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Bespoke Web Design

Small busi­nesses often ask for bespoke web design. Some know exactly why they need it, but others aren’t quite so sure. Still others see it as a waste of money. So does bespoke web design really help? Is it really essential?

Well, yes — and sometimes.

How Bespoke Web Design Boosts Business

So what can bespoke web design do for you? Well, as any web designer will tell you, first impres­sions matter. Visitors assess your website almost instantly, and visual design con­tributes a lot to that.

Still, there’s far more to it than pretty pic­tures. There’s a stronger business point to be made.

Selling online ulti­mately depends on two things — traffic (i.e. site vis­itors), and con­version rates. Traffic can either be bought (e.g. paid ads), or earned (e.g. search engines). Conversion rates are the per­centages of visits that lead to pur­chases or whatever other actions you’re trying to promote. Basically:

Sales = Traffic x Conversion Rate

So, just as search engine optim­isation (SEO) boosts low-cost, earned traffic, con­version rate optim­iz­ation (CRO) boosts con­version rates. Trust and audience tar­geting are critical to CRO, and good design helps with both of those. That, in turn, can make any invest­ments into getting traffic that much more cost-effective.

For instance, paid ads can easily cost around £1 per visitor. Often, less than 3% of those are ready to buy, and less than 1% actually will. So with that con­version rate of 1%, each sale could cost you £100 in paid ads. Just doubling that con­version rate through good design could halve that cost per sale.

The more pre­cisely your site design matches your target market, the better your con­version rates will tend to be. There’s a limit to how effect­ively tem­plates can do that, even if they look good. In a highly com­pet­itive world, that dif­ference can be business-critical.

So firms like Apple don’t spend mil­lions on bespoke design because they have money to waste. It makes them money. They know it’s a sound investment.

Amazing, pro­fes­sional service and speedy com­mu­nic­a­tions. Very impressed and highly recom­mended. — Barbara H. Web Design: (5/5)

Common Misconceptions About Bespoke Web Design

Still, many people think web design is some­thing that it isn’t. So before we go any further, let’s clear up a few common misconceptions:

  • Design isn’t just about making things pretty and freedom of expression. That’s art. Design iden­tifies con­straints and makes things work within them. So it’s also about making sure your site layout and structure is user-friendly.
  • Web design isn’t just about building web­sites. That’s like assuming a brick­layer is an architect. Both are valuable skills, but they aren’t the same. Similarly, cus­tom­ising pre-built site tem­plates really isn’t bespoke web design, despite what some website builders claim.
  • Websites aren’t printed pages. They are sets of inter­active content that adapt to the devices vis­itors use to view them. So good web design is responsive web design, changing to fit various sizes and ori­ent­a­tions of smart­phone, tablet or desktop screens. So pro­fes­sional bespoke web design really delivers several layouts, not just one. Sadly, even now, some designers (mostly those with print back­grounds) still overlook this.
  • Effective design focuses on serving the end user, not just the site owner. As a site owner, achieving your goals depends on helping vis­itors achieve theirs. Forgetting that and focusing on per­sonal pref­er­ences is often how DIY designs fail. Web designers see lots of data on how website vis­itors really behave, and it’s often unex­pected. So part of our job is to act as user advocates.

So with that said, how does the bespoke web design process work?

Excellent and pro­fes­sional work from beginning to end. Pete was open to ideas and able to make sug­ges­tions on how to develop my site. — Lisa P. Web Design: (5/5)

The Bespoke Web Design Process

Bespoke web design pro­cesses can vary a bit depending on the size and nature of pro­jects, espe­cially for web applic­a­tions that require bespoke pro­gramming (as opposed to just layout coding). Generally though, here’s how I approach bespoke web design projects:

1.   Getting To Know You

We start with a free initial dis­cussion to outline your goals, assess the project scope and make sure we’re a good fit. That leads to an initial rough estimate, though con­firming that usually requires a lot more detail — which is what the next phase is about. Still, estimates mean little until you know what achieving your goals would be worth. Startups are often unsure about that, so I can help you work that out too, if needed.

2.   Discovery

Discovery is a deep dive into key details like your target audience, products and ser­vices and so on. This can take a lot of time, espe­cially for complex pro­jects, but it helps to refine the initial estimate. Sometimes it turns up new oppor­tun­ities — and some­times unex­pected pit­falls or extra costs. Either way, it’s better to know these before com­mitting to the whole project. So I gen­erally recommend treating Discovery as a sep­arate, pre-paid project that pre­cedes the main one.

3.   Planning

Once you give the main project the go-ahead with an initial deposit, we can start planning it in detail. For larger pro­jects, that may include cre­ating simple dia­grams of site structure (aka “sitemaps”) and page layouts (aka “wire­frames”). This depends on what’s needed to have a clear dis­cussion about what content and fea­tures each page will require.

4.   Content

Ideally, as the expert on your business, you’ll already have created the content, or can create it quickly after the planning stage. Writing for the web isn’t like writing normal business com­mu­nic­a­tions though, so I can offer guidance on this if needed. Alternatively, if you can provide a clear, detailed brief, I can get content created for you.

A note on rebuilds: if you have an existing website with existing content, a content audit will still be wise. Pushing out­dated content into a new design rarely helps much, and if we’re changing plat­forms, URLs (page addresses) may need to change. It’s important to do that the right way, as the wrong (simpler) way can destroy any past search engine rankings you’ve built up.

5.   Design & Build

Larger pro­jects often split this stage into two phases, starting with design mockups for key pages and pos­sibly inter­active pro­to­types where rel­evant. That lets us review and mod­ified the designs, before we start building. For smaller pro­jects though, it’s now more cost-effective to use flexible design frame­works and “build in the browser”. Doing that on a private “staging” site lets you log in to see how the designs really work on your own com­puter, tablet and phone.

6.   Training

Business web­sites aren’t static, fire-and-forget pro­jects. They need tech­nical updates occa­sionally (which I nor­mally provide along with hosting), as well as content updates. So most sites now include a Content Management System or “CMS” (usually WordPress), to let site owners do the content updates without having to pay for more coding. That often requires some training, which I can provide. If you prefer to send updates to me, that’s fine too, but will be bil­lable. Still, the web changes so often that a support plan gen­erally helps either way.

7.   Launch & Support

Once you’re happy to launch your website, we’ll make it public and inform the major search engines. We’ll also add things like ana­lytics, which don’t really apply until your site is live, and have a chat about how to use them to keep your online business growing. I gen­erally offer 30 days of free support to deal with any teething troubles, after which any further support will be bil­lable (at lower rates on a support plan).

Conclusion

Whilst tem­plated designs can be passable if your fin­ances are stretched, bespoke web design can increase sales and reduce mar­keting costs. It doesn’t really do that just by looking pretty, but by appealing more pre­cisely to your target audience. 

5.0 from 23 reviews
Ratings and reviews
  • 5.0 from 23 reviews
  • 16-06-2021

    Abid Hussain

    Amazing service. Professional and out­standing company to deal with. Pete has great under­standing with online require­ments and core issue’s. Spent hours on the tele­phone explaining and working on the website to bring it up-to-date. Noting but grat­itude and respect to Netcentric. Highly recommend to any one through my exper­ience they have gone above and beyond.

  • 15-05-2021

    SakineO‑1

    Pete is the most pro­fes­sional and know­ledgeable web developer I have exper­i­enced since 2016 as I have had many since. You won’t regret. I highly recommend him.

  • 15-05-2021

    Songul Yucel

    Pete is a pro­fes­sional and very helpful. I needed an online booking system for my driving school. He com­pleted the job as promised. He is very easy to work with. I can t be any happier. I will in touch again if I need help in the future. Thank you Pete!! It has been pleasure working with you !

  • 05-10-2020

    Paul Mercer

  • 26-08-2020

    Susan Baynham-Evans

    Peter expertise is exactly what I needed . When I have ideas Pete makes them work. I could not run my website without him

  • 09-07-2020

    Emma Cunliffe

    Can’t recommend him highly enough. He was extremely pro­fes­sional, laid out exactly what we needed to do and his role within that, setting expect­a­tions all round very clearly, and working within our budgetary con­straints to set clear bound­aries. He was extremely prompt and punctual in his responses and work. He was also extremely patient with his recom­mend­a­tions and explan­a­tions, which were clear and simple to follow. Excellent value for us as a charity. We’re very grateful to him — he was a real pleasure to work with.

  • 05-06-2020

    Graham Smith

    know­ledgeable and pro­fes­sional service designing and building a website for a local SME business.

  • 05-06-2020

    JWComp Sol

    Netcentrics designed, imple­mented and have main­tained our company website for many years.If you want a secure and reliable website I strongly recommend Netcentrics.

  • 05-06-2020

    Barbara Harris

    Amazing, pro­fes­sional service and speedy com­mu­nic­a­tions. Very impressed and highly recommended.

  • 05-06-2020

    Ali van Dam

    First rate! Knowledgeable, pro­fes­sional and cre­ative. I would abso­lutely use Netcentrics again for future projects.

  • 05-06-2020

    Keary Birch

    Very helpful staff who really under­stood the problem and dealt with it.

  • 21-12-2019

    Alison van Dam

    I can’t say enough good things about Netcentrics.co.uk —  thorough, know­ledgeable, ded­icated and innov­ative. Highly recommended. 

  • 05-12-2019

    Helen Rich

    Very pleased with my new e‑commerce site from Netcentrics. Very pro­fes­sional, know­ledgeable, and highly recommended.

  • 05-06-2019

    Mark Davies

    I have been using Netcentrics’ SEO service and they have impress­ively managed to get over 250 of my keywords onto the first page of the search results. A very friendly and thor­oughly pro­fes­sional service. Highly recommended.

  • 05-06-2018

    andrew cocchiara

    Many thank’s Pete for all your advice and expertise over the years. A first class pro­fes­sional service and excellent value for money.

  • 15-03-2018

    Tim D

    Just saw that my site is now in 2nd place on the first page of Google. I’m not sure what you have done, nor do I under­stand it, but it worked! Many thanks!

  • 24-02-2018

    Paul G

    It is a pleasure dealing with a pro­fes­sional with a high degree of tech­nical skill allied to a ‘can do’ pos­itive attitude. Your ability to explain tech­nical con­cepts in layman’s lan­guage is also a great advantage. I would have no hes­it­ation in recom­mending your services.

  • 03-01-2018

    Lisa

    Excellent and pro­fes­sional work from beginning to end. Pete was open to ideas and able to make sug­ges­tions on how to develop my site.

  • 05-06-2017

    Ian A

    Fast, friendly, effi­cient service that exceeded the spec and made a com­plicated job hassle free for me. Five stars, would highly recommend and would happily employ again for all things web and internet based.

  • 05-06-2017

    Mo Rich

    A flour­ishing web designer, who is thorough and metic­ulous in everything he does. Will create a great looking unique and pro­fes­sional website par­ticular to your needs.

  • 14-09-2016

    Ian A

    Pete is one of the most cre­ative, reliable, com­petent and ingenious people it has ever been my very great pleasure to work with. There is no problem he can’t find an ingenious and unex­pected way out of, and he has a work ethic you could bend horse­shoes around. I cannot recommend him highly enough for his breadth and depth of know­ledge and his total com­mitment to whichever project he is cur­rently undertaking.

  • 31-05-2015

    Jayne H

    DogLost is the UK’s largest com­munity of pet owners and res­cuers. Other developers have struggled to meet our needs, but since Peter rebuilt our site and support systems we have gone from strength to strength, winning major awards including the 2013 Innovation Award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare. We couldn’t have done that without him.

  • 19-11-2013

    Codyspetdeli

    Cody’s Pet Deli is an online business that sells pet food & accessories. Approaching Pete to set up a new website was the best move I have made. We wanted a system that was easy to nav­igate and look good when cus­tomers shop online.Pete made the whole process simple and dealing with him was a great pleasure. He can’t do enough to help and solve any problem that may arise. I would highly recommend Pete for his exper­ience and know­ledge and total ded­ic­ation to see the project through to final conclusion.Steve H.

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