In the world of construction, building a strong foundation ensures the strength of your structure. David Allan Coe said, “It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.”
The same is true for the framework of your website. It’s not enough to pick a solid platform like HubSpot, you need to have a skilled developer that knows their way around those platforms to build your website for performance, security and conversions. All too often, we see companies held back by their web development budget when it comes to redesigning their website. We’ve had countless meetings with prospects that decide to take a less expensive route to develop their website, thinking that they’re comparing apples to apples in the proposal process only to find they’ve been severely oversold.
Allocating the appropriate amount to your web development budget without being taken advantage of is critical. Your website budget should be proportionate to your expectations for performance, lead goals and expectations for features and turnaround. Every website and business is totally different, so there’s really no wrong answer here - it’s just a matter of aligning your expectations with the budget that you have and choosing the right partner to get you there.
Here are a few ways that your web development budget restrictions can potentially hold you back:
Under-budgeting your website is a growth handicap.
Not having the budget you need for the goals you have for your website is probably the biggest problem we run into when we receive new proposal requests. Before you start the process of vetting developers and requesting proposals, you’ll want to identify what your goals are by asking some important questions:
What are your expectations for your website performance from a lead generation perspective?
Are you a small business that just desires a simple, informative website or do you want your website to be a lead generation machine?
Is your website a hub of information?
Does it need to operate as its own location and generate revenue with a retail store presence?
These are incredibly important questions that will help you determine the best platform and host for your website. Choosing a platform and infrastructure that can grow with your needs over time is the best route. Starting with a “low budget” website and then having to switch platforms or code from scratch because you hired an inexperienced developer will just end up costing you more in the long run.
One of the things that drives us crazy is clients approaching us with a tiny budget and big dreams. Do we wish you could have everything you want for the price you’ve imagined? Of course. But we live in the real world where an equitable energetic exchange is required to get the things that you want and need. We don’t mean to sound insensitive, but it’s just the harsh reality. Quality comes at a price. Do yourself and your organization a favor by not tossing out random numbers before you’ve clearly communicated your wants, needs and goals to a skilled web developer. Talking through your list with a developer will help you balance your business’ budget with the realities of your needs as a business owner and marketer.
Once you have a better idea of your total investment to achieve your goals, you can break that down into the appropriate timeline to help bridge the gap between your budget and the website that you want without compromising features or the integrity of the framework that you’re building from.
RELATED: The problem with cheap outsourced web development
Hiring low budget talent yields low budget results.
A website that takes forever to load due to poorly written code.
A website that is ranking poorly because the developer didn’t populate meta descriptions or other SEO data.
A website whose media library is too big, because the developer failed to resize images.
A website with no capabilities to easy generate content or conversion opportunities.
Did you know that a bounce rate increases by 123% if page loading time takes more than 1 second?
If your website is taking a long time to load, you’re missing opportunity.
Every millisecond matters. An increased bounce rate means less website conversions, which means less sales.
Hiring an inexperienced web developer can literally cost you tens to hundreds of thousands over the lifetime of that website - and you’re going to let a few thousand dollars keep you from the prospect of exponential sales growth?
That’s a lot of power in the hands of your developer and for that reason you should hire an expert.
Some web developers are order takers, but we’ve written about it before: your website isn’t a sub sandwich. You need a web developer that can proactively plan your website with your goals in mind, that understands the complex needs of businesses and the marketers that serve them. Websites go beyond aesthetics and gifted developers understand that the bones and the intricacies of clean code, a kick ass user experience and a back end that marketers love is the secret recipe to meeting your website goals.
Lack of experience can cost you employee productivity.
Just because they didn’t abandon the project and might have taken your website to launch, doesn’t mean your developer served you well. Far too often in the development process, businesses and marketing agencies look at the aesthetics of the front end, but none of the back end user interface.
RELATED: So your developer ghosted you, now what?
Their outsourced developer or freelancer partner will launch the site and make the interface impossible to use for the marketer. The content is all too often not easily modified, or requires some level of coding knowledge to update.
A website should not just be easy for a user to navigate that is considering your products and services, but it also needs to be easy to update. So often we encounter prospects that need better access to their websites or need us to edit or modify things that they cannot access that should have easily been granted to the marketers before the website launched. Lack of access and a poor back end experience lead to frustrated, disengaged marketers.
Why is this a problem?
According to VentureBeat.com, not only are 91% of employees already frustrated with workplace technology but, “a staggering 71% of leaders acknowledge that employees will consider looking for a new job if their current employer does not provide access to the tools, technology or information they need to do their jobs well.” Every new piece of software or technology that you introduce for your marketing team to use should be simpler, user-friendly and efficient. And the top complaint? 51% of the top complaints were related to slow speeds. Frustrated marketers are less efficient. Happy marketers are more productive. Not investing in the right developer can be very costly.
By working with a talented developer, they can proactively discuss what back-end options you’d like to see during the design phase so that once your website is launched you have more flexibility to test different options, change colors, add filters or change content in a truly customizable way. This gives your marketing team flexibility and allows you to create the experience they’re looking for by partnering with a developer that knows how to do that.
RELATED: Developer Utopia - What to expect when you hire an experienced HubSpot Developer
Budget efficiency matters.
We want to finish with this one, because we cannot express enough how important it is for you to understand that estimated hours from two different developers are not an apples to apples comparison. What one developer estimates as taking an hour might not include extensive browser and device testing or adding the types of features that marketers like to see in the back end. Effectively you’ve paid for an aesthetic product, but not received one that is also functional for both your customers and prospects and the team that is creating content within it.
The same idea applies to per-hour rates. A developer charging less per hour likely has less experience than a seasoned developer that can code more cleanly with less bugs and still provide you with better functionality that you didn’t even realize you needed.
Losing prospects to budget restrictions is tough for any web development agency, but what’s tougher is when they come back and have to spend even more starting from scratch, or worse, have run out of money and are forced to work with a mess that was left behind by an inexperienced web developer.
Balancing budget in a small business can be difficult, but investing into a powerful, functional website that serves your needs in the long term is incredibly important. There are many ways that websites can be phased over time to accommodate small business budgets and still allow you to hire talented developers.
When you choose your web developer based on experience rather than budget, you set yourself up for success and build the foundation of a powerful website that your customers, employees and executive team will thank you for later.
Don’t know the right questions to ask when you’re vetting developers for your next website project in HubSpot or Wordpress? Check out our blog offering insight on questions to ask when interviewing website developers.