Trim your web budget

Web budgets vary in size. Larger organizations can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year just to keep things running. They have to. However, most organizations have budgets that are a little more humble. There’s not a lot of room to play around with. If you spend more than your budget allows for, you’re probably going to hear from someone higher up – and they won’t be happy.

Here are some areas to revisit if you’re in need of a little cushion this year.

Hosting – Paying $1200 a month for hosting? You’re paying too much. It’s time to switch to a new vendor or negotiate for a lower rate. You can get 160GBs of space and 1TB of bandwidth for around $325, which is probably 3x the server you really need.

Fix what’s broken – There’s always one person who wants to scrap everything and start over. “Our site sucks”. He rallies others and before you know it, you’re sitting at an information session for a $75,000 content management system. Bad idea.

The problem is, he’s right. Your site does suck. But that doesn’t mean you have to trashcan it. Find out exactly what parts of your site aren’t working and hire a development firm to fix them. Chances are, it will be a lot cheaper than starting over.

Switch to hosted or open source products – Before you renew another software license (for sending broadcast emails, project management, etc.), shop around. New technologies such as RSS and Ajax have recharged the web. There are more quality hosted and open source products available than ever. And $50 (or $0) a month is better than $4500 + $50 per user a year.

Ask for advice – The association community can be pretty helpful. Get on a listserv or just pick up the phone. You’ll be surprised at how willing people are to part with valuable advice.