These Five Things Will Help Your Web Dev Project
There are things that determine the success of a web development project. And letting them slip through the cracks results in fewer customers and lost revenue.
No matter the core activity, US small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are increasingly waking up to the necessity of creating a digital presence to provide clients with a great web experience and generate new leads. However, due to the lack of technical knowledge or financial resources, SMBs may fail to complete this task.
Indeed, there are things that determine the success of a web development project. And letting them slip through the cracks results in fewer customers and lost revenue. Read on to find out what those things are.
An ideal vendor speaks your language
If you don’t have an in-house team with great programming skills, your journey will likely start with examining web development companies in the US for the position of your vendor. But how to choose the right candidate?
The optimal software vendor should know the nuts and bolts of your business and have a proven success record in building industry-specific, profit-generating solutions.
For example, if you’re a healthcare provider, make sure your contractor understands the value of UX design, i.e. knows how to help non-techie clinicians and patients feel at ease when navigating an online medical system. Other things an expert developer will be attentive to are HIPAA-compliance and interoperability.
Or, if you own an online store, you’ll need an IT provider who’s experienced in fast, secure third-party integrations, be it payment gateways or an analytics system aimed at obtaining customer behavior insights, also called customer intelligence (CI).
Before inking a contract, ask for credentials, namely domain-specific case studies and customer testimonials. Besides, pay heed to B2B ratings and reviews. If you decide to outsource web development, one place to check out in search of a good contractor is Clutch, who regularly publishes rankings of top IT outsourcing companies.
Page load speed: Don’t leave your customers hanging
Users get more and more demanding: 40% of them are likely to abandon a website if its page load time exceeds three seconds. Google’s rule to prioritize faster websites is another reason why you should care about your website speed.
The stakes are even higher for ecommerce. According to a recent Akamai’s report, a two-second delay in page load time makes shoppers turn to competitors, increasing bounce rates by 103%.
Even if you start small, it’s often wise to think big. Your company may not be the next Twitter with thousands of users posting simultaneously. Yet, as your business grows, so does the number of visitors.
Choose a contractor with considerable experience in building high-load solutions, i.e. those able to successfully handle peak traffic. By partnering with such a vendor, you get professional help on every stage of the development process: from planning and consulting on the optimal website architecture and server configurations to implementation and performance testing.
A seasoned vendor will also help you with implementing an advanced content delivery network (CDN). This approach can considerably speed up page loads and improve user experience by reducing latency, network congestion, content blockages, and other bottlenecks.
Third-party integrations: Improve your business workflows
When planning your budget, mind the fact that you may need to pair up your web application with third-party software, for instance, a customer relationship management (CRM) or other sales and contact system — to have a single marketing data source.
In case of ecommerce, it may be integration with accounting software, multiple payment gateways, various mobile and portable devices, as well as point of sale (POS) terminals. A secure third-party integration is not easy from the technical point of view, and you’ll need a vendor able to successfully tackle this task.
However, don’t hurry to roll out new integration features. The slightest bug may lead to huge financial losses and tarnished reputation, so allocate enough time and money for end-to-end testing. That means inspecting real-world behavior of your solution to detect problems in communication with other systems and to determine how a failed test would impact your clients.
Website security: Protect sensitive data
With the growing number of hacker attacks, website security becomes a top priority. Safeguarding a user’s personal information and other sensitive data is a challenging task that requires security testing aimed to define the potential vulnerabilities of your website.
In this case, it’s better to rely on an expert vendor who is in the loop on best security testing techniques, including risk assessment, penetration testing, vulnerability and security scanning, ethical hacking, and security auditing.
You can also contribute to protecting your website from unlawful use by increasing cybersecurity awareness among the employees. That doesn’t necessarily mean burning a hole in your pocket. You can make the most out of the free resources offered by the US Small Business Administration (SBA), create a solid disaster recovery plan, and involve your staff in cybersecurity training programs.
Software testing: Save users from bugs
As the practice shows, SMBs tend to skimp on software testing, overlooking the negative outcomes it might cause. For an outstanding user experience, you can’t go without checking your software for bugs. In addition to performance, security, and end-to-end testing mentioned above, your web dev project will also require functional and UI & UX testing.
As the name goes, functional testing is set to ensure that your website behaves the way it’s designed — to meet your business goals. This type of testing is performed according to a requirements specification — a document you agreed on with your vendor to define what is acceptable behavior for your website and what is not.
For example, ecommerce websites have different fill-in fields, such as those in registration, contact, order, shipping, and other forms. The functional testing of these forms will include validating the correctness of data — including attachments and their formats — entered by your site’s visitors and ensuring user messages will be sent to the correct recipient.
UI & UX testing will verify that your website matches the initial design mockups and that users — including those with disabilities — can freely navigate the website and access all its elements. You’ll also need cross-device and cross-browser UI testing to make certain your website is optimized for all resolutions and screen orientations. Moreover, UI & UX testing will help you to ensure style consistency, proper spelling and grammar, as well as content and multimedia content readability.
Summing it up
For budget-conscious SMBs, web development may be a costly endeavor. But once you’ve decided to embark on this adventure, there are things that may be too costly to ignore. These are a software vendor’s experience in developing industry-specific solutions, website speed, sensitive data protection, secure integrations with third-party systems, and testing your platform for various bugs.
Rest assured that with all the above-mentioned aspects taken into account, your web dev undertaking will give you more bang for your buck. You’ll be able to enhance user experience, attract more clients (and that means more sales for you), strengthen your brand, improve your business processes, and boost service efficiency.