5 Things You Need To Watch Out For When Hiring a No-Code Agency
When choosing a no-code agency to partner with, we recommend looking out for these five factors:
- Actual full-code experience
- A successful track record of launching go-to-market strategies
- A vast portfolio of case studies
- Expertise in a specific no-code platform
- Continuous development, maintenance, and support
This checklist will allow you to do two things: 1. Overcome the limitations of no-code by partnering with an agency that can actually code and 2. Launch a successful go-to market strategy so you can bring in customers relatively quickly and ask for their feedback.
We obviously built Belighted around this criteria. We’ve been launching full-code software products since 2008 and recently switched to a more hybrid approach (no-code + full code) due to no-code’s cost savings and quicker development times.
So, for example, if you want to build an application with features that no-code might not support, we can simply code our own plugins and APIs. You’re basically enjoying the benefits of no-code (lower costs and faster development times) with none of the drawbacks (scalability problems and platform dependence).
Below, we wanted to dive deeper into the specific factors to watch out for when hiring a no-code agency, regardless of whether you decide to hire us or another no-code agency. We hope this is a nice contrast to the other surface-level “guides” telling you to “understand your needs” and “do your research.”
Note: We’re Belighted, a software development agency that uses a hybrid no-code + full code development approach. If you'd like to check the potential of your software product, book a 20-minute call with our founder. We’ll build an affordable MVP within four weeks, gather user feedback, and decide if there’s demand for your product.
1. Actual full-code experience
A major problem we're seeing in the no-code space is agencies that can't code, i.e. citizen developers. These agencies are proficient in no-code tools like Bubble, but they can't code plugins and APIs to overcome the limitations that no-code platforms have.
This ultimately limits the development of your software product, which is why the first factor you should look out for is if an agency can actually code.
Even though they won't be coding every day, it's still important to know how to code because it allows developers to do things like connect to external APIs for added functionality and code plugins that Bubble might not offer.
This way, you're taking advantage of the benefits of no-code while overcoming its limitations.
For example, we recently built an application for The Enneagram Institute called “My Personality.” This app allowed the institute to generate detailed reports about a coachee’s personality traits.
However, we couldn’t find a reporting feature inside Bubble that matched the very specific needs of our client, so we decided to build one from scratch.
2. A successful track record of launching go-to-market strategies
In our experience, most startups fail because they can’t get enough people to buy their product.
This is why you don't want a no-code agency to build your software product, launch it, and leave you alone, hoping you can generate sales. You want a no-code agency to build a go-to-market strategy and execute that strategy so you can bring in sales, learn what customers think about your product, and improve.
This is why at Belighted, we'll pass you on to our team at SaaSpirin once we've built and launched your product. Our SaaSpirin team uses a unique, bottom-of-the-funnel first SEO strategy to generate quick sales so that you can keep the lights on and learn what customers think about your product.
Here's a high-level overview of our strategy: We'll target bottom-of-the-funnel search terms related to your product, i.e. search terms that people Google when they are ready to buy from you. For example, if you're selling construction software, we'll target keywords like: "best construction software for small businesses" and “best construction software for project managers.”
We'll then create content that speaks to your target reader's pain points and shows them how your product can solve their pain points better than the competition.
For example, when we developed a marketing strategy for Dokeos, we ranked number one for several bottom-of-the-funnel keywords and generated sign-ups within a month or two.
From here, Dokeos was able to gather customer feedback and further improve their product.
3. A vast portfolio of case studies
You also want to check a no-code agency's website for software products that they launched in the past.
Get an idea of what types of applications they specialize in building, if the applications are similar to what you're looking to build, and read testimonials about the experience clients had working with this agency.
This gives you insight into how long it took the agency to deliver MVPs, how many changes are typically required, and how quickly the agency responded to feedback.
Side note: It's even better to find a no-code agency with a portfolio of applications launched with full code. This tells you an agency has real coding skills and they didn't start their agency after no-code exploded in popularity just to make a quick buck.
4. Expertise in a specific no-code platform
Just like programming skills are important, you want a no-code agency to specialize in a specific no-code builder. This is because different builders allow you to build different things, and they each have their own strengths and limitations.
So, if you're building marketing attribution software for example, you should consider which no-code builder specializes in that and opt for a no-code agency that's proficient in that no-code builder.
Or, if you want to build a first-shooter game, it's best to go with a no-code platform specializing in developing games like Unity's Playmaker or Construct 3 and partner with an agency that primarily works with these platforms.
This is why we decided to use Bubble when transitioning to no-code. Bubble can build almost anything from marketing software to financial products and two-sided marketplaces.
5. Continuous development, maintenance, and support
Once an agency has launched your software product, they still have to stick around and tailor your product around customer feedback. It’s very rare that customers will have zero complaints when you first launch your product.
So, you want a no-code agency to help gather customer feedback and use this feedback to improve your product. This feedback might involve removing unnecessary features or adding certain ones that customers want.
And with the power of no-code, we can implement customer feedback within hours after you jump off a call with them. We've had clients finish a call with their customers, send us their meeting notes, and before the day was over, we implemented their feedback.
Of course, if customers request features outside the scope of no-code, we can just code a plugin ourselves.
Examples of applications we built using no-code
Here are a few examples of applications we built using our hybrid, no-code + full-code approach:
- The Enneagram Institute's "My Personality"
The Enneagram Institute's "My Personality"
When we built My Personality for The Enneagram Institute, we mainly used Bubble.
In a nutshell, My Personality lets the institute build surveys that coachees would fill out. The app will then generate detailed reports on the coachee’s strengths, weaknesses, and overall personality.
We built the entire front-end using Bubble's drag-and-drop interface, and Bubble's backend capabilities were enough to handle My Personality. In fact, 95 percent of the app was built with Bubble.
However, our client wanted a very specific reporting feature in order to analyze a coachee’s behavior, and Bubble didn't offer it, so we decided to build it ourselves.
When we built a web application for Innpact, a financial services company, we built the entire front-end on Bubble, allowing us to significantly reduce the application's development time and cost.
But we couldn't build the backend on Bubble because governments have very strict regulations for financial services companies to follow, so we built the REST API backend with traditional coding.
The outcome was an application that took advantage of Bubble's cost savings and short development times with none of the limitations since we built out the backend ourselves.
Partner with a no-code agency that has full-code experience
If you want to partner with a no-code agency built around the five criteria mentioned above, consider hopping on a quick, 20-minute call with our founder. During this call, we'll give you a more detailed explanation of our development process, which looks something like this:
- Scoping: After our discovery call, we’ll have a few more calls where we'll ask questions about the product you're looking to build so we can get an idea of what features you want and how you want your interface to look.
- Design: Our developers and designers will turn your product into a mockup. We'll send this mockup over to you and ask for feedback. We'll then tailor the application around your feedback.
- Bubble development: Once we have your green light, our developers will use their Bubble knowledge and programming skills to build an application with all the features you're looking for. During this time, we're still open to any feedback you have.
- Marketing your product: Most no-code agencies stop after launching your product. However, the most important part is marketing your product and bringing in paying customers. This is why we'll pass you on to our team at SaaSpirin, where we'll use a bottom-of-the-funnel SEO approach to capture ready-to-buy searches and show them how your product is better than the competition.
So, if you want to partner with a no-code agency with programming skills that will also help you attract customers, book a quick call here.