How to Reduce Costs and Increase Efficiency in Website Development with Bug Reporting Software

How to Reduce Costs and Increase Efficiency in Website Development with Bug Reporting Software

Developing a website can sometimes feel like solving a rubik’s cube. Between looming deadlines, growing design costs, and daily team communications, there are almost too many squares to align. 

Fortunately, web development projects — just like rubik’s cubes — have more than one solution. Bug reporting software is by far one of the best solutions available. Not only will it optimize your agency’s web development timelines and workflow, it will reduce your expenses, too.

Below, we share our top tools and best practices for development agencies that want to get the most from their bug reporting and project management software.

Tips for Delivering Excellent Websites and Increasing Customer Satisfaction

Before you make any changes to your bug reporting process or web development workflow, create a plan that outlines what you want to achieve. Ideally, your plan should balance your agency’s goals with the goals of the client. 

Follow these guidelines to plan a web development project that is well-rounded, actionable, and easy to implement.

Understand Your Customer’s Needs

You need to understand your client’s needs, so ask them what problems they want the website to solve. It’s best to have this conversation early on during the consultation stage.

Consider visiting their work environment to conduct a client-need discovery interview. Seeing where — and how — your client handles day-to-day business operations will give you better insights into their work culture and brand personality. If the client doesn’t know how to write a web design brief, guide them through the process. This will also help align expectations and set you up for success.

This information is always helpful, but it’s especially helpful for agencies that tend to develop small business websites more often than corporate websites. 

Every customer-need discovery interview should get answers to some or all of the following questions:

  1. Why do you need this solution? In other words, what is the problem? What will improve when you finally solve it?
  1. What solution are you envisioning? Sometimes, customers already have an idea — even several ideas — about what the solution should be. The earlier you can find out what they really want from the project, the less likely you are to disappoint them later down the road. 

Ask them what their expectations are. Be direct and remain open to their ideas. Knowing what they prefer will make it easier to set and meet project expectations.

  1. Who will use the solution? Learn about the demographics of your client’s target audience. Use this information to make critical design decisions that improve the user experience.
  1. When do they need the solution? You should always know how soon the client wants the project completed. Work within their specified timeframe, or negotiate a time table that’s mutually feasible. 
  1. Where will the solution be used? Now that you know more about your client’s target audience, verify whether that audience lives in a specific region or country. If they are building a website for users in only one region, then your development and design services should take into account the region’s internet availability. 

You may have to design a lite version of the website if the target users do not have reliable or fast internet access. The same applies for target audiences who primarily use mobile or other small devices with limited screen real estate. 

Use these customer need-discovery question ideas to create a go-to template you can use any time you need more information from your client. 

It’s also wise to apply requirement elicitation techniques. These include observation, interviews, brainstorming, focus groups, process analyses, surveys, and prototyping.

Set Realistic Expectations

Setting realistic expectations is about providing your client with a fantastic customer experience. It’s also how you minimize stress and miscommunications across all parties involved. 

As a service provider, you’re expected to give your customers the product they paid for at the agreed-upon time. However, you don’t want to overburden your team with work because you committed to an unrealistic timeline.

You can put the project at risk if you set an expectation with your client before you’ve consulted your technical team. The last thing you want is a disparity between what you agreed to deliver and the actual, finished product. 

It can also lead to overspending — not to mention more work than your current staff can reasonably handle. This could force your agency to hire more talent. 

If your budget didn’t allocate enough funds to put additional employees or freelancers on this payroll, an unanticipated expense could be devastating. Clients might even cancel the project or request a rebate over the cost of a website. 

We recommend applying S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting techniques whenever you discuss project expectations with your client. The S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting rule is an effective communication strategy that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.

Before setting project goals, consult your technical team and consider their capacity to build and ship features by the agreed deadline. Run a team audit to determine if you’ll need to augment your technical department’s skills before the project begins. If you do, make sure your invoice anticipates how much it will cost to hire more talent or pay for training.

Prioritize Customer Collaboration Over Following Processes

Always collaborate with your customers to prevent any guesswork about what they like or dislike. Your goal is to avoid surprising them with undesired results after it’s too late to make any changes.

The best way to collaborate with the client is to get their feedback at different stages of the project’s development. 

Development teams can use client feedback to better understand what they are doing right — and keep things moving in that direction. If they’re doing something wrong, client feedback lets them know in time to make the necessary adjustments. 

Some development teams consider open communication with clients to be a time sink, but we disagree. Service provider-client communications ensure satisfactory project outcomes. It also saves the team from getting blindsided by unexpected design or feature requests. 

Maintain a shared communication channel with your client to keep the conversation as open as possible. Email, WhatsApp, and Slack are effective communication channels. 

Also, schedule a weekly product update and demo meeting to get your client’s feedback on the project’s current direction and progress. You’ll feel a lot better knowing that everyone is on the same page — and so will your client.

Use Non-Technical Tools to  Collect Customer Feedback

While we’re on the subject of communication, it’s worth mentioning how non-technical tools can be used to collect and interact with client feedback. 

Adopt collaborative tools with an interface that anyone can use — including beginners. The more user-friendly the tool, the more convenient it will be for your clients to use. 

Why does this matter? Clients are less likely to provide feedback if they have to wrangle with a complicated tool or undergo training. 

So, give them an intuitive feedback tool that’s simple to install and effortless to use. The best part is that you’ll start getting feedback that’s not only more specific, but more actionable, too. 

BugHerd’s clean user interface, bug reporting assistant, and easy-to-use features meet this criterion. It’s a powerful visual feedback tool designed with non-technical people in mind. WhatsApp, Email, Asana, and survey forms are other easy-to-use interfaces that can be used to collect client feedback. 

Maintain a Proactive Customer Relationship

Everyone can agree that the best way to please your clients is to meet their needs as quickly as possible. 

However, long-term business relationships require more. Only loyal customers stay long-term, and it takes proactive customer relationship management to foster loyalty. 

Proactive customer relationship management is about giving your customer real-time updates, sharing milestones, providing after-project support, and staying in touch. 

Keeping in touch with clients makes your agency memorable. Your clients will become repeat customers because they’ll remember what made their experience with you so great. 

Social media and email communications are among the easiest ways to stay in touch with customers. Use them to regularly share relevant SEO tips and service updates with customers. Schedule calls with old customers to find out how they are using their website to achieve their goals. 

Business relationships built on loyalty are more profitable. Loyal consumers have a high lifetime value and are less expensive than acquiring a new customer.  

Related: How Customer Journey Mapping Informs Better Website Builds

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Factors that Add to Website Development Costs

Domain name purchases, SSL certification, web hosting costs, and maintenance costs can become hidden expenses if you fail to account for them in your invoice. They’re also vital to the security, accessibility, and uptime of the website — which means they’re unavoidable.

Domain Purchase

Ideally, the client should purchase their own website domain so that they can oversee its management as part of their overall digital marketing strategy. However, if your team handles in-house domain purchases for clients, don’t forget to include the cost in your client invoice. 

Traditional top-level domains (TLDs) such as .net and .org typically cost between $6 and $15 from websites like GoDaddy, while newer TLDs such as .site and .club cost between $10 and $25.

SSL Certification

SSL certification costs range from $8 to $1000/year, depending on the number of domains protected, the validation procedure, the warranty, and the certificate authority.

For security reasons, SSL certifications are a must-have for both the front-end and back-end of a website. Purchasing SSL certification could also overshoot your target web development cost. Inform your client about this expense during the initial consultation and include it in your invoice.

Website Hosting and Maintenance

Buying website hosting for your client can also dramatically increase the total cost of your development project.

As you’re already aware, you can’t launch a website on the internet without a web hosting plan. Stable web hosting prevents crashes and downtime that could negatively impact the client experience.

You can purchase either shared, VPS, or cloud hosting. The average monthly cost for shared hosting, which is the most affordable type of web hosting service, ranges between $1 and $15.

On average, virtual private servers cost between $20 and $100 per month. The allocated central processing unit (CPU), random access memory (RAM), and solid-state drive (SSD) storage can affect the cost of VPS hosting.

On the other hand, cloud web hosting pricing starts from $10 to $200 per month. Every hosting provider has their own pricing structure.

Check Out: 17 Time Saving Tools and Templates for eLearning Designers

Average Cost of Website Development By Website Type

Because every development project is unique and there are no fixed rates, your agency should know the average cost to develop each type of website. Adopt a project-pricing strategy to keep the cost of building a custom website reasonable.

The below cost estimates are based on the average $58 hourly rate for top developers.

SaaS Websites

SaaS websites are always top-end with a user and admin interface. Project development timeframes depend on the number of pages and features undergoing design and development. 

The average time spent on SaaS can range from 1,200 – 2,000 hours, placing the cost at over $75,000. 

Marketplace Websites

The average price range for designing and building a marketplace website is $73,000 – $80,000. Marketplace websites are basically e-commerce websites with features for sellers to open and manage a digital store.

Marketplace websites must have payment and security features to protect customer information. It should also have a shopping cart interface (such as Shopify), a website content management system (CMS), and include user account management features, among other things.

E-commerce Websites

Depending on the design, an e-commerce website can cost between $50,000 – $60,000. E-commerce websites rely on robust content and account management features to provide interactive product listing and allow visitors access to the platform. 

Corporate Websites

Corporate websites are relatively less expensive than e-commerce websites because they have fewer pages and features. Depending on the design and features, they can cost between $5,000 – $10,000. 

News Websites

You can charge between $3,000 – $7,000 for a news website. News website creation tends to be easier than the other types of websites mentioned in this list. 

Of course, even simple websites for news media startups will still require a robust CMS system (such as WordPress) with search engine optimization to create, publish, and manage copywriting content across various web pages.

You Might Like: A Critical Comparison of the Best of the Best Website Feedback Tools

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Best Cost-Saving Web Design Tools for Building Websites

To put the information you’ve learned so far into practice, you’ll still need the right tools. Below is a list of the best web design tools that can improve your development agency’s operational efficiency while driving down costs. 

BugHerd

BugHerd is a powerful bug reporting and tracking tool that can help your team perform internal quality assurance tests and collect feedback from your clients or end-users. 

Quality assurance testing is integral to the website maintenance and development processes. Your team can use BugHerd to assess how your website functions, as well as to report and track bugs. 

The app is designed with both technical and non-technical users in mind. Its user-friendly interface means that you can ask your client to use BugHerd to provide annotated feedback, make feature requests, or report bugs. 

BugHerd supports feedback in visual as well as video formats. Team members and customers alike can capture a video or screenshot of the website and add comments. 

Another benefit of using BugHerd is its automation features. Users won’t need to spend extra time finding and adding information about the specifications of their device when they make a bug report, because the BugHerd app does it for them automatically.

Asana

Asana is an indispensable, full-feature project management tool organizations that web development agencies in particular will love. Its primary utility is the creation and management of work tasks within a team. 

Asana supports integration with several other productivity and feedback tools, such as Everhour and BugHerd. When combined with other tools, Asana’s capabilities become almost limitless. 

For example, the Everhour and Asana integration will allow you to track team members’ work hours on a project basis, set custom billing rates for project types, assign tasks as non-billable, and more. 

The Asana and BugHerd integration allow you to collect vital feedback from clients or QA testers, then convert them to Asana tasks. Use Asana’s intuitive project dashboard to continue tracking issues until they’re resolved. 

Everhour

Everhour provides customizable time tracking and billing features for businesses with a variety of projects and employees.

Time tracking provides deeper insights into team member productivity and capacity. Use the data from Everhour to measure or calculate your team’s optimal work speed. 

Everhour also allows you to customize how your agency tracks time and billing. Set a project as non-billable or use specific billing rates for individual team members or clients. 

Thanks to the integration features of Everhour, Asana, and BugHerd, you can combine all three apps to improve your bug reporting, tracking, and billing processes. 

Figma

Figma is a brilliant web and mobile design creation tool. Its robust collaboration features help teams brainstorm project design approaches, as well as create and share designs with clients.  

With Figma, your team can create low-fidelity prototypes to collect client feedback before designing the final version. Their prototypes are also responsive and shareable. 

Your team can share the designs with clients and testers to review the overall website design and user experience. Customers and testers can also be given permission to leave annotated feedback about the design. 

Webflow

Webflow is an AI-powered website builder for developers and web designers. At the click of a button, you can convert designs to a live website in minutes, saving time and money.

Webflow offers more design freedom than Squarespace or Weebly. You can make site-wide changes within Webflow’s visual editor without installing any plugins. It also has excellent collaboration features. 

Furthermore, Webflow allows teams to create a project space where clients can view and comment on a development website. They offer a web hosting service, too — which means you can reduce cross-platform movement by creating and hosting your website in one place. 


Wrapping Up

Web development agencies want to deliver functional, bug-free websites that meet customer specifications every time. The trick is to do that without spending more time or money than necessary.

Use bug reporting software to detect and resolve pesky bugs before they can setback development efforts. The best bug reporting software enables your customers to report bugs while making it simpler for the development and QA teams to track. 

Combine your bug reporting software with project management tools like Asana and time tracking apps like Everhour. Before you know it, your agency will be saving time and money on the most preventable expenses — so that you can pass those savings on to the client.

Up Next: 13-Step Checklist for Website Requirements Documentation

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