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 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.
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:
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.
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.
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. So professional web design really delivers several layouts, not just one. Sadly, some web designers (often those from print design backgrounds) still sell sites that fail at this.
Also, visitors have to find your website before visual design matters at all. Again, many visual designers and web developers cut corners on SEO. They may add some SEO features, but you’ll need specialist SEO help to fix what they’ve left out. Some even build 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 good visuals matter, so do things like usability, site structure and content planning. Some very pretty sites don’t convert well at all.
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?
There’s a lot of crossover between web design and web development, as they both involve code. Still, layout code isn’t programming code — which involves complex decision-making logic.
Many web designers focus on layout, and don’t like programming. Likewise, web developers often lack visual design skills. These are quite different skillsets — like being able to play piano and build cars. So here, web development means web programming.
Web development used to focus on programming servers — the “back end” — of websites. That’s because it wasn’t very practical to run programs in the visitor’s browser (aka “front end”). These days, it is. So many web applications are now a mix of both front-end and back-end web development. Still, doing both still involves learning several languages.
Despite the huge variety of web applications that web developers build though, a lot of web development involves managing website content. These days, WordPress dominates that field.
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.
Other CMS platforms like Joomla, Drupal, CMSMadeSimple and OctoberCMS also have their uses — and some projects still need fully bespoke coding. However, having used several alternatives and coded some from scratch, WordPress development has proven too flexible to rule out without good reason. So I’ve been using it to build cost-effective, editable, professional websites since 2004.
There is a WordPress plugin for every common need — including advanced ecommerce and membership sites. Some visual designers even call configuring plugins “WordPress development”. So it’s worth checking that your WordPress developer is a programmer.
WordPress developers who do code can write bespoke plugins to do more than existing plugins. We can also dig into the code when that’s needed for troubleshooting, or to optimise the site for speed and SEO.
It’s worth noting that many other website platforms don’t let programmers adapt the code. Some won’t even let you transfer your site elsewhere if you outgrow them.
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. Web Design:
Bespoke Website Development
Sometimes, even WordPress isn’t enough. Besides, some web applications don’t even need a CMS — just some custom programming to enable complex behaviour or to integrate with external systems.
For example, Festival Medical Services needed a bespoke team management system. That handled 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.
Bespoke web development does involve a lot of complex work, though. Modern programming frameworks have simplified this, but full web application builds still take months, not days. That’s why it’s often worth considering WordPress development first.
Still not sure if you need WordPress development or bespoke web development? Only someone who offers both can give you unbiased advice on which you need. So that’s what I do.
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:
Do You Need Professional Website Design Or Web Development?
Don’t wait until you’ve planned everything before getting in touch. It’s almost impossible to do that well unless you already have all the design and programming skills you’d need to build it yourself.
Even copying others might not help, because every business is different. Solutions that suited others may not work at all for you.
So in this field, there’s really no substitute for a free initial consultation.