July 2, 2021

Is Custom Web Development REALLY Worth the Cost? 5 Reasons Why the Answer is 'Yes'.

Should your business budget for and spend money on custom web design and development? Isn't it going to cost an arm and a leg for these types of services?

Here is the simple answer: Custom web development is always worth it, IF you aren't on a tight budget.

The truth is, the answer to this question can only be answered in its entirety by, you. Only you know the financial situation, the immediate need for a custom website and other situations that your business is currently facing. With that being said, however; this article is intended to guide you, and help make that final decision a little bit easier to make.

Let's pull off the veil of uncertainty and dive into five reasons why you should invest your time and money into custom web development; and five reasons why maybe custom web development is not for you.

The Pro's of Custom Web Development

1. Custom web development is built around your specific business needs & interests.

Let's face it; your company wants features on a website that most modern 'web builders' and content management systems simply don't or won't support. The idea behind these services is simple: 'We will help you start a website.' Their idea of help is backed up templates. These companies have a specific list of website templates that are for the most part the only ones that you are allowed to use. Now, what happens when none of the provided template options will work for your specific website needs? One solution is to hire a developer who can take an existing template and get your requirements to fit within the constraints provided; but if you're going down that road, you may as well just have the developer custom make your website in the first place.

Basically, you don't want to be the person that's trying to fit a well thought out square peg, into the out-of-the-box round hole that's provided. It's not going to work very well, and even if it did, you wouldn't like the result very much. The other side to this coin is the idea too that out of the reliable website builders that exist, and the limited number of templates they provide, the percentage change of a competitor's site looking exactly like yours is very high. Obviously that's a major no-no in the business world.

2. Uniqueness is a virtue.

I briefly touched on this idea above, but it's important enough to warrant having its own number. There are an estimated 100 million websites on the internet today, which is a ridiculous number if you really think about it. Now, of that number how many do you think are using the same Wix.com template or WordPress template? My guess is that number is extremely high. In the business world, there are millions of companies ranging from Fortune 500 to small 'mom and pop' shops in your local neighborhood. How many of them do you think are sharing the same logo, name or concept as others? We know this situation exists; that is why trademarks and copyright are a thing.

I said all of this to make a point; your company is unique. Unique to you. Most likely nobody else in the world is providing the exact same service as you, using the exact same name as you are or any combination of this. Keeping your company uniquely you is a huge deal, and that is not something worth jeopardizing for a content management system.

3. Improved User Experience.

The most important part of a website is the user experience. This determines everything about your site. If your pages load slowly, if your fonts and colors make things hard to read, if the website is not mobile friendly or anything in that realm, it will cause visitors to leave your site before they even read a single word. In the tech world we call this "Bounce Rate". How quickly are users "bouncing" away from your site once the first page is loaded? Part of custom web development is also customizing and accurately planning for the user experience. Using a CMS can help with this, a little. They are mostly limiting and the features they do provide that are 'customizable' fall very short of what your specific site may need.

An example of this is a WordPress template I once tested. For professional reasons, I will not disclose which template I used, however. This template had a weird function where as soon as the website loaded, it would pop up with a massive box in the middle of the screen. While I could customize what the box said and everything on it; I was un-able to change when or how it popped up. The option to change it simply didn't exist. The template was coded in such a way to always have this particular pop-up show its ugly head. I even tried 'hacking' it with some code of my own to no avail. This would have increased the bounce rate of my website by a ton because it was bulky, annoying and in your face. At that point, if you need a developer to 'hack' something to get it to work, you should have just hired them to build the entire thing.

4. Better Scalability and SEO.

We've all seen it; a company provides a free version of something that has all sorts of limits involved. As an example; WordPress provides the ability to create a free website for your business, brand, blog or store. However, when you sign up you are limited to a certain number of pre-made templates, a certain number of pages you can create, a certain number of media you can upload to use on the site, and I have even seen WordPress limit the number of visitors you can have at one time. Obviously, for somebody with a very small operation like a blog, or a small business that would be using a website for lead generation and nothing else, this is okay. In most cases though, a website needs to be scalable.

I don't know of any company that is complacent with not growing, not improving and never getting any bigger. If such a company exists, it's probably because they simply can't get any bigger; which I don't even think is possible. If your website is limited to five pages, and you already have an About Us, Home Page, Contact Us, Shop and Checkout page then you might have a decent sizes website, this is true. However, what happens when you need to add a cart page, or a terms of service, or even a customer portal to accept regular payments?

You need to able to spread your wings as large as you want, without feeling burdened by limits. Realistically, with a custom web developer, you will not have limits. Unless they are a poor developer and simply can't do something they don't know, the sky is the limit. This includes SEO as well. A CMS usually only does a few small things to help your site stand-out from the millions of other ones that are competing with you for your business. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to list as many keywords as you want, or to not be limited by the number of characters you can include in your meta description(s)?

5. Beyoncé Level Performance

When Beyoncé takes the stage, you know that it's going to be epic. Why; because she is always on top of her game. She doesn't let anything distract her while she is performing and her only focus is providing you with the best concert you have ever been to. Imagine your business is Beyoncé! You provide the best services and are very successful. Now, imagine that your website is your live performance. Most people aren't judged based on how they sound when they have everything put together and have been prepared for months, but based on how they perform live and in the moment. This is the same reason why football players are judged based on their performance in games, instead of at practice.

When you build your website using a CMS or website builder, the template that you choose to use is going to bogged down with several un-used or un-necessary widgets and plugins. These of course, slow down and hinder the performance of the site overall. The annoying thing about this too, is that most of the website builder companies, do not allow you remove those widgets very easily, if at all. This would be similar to if Beyoncé walked out on the stage wearing a scuba suit, with no intention of ever using it for something related to her performance. It would slow her down, make her hard to hear and overall ruin the user experience.

If you choose custom web development, you can guarantee that there will not be anything on your site slowing down its performance. It will be designed at Beyoncé level from the start, making it easier on you to maintain, and keeping your customers happy for the long run.
When I started this article, I told you that it was my intention to make your decision easier. Hopefully, I have helped you with this. I realize that only listing positives can also sway your opinion though. That is why, out of fairness to you, I wanted to also list a few reasons why you may NOT want to choose custom web development based on your specific situations.

The Con's of Custom Web Development

1. Budget is Everything.

It's no secret that having custom code done can be expensive as well as time consuming. The reason for this is because you have to pay the time of the developer, as well as anybody within your own business that has to take time from their day to provide the developer with any information they need to be successful. The developer probably has several clients that need their attention, and when you request certain services from them that will take up a majority of their time, they are going to charge you accordingly. That's just the reality of capitalism. On average, for a business to have custom web development done, the cost ranges anywhere from $8,000 to $20,000 depending on requirements.

This is a huge thing to keep in mind when deciding if custom web development is worth it for your specific needs. Sure, it's the better way to go for getting a quality website, but you're also going to be paying for that higher quality and the time it takes to get it there.

2. Time is of the Essence.

Another thing to keep in mind when deciding whether to use custom web development or not is, time. If you wanted to, right now, you could go to WordPress, choose a template and customize it within two hours. It won't be much, or even great, but it will be functional, have your branding & colors, and will be quick and easy. However, if you choose custom web development you are going to have countless hours of planning meetings, and design approvals and regular check-ups. This doesn't even include the time that it will take to actual have the developer build the website itself.

I do want to preface this; if you choose to use a CMS and you are planning to purchase a template... please do your research ahead of time and plan out your website structure. If you don't you may find that the template you just spent hundreds on doesn't fit what you wanted or needed for your requirements.

3. Only You Can Decide!

If, after reading this article, you still realize that using WordPress or Wix.com is the route to take; that's great! You found the option that is easiest for your needs. Before you finalize your decision though, please communicate with others around you, weigh the pro's and con's and take a look at your resources to ensure you are making the best possible choice. You may find that what you thought was going to be a small 'lead-generation' website; after planning meetings, has turned into a 15 page beast - or - vice versa.
In conclusion, I hope this has helped you. Nobody should be forced to make difficult decisions that could make or break their company without being educated on the matter first. That would be similar to asking a kindergartner to do your taxes for you!
Still need more time to consider? Do you need more information to make an informed decision? Give us a call!  We've got the experts that you need, that can help you make an unbiased decision, and provide you with information.  We even offer a FREE WEBSITE AUDIT to help you determine if custom code is right for your website!  When you're ready to take your web presence to the next level, nothing beats Kayne Web Services.