Navigating the complex world of small business web development comes with its unique challenges. To gain insights into overcoming these hurdles, we’ve compiled the experiences and strategies from founders and technology leaders. They share everything from managing expectations within a budget to optimizing workflow for scaling, in these fifteen comprehensive answers. Here are some tips on handling common challenges in small business web development:

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  • Manage Expectations Within Budget
  • Balance Design and Functionality
  • Outsource to Skilled Developers
  • Ensure Page Responsiveness
  • Prioritize Essential Website Features
  • Access Affordable Specialized Expertise
  • Create Custom WordPress Templates
  • Design Mobile-Optimized Website Format
  • Embed Visual Guides for Users
  • Transition to Flexible Webflow Platform
  • Redesign for Cognitive Accessibility
  • Customize to Stand Out
  • Boost Traffic with Online Ads
  • Implement a Proactive Communication Strategy
  • Optimize Workflow for Scaling

Manage Expectations Within Budget

A significant challenge in small-business web development was managing client expectations within a limited budget. Many small businesses have grand ideas but are often constrained by their financial resources.

To address this, we focused on transparent communication and educating clients about the web development process. We provided clear explanations of what was achievable within their budget and offered scalable solutions. This way, clients could start with a solid, basic website and enhance it as their business grew and their budget allowed. 

The key was to build trust and provide value, ensuring clients understood the balance between cost and functionality. This approach helped in maintaining client satisfaction and realistic project scopes.

Juan Carlos Munoz, Co-Founder, CC Creative Design

Balance Design and Functionality

One challenge I encountered in small business web development was balancing design and functionality. Small businesses often have limited budgets and resources, so it can be a challenge to create a visually appealing and user-friendly website while still ensuring that it meets the functional requirements of the business.

To overcome this challenge, I focused on understanding the specific needs and goals of the business. By closely collaborating with the client and gaining a deep understanding of their target audience, I was able to prioritize the essential functionality and design elements that would have the most significant impact on their success.

I utilized efficient development tools and frameworks to streamline the development process and save time and resources. This allowed me to allocate more time towards perfecting the design and ensuring that the website provided an optimal user experience.

By understanding the priorities of the business and leveraging appropriate tools and techniques, I was able to overcome the challenge of balancing design and functionality in small business web development.

Alex Lirette, Founder, Orbital Seo

Outsource to Skilled Developers

One major challenge I had was a lack of proficiency in web development and the skills. Instead of trying to master everything, I decided to outsource the task to professionals. By leveraging the expertise of skilled developers, I was able to save time and ensure a high-quality website for my small business. 

It allowed me to focus on my strengths in entrepreneurship while ensuring that the technical aspect was in capable hands. It was a strategic move that proved effective in overcoming the skills gap and delivering a solid online presence for my business.

Johannes Larsson, Founder and CEO,

Ensure Page Responsiveness

Online presence is a must for every business, regardless of their shape and size. Business owners strive to get it all done. Typically, small business owners do not focus much on the details, such as making all the pages responsive. This one challenge is very commonly observed, which shows that the footfalls do not increase after a point in time. 

Would you be open to revisiting an unresponsive page again and again? It’s a clear-cut no. With so many alternatives, nobody would be interested in paying attention to your page if this is the case. Therefore, you must ensure that your page is fully responsive and that all your placements from thereon are intact. I would highly recommend focusing on button placements, utilizing scalar vector graphics, and so on, while you further test the results.

Jack Vivian, Chief Technology Officer, Increditools

Prioritize Essential Website Features

Most small business owners face the same issues when getting a new website. For example, the website I wanted to design would cost north of $10,000, so I had to take a step back to plan and prioritize. Instead of a fancy theme with extravagant graphics, I narrowed down my vision to a simple website with just a few essential features. 

Then, all I had to do was hire freelance designers and developers for specific tasks, and also utilize DIY elements, free icons, and stock photos instead of paying an agency for a flashy design. In the end, I had a substantial amount left in my budget to pay for high-quality content.

Marty Aghajanyan, Founder and CEO, JBoard

Access Affordable Specialized Expertise

One of the primary challenges encountered in small-business web development revolves around the need for specialized roles such as UX designers, Agile Scrum Masters, DevOps specialists, front-end developers, and back-end developers. In larger organizations, having individuals dedicated to each of these roles contributes significantly to the overall quality of the product. However, for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), resource constraints often compel a single person to take on multiple roles, preventing them from specializing in any one area.

This lack of specialization can result in challenges related to efficiency, depth of expertise, and the ability to deliver a truly exceptional product. For instance, a developer responsible for both front-end and back-end tasks might find it challenging to keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies and best practices in both domains.

At Zibtek, we recognize the importance of overcoming these challenges to empower SMBs in achieving their digital goals. Our approach involves making web development services more affordable, enabling businesses to access specialized expertise in both front-end and back-end development. By addressing the financial aspect, we aim to alleviate the burden on small businesses, allowing them to benefit from the advantages of having dedicated professionals for each crucial role.

Cache Merrill, CEO and Founder, Zibtek

Create Custom WordPress Templates

In developing the Phonexa website on WordPress, we faced a challenge: the need for numerous uniquely designed pages to enhance our web experience. 

Avoiding page builders like Elementor was crucial due to their tendency to slow down page load speeds. Our solution? We chose to create custom templates. The choice was cost-effective, as the built pages don’t require any monthly fees. Also, the developer made pages precisely according to our vision without compromises. 

Now, our website is future-proof; it’s independent of external plugins and loads significantly faster compared to plugin-based layouts. If your small business needs 10-15 highly customized pages, this might be the perfect choice for you as well.

Sergey Galanin, Director of SEO, Phonexa

Design Mobile-Optimized Website Format

Optimizing the platform for mobile responsiveness was the main challenge our company faced. When we started the website, everything went smoothly. However, as the company started growing, we discovered the majority of our users were using their smartphones to access our services. Another concern was reaching the top of the search results when they searched for event management, which was not possible if the website was not mobile-optimized. 

To make their experience engaging and stand out among the crowd, a mobile-optimized website was a necessity. We overcame this by designing a separate format for mobile. The goal was to make sure it was clean and clear so any user could have a smoother experience without spending their time finding out what to do next. After several tests and fixing tons of issues, we finally tested our mobile-optimized website, and since then, our user experience reviews have only been positive.

Len Gauger, Owner of Connect Space, Connect Space

Embed Visual Guides for Users

One unexpected challenge in launching our self-serve freemium tier involved guiding non-technical users through the necessary DNS modifications for underlying domain integration.

While our email redirection and routing automation operates turnkey for savvy technical founders, enabling personalized vanity domains and inboxes for fledgling online side hustles and local shops initially intimidated some customers without infrastructure familiarity.

Our breakthrough stemmed from embedding visual guides detailing step-by-step domain host modifications within the product dashboard itself, paired with SMS second-factor authentication, eliminating common security miscues. In a platform space where technical prerequisites prove unavoidable, counterintuitive UX guides and automatic validation checks eradicate friction for less experienced users.

Nitai Aventaggiato, Founder and CEO, Helpmonks

Transition to Flexible Webflow Platform

As a bootstrapped founder with a modest grasp of web development, I quickly realized the limitations of my skills, budget, and time. Initially, I opted for Squarespace due to its simplicity, but as our business evolved, so did our website needs. Transitioning to Webflow marked a pivotal moment for us. It catered to my intermediate skill level, offering the flexibility to incorporate code and utilize apps developed by the Webflow community. 

This approach allowed me to enhance our website’s functionality without starting from scratch or exceeding our budget. Webflow’s balance of user-friendliness and advanced features provided the perfect solution to our web development challenges, enabling us to create a more sophisticated online presence.

Brett Ungashick, CEO and CHRO, OutSail

Redesign for Cognitive Accessibility

One uncommon challenge in small-business web development was addressing accessibility for users with cognitive disabilities.

To overcome it, I worked closely with a UX specialist who helped redesign the website with intuitive navigation and simplified content. We also integrated speech-recognition tools and provided options for adjustable font sizes and readability settings. This inclusive approach not only expanded our audience but also demonstrated our commitment to accessibility, setting us apart in the industry.

Ryan Doser, Co-Founder, AI Insider Tips

Customize to Stand Out

One of the challenges that we encountered when we first started Oxygen Plus was avoiding looking too much like other e-commerce sites. The thing about starting a new business is you’re probably going to start by using similar web hosting platforms to other people. Back when we started, these platforms were very limited in terms of customization. As a result, there were a lot of sites that looked pretty much the same.

To avoid this, we did a lot of research into other site designs, templates, etc. We then made sure that we hired someone who had the creative and innovative mindset that would ensure our site could be built in the way we wanted.

Lauren Carlstrom, COO, Oxygen Plus

Boost Traffic with Online Ads

The problem I encountered in small-business web development was low traffic. There is a lot of competition, and it takes time for a business to grow and reach its goal. 

Therefore, I used online advertising and paid Google ads to grow my business. I also reached out to influencers and asked them to promote my business in exchange for a free product. I studied my target audience and created the type of advertisement and generated content that would interest them, and this significantly grew my customer base. 

Using social media also helped a lot; daily posts bring awareness. I tried being active on social media and responded to customers. Lastly, I monitored my traffic using Google Analytics to figure out whether I was on the road to improvement or not.

Zaineb Abrar, Freelance Writer, Modeva

Implement a Proactive Communication Strategy

One challenge we came across in small-business web development was limited customer support resources. To beat this challenge, we executed a strategy of proactive communication. We ensured that our customers had multiple channels to reach out to us, like email, phone, and live chat. We also set up a comprehensive knowledge base and FAQ section on our website to address common queries. 

Apart from these industry best practices, we’ve also mastered the art of personalization. Before a consumer conversation begins, we already predict possible issues they might have by looking at their behavior and past interactions with our platform. Being proactive and knowing the issues beforehand really changes the tone of the conversation you are about to have. We have strong SOPs and a detailed list of self-help resources for our teams, which enable everyone from the team to resolve issues at scale. 

So far, we have been able to minimize the need for direct customer support. For other small businesses facing such challenges, it is highly suggested to invest in proactive communication and self-help resources to optimize customer support with limited resources.

Chaitsi Ahuja, Founder and CEO, Brown Living

Optimize Workflow for Scaling

Scaling operations to meet increasing demand was one of the challenges I faced as a small business owner throughout the development period. I concentrated on workflow optimization, process simplification, and technology utilization to get around this. I succeeded in managing increased business volumes without compromising quality by investing in scalable infrastructure, automating repetitive operations, and putting in place effective systems. 

I also trained and employed a competent staff to help with the growing workload. Accepting innovation and flexibility enabled me to overcome scaling challenges and set up my company for long-term success.

Daniel Florido, Chief Web Development and Director, Pixelstorm