Why the Cheapest WordPress Development Isn’t Always the Best WordPress Development

Let’s say you’ve received a few estimates for your WordPress website, and you’re leaning towards going with the cheapest WordPress development agency. It is understandable that saving money is a priority. After all, we all have businesses to run.

However, before you sign that contract, I encourage you to consider the following list of potentially critical things you should insist on including in your development process. If all of these standards are not included in your estimate, it would probably explain the disparity in pricing between the cheaper agency and one that is more reputable but, therefore, more expensive. Before we delve into these crucial considerations, it’s essential to understand the potential repercussions of opting for the cheapest WordPress development agency. Here’s what you need to know.

But wait. Most WordPress agencies are the same, right?

This is a phot of a concrete and brick wall falling apart.Choosing a WordPress agency to develop your website is an important decision that could impact your company in many ways. It may be tempting to go with the company offering the lowest estimate, but let’s explore some ways in which the cheapest WordPress development isn’t always the best option.

Lack of WordPress Experience

I encourage you to look at the length of time your chosen agency has worked in the WordPress industry. For instance, WebDevStudios has been developing WordPress sites for over 15 years. That’s more than 15 years of watching industry standards evolve. That’s 15+ years of continually striving to offer our clients a better end product.

Poor Website Performance

Believe it or not, your website acts as a reflection of your brand. You want it to reflect your values. It should be performant, and the metrics should prove it.

Lack of Security & Poor Accessibility

Your WordPress site should be secure, and the industry’s best practices should back that promise up. It should also be accessible to everyone, not only because your SEO will thrive but because it’s the right thing to do, and it’s even the law in many cases.

No Documentation

A good WordPress agency will deliver clean code that is well-documented. Cheap agencies may skimp on this deliverable, leaving you with countless future problems. Don’t just think of what you need today, think about the future of your company’s website.

Cheap code can be riddled with hidden and compounding problems, making future enhancements more expensive than their quality code counterpart. If you’re not careful, the hidden problems, much like black mold hiding behind a wall, can accumulate and cause additional expenses for years. Invest in quality code if you want a website you can continue believing in for years.

Not Future-Proofed, Impersonal Service

Lastly, the cheapest WordPress development can come in several forms. The first is obviously the agency that is too small and who believes they can do it for less. These agencies may be skilled in many ways but can’t hold a candle to experienced agencies.

The second is the agency that is too large and has so many clients that you risk becoming just a number. On the contrary, choosing an agency with decades of experience developing enterprise-grade WordPress sites and a reputation for treating clients as individuals is choosing the best of both worlds.

Good, Cheap, or Fast. Which two would you like?

This is a photo of water damage and mold on a wall.It’s understandable that people want quality, but it’s also important to temper expectations with reality. If you’re limiting your choices to the cheapest WordPress development, doing so may come with a hidden cost.

I’ve always heard the mantra:

Good, cheap, and fast: pick two.

I think this is apt here, as cheap usually seems to be the Achilles heel. Choose good and cheap; it won’t be fast. Choose cheap and fast; it won’t be good. If you expect your WordPress website to be good, cheap, and fast, perhaps it’s a sign that more research is required.

Usually, corners get cut when the focus is cheap. It’s important to know the makeup of the team that will be building your site. Will you be onboarding with what seems like a well-rounded team, only to be left with the most junior developers after the welcoming committee has left?

A well-rounded team will include strategists, account managers, project managers, designers, frontend engineers, and backend engineers. A good agency will be diversified in its skills and will not try to put all of these responsibilities on only a few people, or even worse, one person.

Who is paying for WordPress development mistakes?

To begin, I’m going to quote WebDevStudios Account Manager Laura Byrne:

If you needed a brain surgeon, you wouldn’t choose the cheapest one.

When you hire a WordPress agency, we hope you are considering the level of experience such a company brings to the table, not just the cost. Experienced agencies are not exempt from mistakes over the years, but those mistakes are now part of the depth of experience and precisely what qualifies them to be experts.

If the cheap WordPress development agency you hire makes a serious mistake, ask yourself who will carry that burden. Was that mistake preventable in the first place? Will the cheaper agency quickly bounce back, or will this lead to even more problems? Our guess is that something will have to give, and it will probably affect you where it counts most: your budget and your time.

Does your agency use best practices in WordPress development?

Your agency should be developing a secure WordPress site. They should be willing to offer additional future services, such as regular updates and backups. This means that their development processes are well-defined, and they have a trusted partner for hosting.

It should perform well when you run a Google Lighthouse report on your website. This means that it has been optimized for various devices, as well as accessibility and SEO.

As the development agency is building out your website, are they also developing feature documentation? As the new owner of your website, you’ll need to know how to use it. That’s standard practice for WebDevStudios, and you should demand that. Is the data sanitized, and the code escaped? You should be sure that you’re not vulnerable to hackers who love to use SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS).

How cookie-cutter will your new site be?

Design is a huge factor in brand perception. Who will be designing your site? Is it someone with expertise in UI/UX design or someone who is winging it?

We recommend you begin by having early conversations that consider the overall intention of your site. A good designer can solve many of the problems in the early stages of the process. You should discuss your project’s needs with someone who can actively listen and then turn your dream into a reality.

When there’s a critical failure, can they fix it? How can you be sure?

Whoever you go with, they should be available anytime. You should feel comfortable knowing that if there’s a problem with your site, you can reach out and begin the process of fixing your site.

Does your chosen WordPress development agency offer a tier of service that includes 24/7 response and service? Lastly, have they dealt with a vast number of potential problems in the past? These are the benefits of choosing a company that can back you up, not just in the beginning but at all stages of your company’s evolution.

How scaleable is your cheap WordPress site?

This is a photo of damage to a house roof.Assuming your website does well in the future, you’re eventually going to want to expand your offering. You should feel confident knowing that the company you choose can handle the development of new features.

A major flaw of cheap WordPress developers is that they’ll sometimes fall into the trap of using plugins as bandaids for features. To be clear, plugins are not bad, but they should be used judiciously.

If your website has functionality that hinges on plugins, ask what that could mean for additional development in the future. Plugins often have quickly found limitations, and if you’ve sunken a considerable amount of cost into a direction that ends up in a dead end, you’ll be on the hook to spend much more money in the long run.

There are many details to consider. For example, is your new site set up to be properly translated? Is the code configured in a way such that content can be created in a second language? Again, the lack of features like this is another potential hidden flaw of a cheaper agency.

Where will your development company be in 3-5 years?

I mentioned this briefly before, but you should think about the future of your relationship with an agency, not just what can be delivered in the short term. As relationships grow, so do processes.

A positive and familiar working relationship can improve the turnaround time of new feature development. Finding a new and reliable agency after discovering problematic issues is not the best use of your time. Onboarding costs can be expensive, and the new agency will need to begin the process of reading and understanding your existing code base. Assuming it’s in perfect shape, that can still take a bit of time. Ask yourself if you’ll be stuck looking for another WordPress developer in a few months, and consider how painful that process will be.

How will your new site perform?

Accessibility is massively important. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can worry about accessibility later. Remember that if your site falls under ADA Title III, it is considered a public accommodation. This includes restaurants, retail stores, and more.

Again, many websites are legally considered public spaces. Examples of companies that have been sued for lack of website accessibility even include Nike, Amazon, and Domino’s Pizza. Imagine trying to save money on your site, only to be sued because it’s not ADA compliant.

Finally, this leads to WordPress performance. What are your expectations for Google Lighthouse scores? This isn’t the only important metric, but it’s a decent benchmark to know how you’re going to rate on Google’s search engine.

Ask your agency how they plan to handle Least Contentful Paint, First Contentful Paint, and Cumulative Layout Shift. If they look like a deer in the headlights, that’s probably a red flag for finding a better agency.

How it all fits together.

Even if all of these things come together, the ‘how’ is something that can’t live purely in the realm of theory but must come from years of hands-on experience. Critical elements of your WordPress website, such as performance, accessibility, and code quality, should be a requirement, not a nice-to-have.

Set your project scope with these deliverables in mind. Invest in quality code, and remember that you’re investing in the future of your website. Don’t be tempted to just ship it because the clock is ticking; time will always be of the essence.

By hiring vetted professionals, prevent compounding problems now by creating the proper foundation for your website to thrive. I hope you can use the questions we explored today to inform better your final choice of which agency you should hire.

If you are working on a tight budget, WebDevStudios has a process that can help you achieve your website’s goals over time with the use of WordPress development sprints. This can stretch out the costs and allow for a strategic approach, prioritizing the most important aspects first. Contact us to learn more about how you can build the ultimate WordPress website based on a timeline and budget that works for you.


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