your product pages may need a different design than your home page.

Third, a web designer will assess what type of client you will be. Either a) you will listen to the designer’s recommendations or b) you will fight tooth and nail to make the website look EXACTLY like you want it to look, regardless of what that means. If you’re in group B, you’re going to pay more because the designer knows there is going to be a lot more back and forth during the design process. Truth be told, it’s not uncommon for a first design file to be better than the finished website. Why? Because clients with no sense of design taste f*ck it up.

Fourth, timing needs to be discussed. Is the web design firm booked solid for 2 months? Do you need your website in 1? If so, you’d better be willing to pay a substantial “rush” charge for them to push the priority of it up.

Fifth, is everything else. What custom content do you have that needs to be transferred? PDFs? Photos? Do you need custom content written for you?

Hope this gives you a little bit of an idea of the factors that go into website scope.

**Photo via blog.jentekk.com

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