"But Park and Bahn did. How? To start with, they crowdsourced the design. Instead of hiring a bunch of marketing people, as tech companies usually do, they asked their user community for volunteers to help conceive a new site. Then they selected a handful of the most eager users and trained them on the basics of Silicon Valley-style product management. Next, Park and Bahn needed to find a designer. They used 99designs.com, which hosts design competitions, for a two-week contest that attracted hundreds of designers, yielding a design they used as the theme for the new site. The contest, prize, and designer's time cost $9,200.
They broke up Web development into two tasks: front-end engineering (turning design artwork into code) and back-end engineering (making the code actually function). They built their technology on top of WordPress, phpBB, and Drupal—which are free, open-source platforms. Front-end engineering usually requires sophisticated coding done by contractors who earn as much as $100 an hour. Instead, the Beat The GMAT team turned to a service called PSD2HTML.com—which converts Photoshop design files into HTML and CSS code. This service costs $160 to $220 per Web page, totaling $4,500. For back-end engineering, they hired four developers from Hungary and Ukraine on the outsourcing website oDesk. They paid $15 to $20 per hour. The entire back-end engineering cost $18,000."