Custom web development is awesome, mostly because you can make exactly what you need – vs implementing something into your website that might be close to fulfilling the need, but not quite exactly what it needs to be.
But, custom web development might not always be feasible. Either due to time, budget or skill constraints. There are ways to get there, though, without diving in too deep right away.
We see this often in websites we develop. There is a desire to use custom web development to fulfill goals, but there are also usually budget requirements or timeline requirements that force us to look into less costly options to fulfill those goals. The less costly options tend to be something that is already made, such as a plugins, modules or other types of software, that can be implemented in much less time than creating something from scratch.
For this reason, when budget or time restraints come into play, we like to approach website features like this:
Is there a 3rd party module or plugin available that can get us close to our goals? Does the cost of the module greatly offset time saved in custom development?
If yes, it’s likely worth it to use the 3rd party software first. If the feature then performs well and starts to reach it’s goals, it will likely be helping to generate income. When you know the feature is performing well and helping with the overall cause – that’s a good time to look at creating a more customized option. The reasoning being that you know you have a mission critical feature and you likely still have ways that you can make it work better, but you need to put more time into web development to make it happen.
Now you know it’s worth the time, effort and cost to get it done.