Custom software is often a topic completely overlooked by many small to medium sized businesses. The idea of having a CRM or mobile app built specifically for your business may seem like a luxury only larger businesses can afford however, this is no longer the case.
Just as a standard website used to cost upwards of $10,000+ in the 90’s and now can be built at a fraction of the cost, custom software builds are experiencing a coming of age in similar fashion. What used to cost 6 figures has been reduced to the low 5’s and there are even drag and drop app building platforms where you can build apps yourself code free.
As better tools are made available for the experts, allowing for faster output from developers, and with the rise of elastic databases like AWS, which provide commercial server access in an a la carte format, having your own app or web based software is something every business owner should consider.
Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of a custom software build and how to tell if it’s time for your business.
Choosing Between Established Software and a Custom Build
You would be hard pressed to find a business that doesn't use any software at all to operate these days. Even the most basic of businesses have an invoicing system, a payment processor, or some sort of software to monitor internal affairs like employee management.
Without second thought, many of these business owners will turn to some of the most popular platforms out there like QuickBooks, Office365, Slack & more. A couple of years ago these big players were offering their software at extremely affordable prices or even free. Fast forward to 2021 and you will find new SAAS companies entering the marketplace every day along with widespread user reliance on these services.
This reliance (once you start using QuickBooks...good luck stopping) along with the rapidly growing number of competitors have created an environment where these services are usually no longer free and are becoming less and less affordable. Quickbooks cost just $19/mo a few short years ago for complete plans and now you can expect to pay $50+/mo.
Some readers may even scoff at the thought of a $50/mo piece of software as many enterprise software providers won’t talk to you for less than 4 figures a month and there’s always a contract that is essentially non-negotiable.
Paying 4-5 figures a month to a software company, that at the end of the day still owns all of your company data in one way or another, can wear on any business owner who wishes to run a secure and self reliant business.
Ultimately, opting for out of the box software when starting a business makes sense but as you grow, paying over and over again for something you don’t own, that wasn’t built for your business, causes a lot of business owners to seek out a professional app development team.
If custom software can save you or your team a few hours a day, it pays for itself in a few short months.
Benefits of Using Already Established Software
There are many benefits to simply purchasing a subscription from a well established brand and having them hit your card every month. As stated above, it is recommended that you use these tools when you start your business and these platforms have helped tons of businesses scale.
The biggest benefits are
The pros of using a subscription based software as described above are the cons of a custom build and vice versa.
Benefits of Having a Custom Software Built
Below read some of the biggest advantages to building your own system which are simultaneously the pitfalls of paying for a month to month software.
How do you Know it’s Time to Have Custom Software Built?
If you are:
you can be sure now is the time to invest in custom software for your business.
Custom software gives you design flexibility and freedom from high, endless monthly bills. With our average software build costing between $20-50k and a business owner that knows their numbers, we can generate a breakeven date compared to what you are currently paying your current software providers so you can be certain this endeavor will have a positive ROI for your business.
Is There a Way I Can Dip My Toe in the Water? $20-$50,000 Sounds Like a Lot!
Yes! Here at Mad Mango Marketing we can sit down with you and your team and go over your current systems, your functionality requirements, and your design preferences. For around 10% of the price we quote you to build the entire system we can build what we refer to as a “mock up”.
This mock up has clickable features and can be used on your computer or phone with limited functionality. What we do in the mock up stage is put together our best interpretation of your needs into an app for you to feel comfortable in our ability to deliver as well as for you to visually see how it will look so you can make suggest critical changes before continuing development.
The best part!?
This mock up is 100% non-binding to the build of the application or software. We even bake this number into the future price of the project! i.e. if we quote you $20,000, you pay $2,000 for the mock up and then owe a remaining $18,000 for the completion of the project which is typically spread out into monthly payments based on our projected timeline to finish.
Some people come to us just to develop a mock up that they can have on their phone as a tool to raise funds for completion!
How to Get Started
Fill out the contact form below or message one of our team members on LinkedIn and we will send you some of our most recent projects, referrals from past builds, and set up a meeting to learn more about your business.
With Mad Mango Marketing, having a custom built mobile app or software system is only a few clicks away. Contact us today!
If you wouldn’t open your storefront before everything was in place, don't throw together your website. If you maintain cleanliness and order at your place of business with the hope of appearing “put together” for customers or clients, you should pay similar attention to your website.
The internet doesn’t have to be a place for the same old thing. Too often I see clients requesting a website-build with 0 originality. “Just a simple landing page” they say or “I want every page my competition has”.
If you are trying to build a website that ranks on Google for the long haul you need to build your website with as much pride as you built your business with. This means monthly, if not weekly improvements. Simply copying the pages from a competitor's site and putting up content one time will only get you so far. Even simply posting a weekly blog can only get you so far in the SEO world.
Small to medium sized business owners are often too busy to realize the proprietary real estate they could be building online in tandem with growing their business the way they know how.
Brainstorm what your customer base could make use of online. You can use a website to do just about anything. You can create a resource center, you can create a platform for others to come together, you can make something video based, you can add content to 1 page or create 50 pages about each of your service providers... anything in between.
If your business is fighting for SEO visibility you need to be building useful pages for every topic concerning your business. This is much more beneficial to your rankings than focusing on any page speed metric or backlink count.
Examples of Spectacular Sites
Some of the most important metrics Google wants to see in order to rank your page are organic visits/shares, time spent on page, pages per session, and bounce rate. If you have an SEO agency like ours clean up your website’s backend (which we offer!), you should really only need to spend time worrying about these metrics. The backlinks will come naturally to your content.
Here are some amazing sites that do an exemplary job of keeping you on the page and encouraging shares.
MyCreativeType.com is a product built by the team at Adobe Create. If you give the site a click you can see it checks off almost every metric I mentioned.
The official website for Super Nintendo World in Japan is one of my favorite examples of what a website could be. This website checks off all the boxes above as well. It is also a link generating machine with thousands of free links from bloggers and other websites showing their readers the masterpiece built.
I found ACCLAIM after a quick Google search for outstanding contractor sites to make this blog more applicable to those who don’t own a theme park or photo editing software company. Instead of sticking to stereotypical site structure for a contractor, ACCLAIM went above and beyond creating an interactive website that takes the user through the 2 main services they offer. As you can see, once you start scrolling down the site, the website takes over and takes you through the content the way the business wants you to.
They also present their other 9 services lower on the page giving Google a very clear link structure to learn.
Where do you start if you want to build a beautiful web property?
Well, you start by calling Mad Mango Marketing. But for those who are looking to try it themselves or are looking for some more information we will bring up a few points worth mentioning.
This depends on your developing capabilities as far as time. If you want to build a website that is over the top in design and engaging like the examples above you can expect to spend anywhere from 8-20k+ in most markets. Hosting can also be a little bit more than average if you are getting a lot of traffic or running a lot of video content.
Unfortunately, the build is just part of the equation you will need to consider as a business owner. One thing all great websites have in common are incredible imagery. The Nintendo site referenced must have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in artist hours! The difference between popping off the screen and grabbing attention relies much more on your graphics and art than backend development. Depending on your business you should plan on budgeting anywhere from 1-5k for art.
WordPress, Shopify, and Webflow are the three platforms we would suggest you consider to build an incredible website on. We mentioned pricing first because although these platforms are cheap to build any old site on you will still need to spend either a lot of time or spend a fair amount to have a website built that isn’t just another site. Webflow and Shopify both have a significant advantage in the fact that you won’t need to update plugins or worry about security nearly as much as a WordPress site. It is very important that your web designer builds your site with an easy to use CMS in between you and the backend so that you or your team can easily add additional pages or content without paying your developer more $$$.
You should really have at least the first year of content planned. Whether it is daily, weekly, or monthly posting for the first couple months should be fairly straightforward when starting out. Find a soft spot for information in your industry and cover it completely. If you install microwaves you should be reviewing every model, if you have an at-home care business you should be covering every reason someone may end up in your care.
Start with the main tenets of your business and get deeper and deeper into detail with dedicated content. You can also use an agency like Mad Mango to write professional content for your industry alongside your efforts to expedite the process.
Even being 30 years separated from the first commercial website, few small business owners who conduct business offline think like this. They see their website as a billboard instead of a warehouse with unlimited land to scale.
When you create content that users need (even if it's 1 or 2 people a month), structure it so that Google can understand the importance of this content within the context of your business, and work at building more on a regular schedule... it's only a matter of time until the free organic traffic lands on a site with your name and number.
All blogs are written by our incredible staff here at Mad Mango Marketing. Your Connecticut SEO, App Development, and Online Advertising experts.