These days more and more businesses go online because it is the easiest and the best way to reach out to more clients, advertise their goods or services and highlight the uniqueness of their brand. If you ask us what are the two most important things that any business needs, we’d say a reliable and functional website and a mobile app.
It doesn’t really matter whether you own a big or small company, such a powerful solution as well thought out website can contribute to your business growth. Let’s take a quick look at the statistics and one interesting report that we’ve found. According to the survey more than 83% of customers consider looking for a business online crucial. And around 47% of customers always try to find and research a business website first. So from our professional point of view, we can say that if your company does not have a website or has one that performs and looks poorly, then chances are that you will lose potential customers.
With a custom functional website you can open new business horizons. So now is the right time to take care of your web presence. In this article we will share with you some professional tips on how to build a functional website, what features to add, how much money to invest and what benefits to expect from the development.
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How to develop a website for your company?
Probably the first thing any business owner would do is look for the fastest and most affordable way to build a website. And that is quite reasonable, however the fastest way is not always the best. If you google “How to build a website?” you will see a lot of sources recommending you to use special builders. Also you may find a couple of companies offering their development services. So among these two options which one is the best?
We would recommend you to consider custom development offered by professional companies. To get a long-lasting and highly-functional website it is crucial to do everything step by step. The development is a holistic process that requires human work and attention, and not some automatic tools like builders. If your goal is to get a basic website really fast, then builder is for you. But if you need an advanced solution with many features, then it is better to choose custom development.
Website builders vs custom development
To prove our point and explain why we think the custom development is the best option for business, let’s first take a look at some drawbacks of builders.
- With builders your website will look basic. After all you are using ready-made templates and there are not so many customization options. So if your goal is to stand out from the competitors, you need a proper custom design with intuitive UI and UX plus a great mobile version of a website. Around 57% of customers say that they will not recommend a business if it has a poorly designed website.
- Builders offer limited customization options. If your business is related to construction, material manufacturing, interior design, resale or else then your website might need some advanced features for better order making or for specifying custom requests. And in builder it might be hard to incorporate the required features, widgets, or else.
- They lack SEO tools and mobile optimization. Search optimization is crucial especially if you think about the tough digital competition. So to incorporate all necessary SEO tools a proper back-end coding is required. On top of that, you may end up with the website that looks strange on mobile devices. And these days it takes 50 milliseconds to grab the attention of a website visitor. So if your mobile version of a website is not good enough, you’ll lose your customers.
- Builders are not so easy and clear as they seem. When you start tuning your web pages, you may face a lot of challenges like issues with pages, elements logic, resizing images, integrations. So what seemed clear first will turn out to be a real headache.
Although No-code technologies develop really fast, the websites developed with builders are way too far from perfection. Builders are great if you only need to test your idea, however if your goal is to convert traffic and launch ads to attract more clients and increase sales, then custom websites are a must have. This is really the best solution in terms of independence, flexibility and reliability.
So as you can see from the reasons above and from the opinion of our SEO expert, it is not the best choice to develop a website with a builder. You may end up with a solution that should be redesigned and altered, which will require even more time than the development from scratch. Custom website development includes numerous processes that let you get the most suitable solution in a short period of time.
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The best features to consider
What makes a website useful and appreciated is its functionality. If you want to improve customer service or unload your employees, then it is reasonable to use a website for this purpose. Although the feature set of your website will depend on your business type and its needs, there are some great options that every business can make use of. And we’d like to describe them in brief.
News and blog section
Whatever company you own, if it offers services or goods it is a great idea to share the info about them in your blog or news section. In such a way you can let your customers dive into your industry, understand better what you offer and whether it works for them. You can also share your real experience or tips on blog, ask website visitors to subscribe and in such a way gather your unique client base.
According to statistics provided by Clutch 50% of people consider that company blogs are really useful for them. Clutch has also explored what other features are the most values, and here is the result with numbers:
Image source: Clutch
If your website let’s people perform order making or select some goods to purchase, then it would be great to incorporate such a custom element as a calculator widget. The clients will be able to create custom orders, specify the parameters or specifications of a good that they want to buy, confirm their order and discover the price. Such custom elements as widget will unload your employees who are responsible for tech support or order management.
Apart from calculators you can add many other widgets like converters, quick automatic support, scheduler, widget for connecting social media account, and many more.
If you want to let your clients perform advanced order management or track the progress of the services they’ve ordered, then a customer portal will be a perfect solution for you. Your website visitors will be able to create an account, log into it and perform a lot of actions within the portal.
As to your advantage, you will be able to analyze the data, identify what services or goods are demanded, what issues your performance has and how to improve it. So customer portal is a win-win solution that can be added to your website.
SEO and Analytics tools
Thanks to these tools you will be able to track and understand who is visiting your website, what audience you attract and what their main activities on the website are. Also you will be able to analyze what pages are the most and the least effective and fix that on time to improve your website ranking and audience.
SEO optimization is very important for business website so without tools letting you manage this process, your website ranking will be hard to improve and make higher.
Should I do anything with my existing website?
Some businesses already have websites, however those websites may not be selling or working for their advance. The thing is that nowadays it is not enough to have a website that advertises your company and its services. You need to keep users engaged and make them stay on your website to have a chance to convert them into your customers. And that is exactly why it is preferable to update your website, make it more fresh looking and equipped with the latest functions.
Such custom features like widgets, quick support window, options to take a look at 3D models, admin panel, personal suggestions, intuitive search – they all make customers stay on your website longer, do something on it and get a range of services in a couple of clicks.
Functional websites are all about user experience. So if your current website is too basic its design is outdated and it lacks some useful features, then you definitely need to upgrade it. You can contact the developers team and ask them to do marketing research, perform code review or redesign, extend your website functionality and many more. Real professionals will literally do all the job for you.
For example here at GBKSOFT, we had lots of clients from different business industries who came to us with the websites that were poorly performing and needed lots of new features. We updated their websites, made them selling and helpful. And our clients were more than satisfied with our services.
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For more than 9 years in business we have developed and updated numerous functional websites for different businesses. We have worked with service providers, companies that are involved in aircraft brokerage, medical businesses, printing industry, construction companies and many more. So when it comes to experience, we can say that we gained a vast one during building all those websites. And now we’d like to share some great examples with you.
The owner of this company came to us with the request to update their website and add some great custom elements able to improve customer services. HDR print offers a range of printing services like printing of posters, banners, documents and whatever you can imagine. The size of the printings can be customized by users. So to make this procedure automatic we added to the HDR print website a calculator widget.
If previously the clients contacted the support team and it took an hour to make an order, now the client can do everything by themselves in a couple of clicks. We have also integrated to the website a convenient payment gateway which also improved customer experience and satisfaction. Also the website now has a live chat widget that makes the support more fast and effective.
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How much time and money are needed?
Although some builders promise you that your website will be all set and ready within 2-4 weeks, you should understand that such solutions will likely be basic. Their design and UX will not be neither unique nor advanced. Speaking about custom development, on average it takes 1-4 months depending on the overall website complexity, design requirements and specificity of integrations that are needed. But as the result you will get the best possible solutions fully adaptable to your business needs and requirements. So if you need a long lasting website that will be appreciated by your customers and employees, you should be prepared to wait a little longer than a month and refuse the idea to create your solution with a builder.
As to the development cost, a functional website with a set of custom features will require $30,000 or more. If you need to test your idea and check whether a website will bring any value to your business, then you may develop an MVP version of it first. Such a website will contain only key features and will cost you $20,000+. It is a good start and with time you can make your solution more feature rich and interesting.
We have prepared some real numbers for you, so that you can understand better how much development hours and money are required per each stage of website MVP building. Of course every project is unique and the price may differ, so it is recommended to contact your development team and ask for a quote.
|Stage||Dev hours||Dev cost|
|JS dev||141 h||$2538|
|PHP dev||755 h||$13590|
|Manual testing||283 h||$3679|
|Scrum master||476 h||$8092|
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To wrap it up
Without doubt a custom functional website is a must have for every business industry. It can be used not only to represent your brand with all its spectrum of services or goods. With a reliable website full of custom features you can introduce self service to your customers, improve the provided support, track and manage orders easier and more effectively, and what’s more important you can gain a huge competitive advantage.
Speaking about website development, we’d recommend you to invest your time and money into custom website building to ensure that your solution is SEO friendly, highly performing, optimized and has higher ranking.
If your budget is limited at the moment, you can always start with MVP development and then extend your website functionality and introduce further improvements. Free builders will never be as good as custom development and you will likely face a lot of challenges with time. Some integrations may become dysfunctional, service providers may change their policies and many more. So in terms of longevity and stability custom development is way more superior.