Why Good Development Costs More Up Front But Saves You Money In the Long Run
“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur”
When it comes to web development, you get what you pay for. Businesses looking to build a new website are often bombarded with developers who claim to be “the best” or “the cheapest” or even “the best at the cheapest price”. While the website design itself is going to be instrumental in the perception of your business, the way the site is developed is just as, if not more important.
A good developer is most likely going to cost you more up front, but will ultimately save you money in the long run. Like buying a higher quality product that you know will last rather than continually replacing or making do with a dollar store alternative, a website built right from the beginning will be more beneficial.
Done vs. Done Right
There’s a difference between building a website, and building a website right. Free website builders with drag and drop options and less experienced web developers often are caught taking the easy way rather than the right way. Not only can this potentially hurt your digital marketing efforts as a whole, it can make any future changes to your site a nightmare.
It’s important to have a website you can edit. Before choosing a website company, find out how they build the site, in particular if they use a content management system (CMS), or if they are building the site with flat php files. If you’re tied to a developer to make even the most simple changes to your site, it will cost you. Whether that’s financial costs, or the cost of having outdated information on the site.
The internet will never be still. Websites look very different today than they did 20 years ago. Just like the website, your business looks very different as well. Whether you’ve added a location, update or expanded your services, made changes to staff, or even just adding the years of experience to your business profile, you should be able to make updates and edits to the site. A website built with flat php files, or a bad content management systems can be impossible for the average business owner to update. Your website changes become tied to your developer, leaving you at their mercy.
Before working with a developer, ask them up front if you will have access to the site once it’s launched, how easy their websites are to make edits to after the fact, and what types of changes you will be able to make once the site is launched. If the developer doesn’t use an easy to manage CMS like WordPress, or won’t even give you access to the site upon launch, don’t work with them. Even if their prices are initially cheaper than their competitors, it will cost you in the long run. A good developer will not only build the site, but build it in a way that will be easy for you to edit, even if that means more time and effort up front.
The Problem with Page Builders
While you can use a free website builder with preexisting templates, those templates are going to come with their own set of issues. In fact, some website builders have had issues even showing up in Google search results at all.
Google has adjusted on their side in an attempt to allow these websites to be found, but that doesn’t mean they’re optimized for the search results. Again, this in part goes back to the content management system a web developer uses. Even a flat php site can be optimized for SEO, but it will take more time and effort, again, costing you in the long run. On these platforms, updating simple SEO factors on your website becomes increasingly difficult and expensive. Ensure that your developer has at least a basic understanding of current digital marketing best practices.
It All Starts with a Plan
A developer may seem cheap if you compare their hourly rate to their competitors, but you also have to look at the overall proposal to really understand how they compare. Depending on how well a developer plans beforehand can drastically impact your cost. Before you commit, find out:
- Do you plan websites based on an hourly rate or fixed bid? – Too often bad developers give you an hourly rate with the appearance of trying to save you money. Incidentally, it always seems like something comes up every time during these projects, driving the price higher and higher – in some cases, doubling or even tripping what the cost could have been. Hourly rate projects for new website designs can quickly get out of control, especially if the developer has no clear plan of the overall project. Make sure the developer understands your goals, and gives you accurate estimates, sticking in your budget.
- What’s the Design? – A good website starts with a good design. Since April of 2015, mobile friendliness has been an important ranking factor. Ensure that the developer you are working with has both a mobile and desktop design. A developer who not only doesn’t have a mobile design, but hasn’t even given a thought to how your site will look on mobile probably isn’t the right developer for you.
- Do the blueprints match how I want my website to look? – Building a website is like building a house. You wouldn’t choose a floor plan, then halfway through the build decide you want the bathroom on the other side of the house. Sure at that point the builder could rip part of the work out and move the bathroom, but it’ll cost you. Make sure you choose a development company who will work with you and your goals from the beginning to avoid situations like this. Even still, sometimes changes are inevitable. Make sure your web developer builds flexible enough websites that even if down the road there are pieces you’d like to add to the site, you can do so without having to demolish and start from scratch.
Ultimately, working with a web developer who has a plan that fits in with your business goals is essential. Make sure you consider up front whether the developers capabilities and process align with your goals.
Choosing the developer who seems like the cheapest initial option isn’t always the most cost effective. Make sure you choose someone who is capable of building responsive and flexible designs that you will be able to edit. Making the right developer selection from the beginning will save you time, many headaches, and money over time.
For more important considerations when choosing a developer, check out our 11 questions you should be asking your web development company.