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What Are the Risks of Pricing Out Web Development Costs in India?

David Barlev

October 21, 2020 · 6 minutes

If you’re getting ready to build a website, you’ve probably considered outsourcing your web development costs in India.

Since the U.S. is the most expensive place to build a website, many businesses hope to outsource web development to countries where labor is cheaper. India ranks near the top of the list of alternatives.

Unfortunately, collaborating overseas can have its drawbacks.

In this post, we’ll talk about some of the most common problems people face when pricing out web development in India.

Quality Always Costs More

A laptop sitting on a deskFirst things first. There are cheap developers anywhere you go. Skilled experts in any field charge more for their services and can be harder to schedule for work. This is because they have the experience to do the job right the first time. Considering all that goes into a good website, hiring one of these developers will probably cost you a few thousand dollars.

To get a good website up and running, you’ll need to work with savvy designers, developers, SEO specialists, content writers, and rent a web server that will cost you hundreds of dollars per user. Each of these contractors charges an hourly rate.

There are cheaper routes, but at what cost? Any fixes down the road will cost more now that someone new has to see them for the first time.

So what are you actually paying for when you build a good website?

The Million-and-One Ways to Make a Better Site

SEO audits, scheduled blog posts, paid ads, responsive web design, and more—there’s always something else you could do for your website to drive more traffic and keep users there longer. If you work with a discount web design studio overseas, this may not be a consideration.

A low price tag upfront usually means bare-bones web design to get your site up and collect the paycheck. They may not be concerned with whether it ranks well in searches or functions properly on both computers and smartphones. If you want your website to perform well, plan to pay more.

Logistics of Longitude

A section of green codeSo let’s say you find a great team of web developers in India to work with. They boast an impressive portfolio and they have the talent to deliver what you expect—it’s time to start working with them.

What time should you schedule a kickoff call? Will you be available during nighttime hours if they need help with something? Can you trust their judgment if they can’t reach you?

With a 10-hour time difference complicating your ability to communicate with them, you will have to feel confident in the choices they make on their own if the project is to move forward at all.

Otherwise, every decision has to wait until tomorrow morning.

This also means that when you are finishing up the day, they’re just starting, and vice versa. Who really wants to have an hour-long conference call just before they leave work?

The Culture Barrier

Consider the challenges of working with any developer. They value different things, they have a different schedule, and they may not understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. Now throw in a night-and-day time difference and a language barrier to the equation.

Most likely, you don’t really know what you’re doing, and you hope they’ll be able to bridge the gap between what you want and what they know. Will you be able to say what you mean and know they understand it? Are their standards consistent with yours? And what about code differences? Will you be able to make changes to their code down the road?

India is home to more than a billion people. There are a lot of developers there, and the majority of the world’s outsourced code comes from them. Some critics of Indian code, like Shekhar Gulati, say that “In India, anybody can become a software developer whatever his/her qualification is.”

Because there are so many development mills and coders working in the same ecosystem, they develop their own standards that can clash with code in other countries. Sometimes, this is just to save time and keep costs low, leading to code that is copied, clunky, or overly complex.

These errors will lead to expensive fixes later on. You will have to bring someone in to detect the problem and make changes to the code, sometimes requiring major overhauls to the entire framework.

Economical Differences

Most of India’s population lives at or below the poverty line, subsisting on an average of $3.50 a day. As one Redditor says, “Bright young minds that would enter the humanities or other fields in America go to IT, because the choice is IT or extreme poverty (which Americans can’t even imagine).” While programming is taught in India’s schools, it doesn’t always lead to competency.

This can complicate your project. In a sea of web developers vying for your business, it can be hard to find out who really knows what they’re doing.

Programmers who charge more, such as those in the U.S., tend to be more passionate about their projects. They take extra time to plan a strategy and stay late to fix problems. Compare that against a programmer who has to finish as many projects as possible just to put food on the table.

While this doesn’t make it impossible to build a good website using web developers in India, it may take more time and effort than the initial price tag suggests. You should consider that when planning your website.

Some Prices Don’t Change. Period.

When you need a website, you expect to get a few things no matter what, such as domain hosting, security, and a content management system (a la WordPress). These are features that don’t change much depending on the hourly rate of your contractor, so if you see a website design package for less than $1,000, it doesn’t always mean a better deal.

Finding a domain and starting your own website starts at under $20 a month, and services like WordPress and Google Sites make it easy to purchase a domain and link it to whatever you want to create. While customization costs more time and money, many small businesses find they can get about 90% of everything they need with a free platform.

Things Web Developers Can’t Do

Then there’s keeping your website relevant. Google and other search engines are hungry beasts that need daily feeding. If you want customers to be able to find you easily, you need to consider your monthly content costs, such as blogs, newsletters, email campaigns, and paid ads.

Should you hire discount content writers? Only if you don’t care about your search rankings.

Time spent on your website is measured by search engines. If your site’s visitors have a pattern of leaving your page shortly after arriving, it will be noted and hurt your rankings due to having a high “bounce rate.” Poorly written content is a huge driver of the bounce rate.

The better idea is to write useful, readable content yourself or hire a skilled team to do it for you.

There Are No Shortcuts to SEO

A man plugging cables into a modemPeople in the U.S. have different search trends than people in India, so SEO trends will also be different. If you want your site to show up in search results, you will need to research local trends and work within those guidelines.

This means optimizing for specific, niche keywords that are unique to your own culture, and it has little to do with proper grammar and syntax. Long-tail keywords, for example, drive more than half of Amazon’s sales. These are search terms like, “how to cook a steak medium rare in a convection oven.”

They aren’t always logical or even sensible, but optimizing in that way yields high traffic and helps your website gain more credibility.

Working with a team of SEO experts can be expensive. In fact, SEO is one of the highest running costs for businesses today, but the rewards are worth it. You should plan to work with a knowledgeable SEO team, rather than find the cheapest possible solution for it.

Final Thoughts

Your website is your business card. It’s not optional, and customers will make judgments about your company just by looking at it. There are ways to spruce it up and make it work just the way you want without breaking the bank.

For custom graphics, page layouts, and sitemaps, you may be able to work with a more affordable team in India. For other things, it’s worth the extra money to find a competent team of experts and do it right.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Odds are you know someone who can answer them, and if you don’t, post an ad on Fiverr or Upwork to pay someone for their helpful information. Research which Indian teams deliver results, and be ready for the complications that can arise when working with teams overseas.

If you’re ready to start your next web development project
Click here to set up a free 15-minute consultation.

About David Barlev

David is the Co-founder and CEO of Goji Labs. David loves working closely with passionate founders to understand their vision and help them build beautiful applications while focusing on risk-mitigation. As an author, he focuses on informative and educational blogs that enable our clients to make the most of their businesses.

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