What are “Specs” and Why You Shouldn’t Build a Website Without Them

Specs is short for “Specifications” and they’re a blueprint for your dynamic website. Just like you would never let a contractor start tearing out the walls of your house until they knew exactly what you had in mind–you should not start a new dynamic website until you have a blueprint of what the site should do in any given scenario. What your site does or doesn’t do will hugely impact your development costs.

Without Specs you and your web developer don’t have anything to guide you through the development process. Each of you are troubleshooting and creating as you go along. The trouble with this kind of web development is that it can chew through your budget quickly and yet your site could still be missing functionality that you simply cannot launch without.

Do You Need Specs?

If you answer “yes” to any of the following, you should have a Spec document developed:

  • Your website will collect user information into a database
  • Your website will have members
  • Your website will need to push and pull information from third party websites
  • Your site will perform calculations depending on user input
  • A site like yours has never been developed before (there’s no model for it)
  • Your site is interactive (games, chat, email)
  • Your site will perform automated functionality

Most website owners don’t have the technical know-how to create a Spec document on their own. It’s simply a matter of not knowing what you don’t know. However, the gap between your knowledge and what the programmer needs can be reduced with a well-written Request For Proposal (RFP).

Once you have an RFP, you can submit it to a web developer for an estimate. Most web companies will give you a range that will be firmed up after the Specs document has been created. Some web developers will charge a separate fee for Specs development, while others include it in the cost of development.

Need help determining what you want your site to do?

Download the RFP Template now

After you’ve determined your audience and purpose, and you know how you will deliver that information, it’s time to decide what the rest of your site will do.

Our free RFP Template will help you get the estimate process off on the right foot. Download the RFP Template.

About the author: Jeune Ortiz is President of future-ink. With more than 20 years of experience in graphic design and marketing, Jeune brings extensive knowledge and creativity to each website and internet marketing solution to grow your business.