3 steps to building a cost-effective website

Not all websites need to have $10,000+ budgets!

Do you ever remember going into a toy store as a child and not being able to decide which one of the over 5,000 toys you want to bring home? Or, as an adult you might have the same experience in a hardware or kitchen store, or when buying a car… there’s just too many choices and really, you want them all!

WELL… this is how Organizations sometimes get bogged down in the process of choosing a new website. They see all the bells and whistles and want it all, when really all they need is to have the base model with some cool features… like getting bluetooth & a rear backing camera versus getting the sports and towing packages.

1. Determine ‘The Requirements”

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need.”

— Mick Jagger

Before you begin

Prior to engaging with a website developer, you really need to take time to identify the “requirements” for your website.

To borrow from the PMBOK (Project Management Book of Knowledge):

What are requirements?

Requirements are capabilities that a product must meet to satisfy a user’s need to solve a problem. The user’s needs can come from several sources including compliance to a standard or to legal regulations, a business need, a business problem, market need, competition, etc.

Requirements are broken down into Functional and Non-Functional classes.

Functional requirements are capabilities that the product must do to satisfy specific user needs. They are the most fundamental requirements. Functional requirements are sometimes referred to as business requirements.

Non-functional requirements include usability, performance, reliability and security requirements. These are qualities that the product must have. Technical requirements also fall under the non-functional category. Nonfunctional requirements are no less vital than functional requirements.

Requirements “simplified”:


As an Organization you need to determine what the base model MUST look like.

Functionally, this means considering which features you want to have in your website that MUST be active on Day One!


You have specific desires that may require some customization.

Adding features like customized forms, donations, product sales etc. are important to you. You need to have flexibility.


Your website needs to align with your strategic goals and offer valuable service.

Strengthening your sales funnel, improving donor engagement, highlighting new products or services, delivering webinars etc.

2. Benchmark websites you’d like to mirror

Flattery is a great compliment. Copying great works is the highest form of flattery. One strategy for planning your website involves looking at other websites that you admire to determine what you want yours to look like.

The difference is that you can make it yours through customization! Your branded colours, your specific requirements (see above), your fonts, your pictures, your videos, your links etc..

My first website build was for Williamson Industries in 2001 (here’s a link to the “Wayback Machine” view of the Contact Us page). At the time nobody in the Company had any website development skills, but as National Sales Manager I saw a challenge that needed a solution.

On a whim I bought a book called “HTML in 24 hours” and read it over a weekend. The following week I did my homework and searched for a quality website to benchmark my development process. Eventually settling on the CBC News website due to it’s clean & easy-to-read layout, I did my best to code our new website the hard way… no such thing as WordPress or “content management systems” back then (…ugh!).

The power of websites: That old, poorly fashioned (in today’s terms) website generated a single $400k contract. It hit the top of the google search for various keywords and we had a lot of success by finding ways to drive traffic to our site as part of a comprehensive marketing campaign. We will provide more on marketing strategies at another time…such as how to measure marketing efforts like trade shows, advertising, social media marketing etc.

3. Partner with a Company Interested in You!

Working with the right partner is the MOST crucial factor when developing a website.

While most website designers have great intentions… Too many companies involved in this space are not willing to be as responsive as the designs they promote. AND… if you want any changes then you’re looking north of $100 per hour to buy their time for your website… when they can fit you into their schedule, that is.

At Golden Heart Ventures Inc., we have found an effortless way to add value to our target markets… the hard-working local businesses, non-profits, and places of worship where cash is tight and technical ability is limited.

We work closely with our clients, establishing a game plan and following through to ensure on-time delivery. We’re responsive, we have friendly rates, and we leverage freelance expert designers to assist us where the technology is beyond our capabilities.

Success criteria:

  1. Identify the requirements
  2. Investigate the benchmarked websites as identified by the client
  3. Establish a project plan (Gantt chart and all…)
  4. Weekly and bi-weekly Zoom/Team calls to monitor progress and address changes
  5. Develop a detailed costing log (for labour, themes, plugins, hosting etc.)
  6. We provide our clients with total control of the completed product following hand-off

We work with our clients as if we’re part of the family.

Each of the above “success criteria” are deployed during the development of the awesome new sites we build.


You may be thinking about a new website or want to improve your existing client reach. At GHV, we’ve got your back! We’ll guide you, work with you and make sure you have an awesome result at a reasonable price.

Afterall, our goal is to support Organizations who can demonstrate their desire to improve the human condition!

So be sure to contact us and schedule a discovery meeting. We’re happy to serve.