What can a web developer do for my small business?

By Lexie Lu

In today’s design world, there are web design options for business owners such as instant websites ready to go out of the box. The problem with those sites is that they are cookie cutter and not customized to your business or your individual needs. A web developer has the skills to create a one-of-a-kind experience for your site visitors and make your business stand out from the competition.

There are more than 1.67 billion websites online, although the number fluctuates by the second. Even though only a small portion of those sites are your actual competition, the clamor to grab the attention of consumers is deafening. However, your budget might not allow you to hire a web developer to build an entire site from scratch.

There are many different benefits to hiring a web designer for your business. However, you can also hire a developer to complete some tasks and work on others yourself. Here’s a breakdown of some of the more common benefits web developers bring to the table and considerations for your business:

– Create custom designs for better branding

A web developer customizes your website so it matches your other branding efforts. Rather than being limited to only the themes available on a free platform, a developer can either create a theme from scratch or tweak a design you already have or like.

The more customized and the more tied to your brand your look is, the more your brand image sticks in the user’s mind.

– Develop design guidelines for consistency

In one study of brands working on consistency in marketing, researchers found focusing more on branding consistency resulted in a 23 percent revenue increase. Hiring an in-house developer puts one person in charge of your online efforts. Most web developers create design guidelines which anyone working on a project adheres to.

Consistency helps with brand recognition and improves brand visibility. It’s often easier to maintain a consistent look if you hire a full-time, in-house web developer. However, if your business doesn’t have the budget to pay a full-time person for web development, look to freelancers you can build an ongoing relationship with for better symmetry with branding.

– Generate ideas which increase revenue

A web developer gets to know your business over time and sees the growth and changes every company goes through. Because the designer has a full understanding of where you’ve been and where you’re going, they can also brainstorm revenue generating ideas and create features such as apps that tie into special sales or automated lead generation features for the website.

– Help you reach customers on mobile devices

More than 75 percent of Americans own a smartphone and use their mobile devices to go online. If your site isn’t mobile responsive, you’re missing out on a lot of potential traffic. A smart web developer looks at how a website adapts to different devices and users. They test each feature thoroughly to make sure the experience is seamless no matter where users access the site.

– Free up your time

As a business owner, dozens of responsibilities pull you in different directions. If you choose to build a site on your own, even with a website builder, you’ll have to figure out how the software works and upload everything yourself.

When you hire a web developer, they do everything for you, including registering your domain name and securing hosting space. You won’t waste precious time figuring out how to get your site up and running and can throw that extra time into other business-building activities.

– Help you make the most of opportunities

When deciding whether you can afford to hire a web developer, you should also ask yourself if you can afford lost opportunities if your site doesn’t look professional. The type of business you run factors in because if you’re trying to sell financial service or big-ticket items, users might not trust investing in a company with an unprofessional-looking site.

On the other hand, if your site sells fidget spinners, you might be able to get by with a DIY site until your budget allows a more customized website.

– Provide ongoing support

At some point in your business career, your site will go down, a hacker will strike, or you’ll accidentally delete a bunch of files. If you’ve created a DIY site, you may have no idea of where to start to fix a major issue. However, if you already work with a web developer, they likely have backups of your site and can fix any problems in minutes instead of days. Having an expert on hand lessens the amount of time your site is down and unavailable to customers.

Spend what you can afford

Hiring a web developer isn’t cheap. Start small and hire a professional to handle the things which make your site stand out, such as your shopping cart or lead generation strategies. As your business grows, you can bring in a full-time developer or hire your freelancer for additional tasks. Web development is a vital part of online business growth, but juggling the costs is a balancing act. Spend what you can afford, upping your game a little at a time and your website will help generate sales and present your company in a positive light.

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Lexie Lu is a web designer and CX enthusiast. She enjoys covering topics related to UX design, web design, social media and brandingFeel free to subscribe to her design blog, Design Roast, or follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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