Bespoke Web Design For Small Businesses
Professional web design adds value that simple site packages can’t provide. Advanced features and bespoke user experiences boost sales and competitiveness, leading to faster growth. These are goal-focused solutions, not just websites.
Why Professional Website Design?
Common professional web design requirements include:
- Bespoke Web Design — you need memorable branding and premium design services to help your company stand out
- WordPress development — the flexibility of WordPress makes it ideal for a wide range of projects, including advanced ecommerce, membership sites and more
- Bespoke web development — some projects need coding from the ground up
These are all too variable to list as simple packages. So they will need detailed discussion before a realistic estimate can be provided. Why?
Well, there may be several solutions, ranging from those using existing components and frameworks, to those that must be designed and built from scratch. Your goals and circumstances will affect which of these will be most suitable.
Pricing & Planning Professional Websites
Business websites are critical marketing vehicles competing in a constant off-road race for sales. Your leading competitors invest heavily in the design, build and maintenance of theirs. So likewise, you need to invest in the best solutions you can afford.
Of course, it’s risky to do that without adequate discussion. So to reduce that risk, I offer a free initial consultation. At that point, if your requirements seem likely to be met by one of my simple site packages, that’s what I’ll suggest.
Otherwise, that free consultation is followed by an optional paid Discovery phase (recommended for projects over £3k). That lets us assess the details of the project in depth, to work out a realistic solution, estimate and schedule.
If you then decide to go ahead, the cost of the Discovery phase then reduces the estimate for completing the project. It’s like engaging an architect before committing to building a house. Still, even though it makes sense, few web designers offer this risk-reducing strategy.
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:
Bespoke Web Design
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. Actually, most designers will claim it means everything, but we’ll come back to that…
First, what is the visitor looking for? Signs that they could get to know, like and trust you — because that’s who people buy from. So bespoke web design puts your target audience first.
Still, there’s more far to that than pretty pictures.
Your audience uses a wide variety of devices. So professionally built website layouts are “responsive” — they adapt to look good on varying screen sizes. This is so vital that even prebuilt templates usually do it. Still, some web designers are more used to print design and still sell sites that fail at this. So it’s worth noting that professional web design really delivers several layouts, rather than just one.
Your visitors have to find your website before visual design matters at all. Many visual designers will don’t do much with SEO. They may build in some basic SEO features, but you’ll still need specialist SEO help to fix what they’ve left out. They may even build use systems that hobble SEO efforts from the start.
Then we have CRO, or Conversion Rate Optimisation. That means designing to maximise the conversion of visitors into buyers. Whilst visuals do matter a lot here, so do things like usability, site structure and content planning. It’s possible to build very pretty sites that don’t convert well. Like SEO, CRO involves elements of ongoing optimisation through analysing stats and trial-and-error. So designers who don’t offer ongoing support often overlook this.
So whilst there is a lot involved — and a lot of value — in getting visual branding right, there’s even more involved in making it work.
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. — Ian A. Web Design:
What Is Website Development?
Already Got A Website?
Can I provide these services on your existing site? Usually, yes — if you can provide adequate access. Sometimes existing site code limits what can be done, though. So we’d need to discuss that in detail.
Even web professionals argue about how web development differs from web design, as there’s a lot of crossover. Still, web page layout code isn’t programming code (which involves complex calculations and decision-making logic). So here, web development means web programming.
Many web designers focus on layout, and don’t like programming. Conversely, web developers are often criticised for lacking basic design skills. Some of us can do both — but that takes at least twice as long to learn.
In any case, web development used to mostly mean programming web servers and databases, or the “back end” of websites — and sometimes still does. Running programs in the visitor’s browser (or “front end”) just wasn’t as practical as it has since become. So many web applications are now a mix of both front-end and back-end web development.
Still, these days, despite the huge variety of web applications that web developers build, a lot of web development revolves around managing website content, and one application in particular — WordPress.
WordPress is by far the most popular Content Management System (CMS), powering over 30% of websites and almost 60% of all CMS sites. That’s because it’s extremely user friendly and flexible. Thousands of plugins let WordPress (WP) manage ecommerce, book appointments, run online communities and more.
Still, contrary to what some WordPress developers will tell you, other CMS platforms like Joomla, Drupal, CMSMadeSimple and OctoberCMS have their uses — as can fully bespoke coding. So you need unbiased advice, but won’t get that from a specialist WordPress developer — or anyone who specialises in a single platform. That’s why I keep exploring options.
Even so, having used several alternatives and coded some from scratch. WordPress development is simply too flexible to rule out without good reason. So I have used it to build many cost-effective, editable, professional websites since 2004.
There is a WordPress plugin for every common need — even advanced ecommerce and membership sites. Even if you don’t like something about the interface, professional WordPress development can fix that, too.
WordPress developers who code (not all do) can also write bespoke plugins to provide features that existing plugins don’t. We can also dig into the code when that’s needed for troubleshooting, or to optimise the site for speed and SEO. So it’s worth checking that your WordPress developer is a programmer.
This is the strength of open-source software — it lets programmers adapt the code. It’s worth clarifying that many website platforms don’t. Some won’t even let you transfer your site elsewhere if you outgrow them. Many small businesses never see that coming.
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. Ecommerce Website Design:
Bespoke Website Development
Sometimes, even the flexibility of WordPress and other CMS systems isn’t enough. Some web applications don’t even need a CMS. They may be quite basic websites that just need some form of advanced, custom programming to enable complex behaviour or to integrate with external systems.
For example, Festival Medical Services needed a bespoke team-management system. That had to handle variable rotas for hundreds of volunteers in multiple teams at major events across the UK. Existing platforms couldn’t do that. So I wrote it from scratch — with a secure, networked triage system for first-responders to use in the field.
To be clear — such systems involve a lot of complex work. Frameworks and component libraries now make this far easier than it was a few years ago, but full web application builds tend to be five- to six-figure projects. Anything larger really needs an agency.
The complexity (and cost) of website development projects often surprises small businesses. So to explain — it’s largely because computers are stupid. They need to be told, in the tiniest steps, how to process valid user requests –- but also how to handle invalid ones. Almost no-one reads instructions, so making things seem easy is actually very difficult. Design and programming both play a part -– and as noted above, few designers are also developers.
Still, specialist web developers will always sell you bespoke web development. So the only way to be sure that your requirements do go beyond what existing systems can handle is to ask someone who can do bespoke website development, but who also offers WordPress development, other existing systems, and simple sites.
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. — Emma C. Bespoke Web Development:
Why Trust Netcentrics.co.uk?
If anyone else does all this, I haven’t met them in over twenty years in this field. Those who could focus on the largest, most lucrative projects they can. That’s far easier from a business perspective. So they just won’t mention options they don’t offer, even if those would be more cost-effective.
Still, my aim has always been to help small businesses with a broad skillset and flexible solutions. Otherwise, you’ll never get the unbiased, experienced professional web design and web development advice that your business website project needs.
Why do I care so much? Not sure — upbringing, I guess — but I do. That’s why I helped to set up Which? Online (the Consumers’ Association ISP) many years ago, then ran and mentored their multiple-award-winning tech team.
Apparently, most techies find it hard to translate tech-speak into plain English too. You tell me the level you’re comfortable at, and I’ll match it. It’s my job to make digital marketing solutions usable, not confusing.
So What’s Holding You Back?
Still planning your project? Think it’s too soon to discuss it with a web designer or web developer? Actually, that’s precisely when you need the kind of advice I can provide!
Businesses often plan sub-optimal solutions without informed, unbiased advice. Many turn to network contacts who don’t have the same breadth of relevant experience. That matters, because solutions that suited them may not work at all for you.
So, did I mention the free initial consultation?
In any case, you read this far for a reason. So thanks for that. Still, success belongs to those who take action. We all forget most of what we read within a day, and plans delayed much longer than that often get derailed completely.
So even if you still have reservations, contact me today. Then at least you’ll have taken the first step to online success, and you’ll have an experienced guide as you take the next ones.