How Does Web Design & Development Work?

We’ve delved deep into the different elements that turn a website from a catalogue to a tool which aids you business, but for those of you who are at the starting gate, we thought it made sense to explain the Web Design and Development process so you know what to expect when you go looking for your digital partner.

Professional agencies and designers will have a set process when creating your website. Depending on the size of the project, these stages will usually include:

  • The Web Design Phase

An initial meeting to discuss the needs and requirements of your new website is essential. Your agency or designer should use this phase to find out what kind of website you need (eCommerce/Catalogue etc) and what your design preferences are. 

From here, you’ll either be given a mock-up of the website as an example, or for larger projects, you’ll be given a skeleton view of the website known as a “Wireframe”. This allows you to get a visual representation of the website to make informed decisions on it’s style and functionality.

  • The Web Development Phase

Once the design has been finalised, the developer will begin to build your website to your specifications. Pretty much every agency will create you a website with a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress, this will allow you to manage and amend your website without any further need for a developer.

  • The Optimisation Stage

Once your website is complete it has to be checked for errors and optimisation opportunities. It’s also extremely important for your website to be dynamic, meaning it works seamlessly on any device from mobiles to desktops and anything in between. This phase includes basic Search Engine Optimisation to ensure your site can be found by search engines and more importantly, your content is indexed so it appears on SERP (Search Engine Results Pages).

What Is Bespoke Web Design?

As the name suggests, a Bespoke website will usually be completely custom. A lot of website’s are made from a template, if that be a template purchased from a third party website or one created by the developer/agency to speed up their delivery. A bespoke website will either be created fully from scratch using pure code, or a custom template will be created from scratch if you’re using a CMS which is then built upon.

A fully bespoke website (one not using a CMS) is usually an unnecessary and expensive option. CMS’s have been created specifically to help the average person manage their website. Without a CMS, any small edits to the website would have to be actioned by a developer which is usually charged at a minimum of an hour. 

There are situations where a completely bespoke website is the better option, but these are usually reserved for extremely large and complex websites that require a lot of custom tools and software.

What are the Benefits of Web Design?

Even if you already have a website, there are many benefits to ensuring it meets modern standards. The way people use the internet is constantly changing, which includes how they browse a website. If your website doesn’t conform to the basic requirements of a modern site, you will almost certainly be losing potential customers.

Much more than a catalogue of your company, your website should be one of the main tools in your arsenal to promote, grow and sustain your business. If you have an engaging website with informative content you’ll certainly start to rank in Search Engines, but if your website’s navigation is confusing and the information a custom needs isn’t easily accessible, your potential customers will no doubt leave before they find the benefits you offer.

A strong website is an essential part of any modern business. This is essentially the face of your business, and first impressions matter.

How to Choose the Best Web Design Company

To ensure you get everything you need out of your new website, you have to be certain the developer or agency you choose understands exactly what you’re trying to achieve. To make sure they’re giving you everything you require, you should consider the following questions:

  • Have they created websites in your industry before?

The functionality of a website is usually determined by the industry you work in. Each business sector has unique elements and shared components. Has your agency worked within your industry before? Do they understand the needs of your sector?

  • How do they charge for their services?

Each agency will charge for their work in their own way. Sometimes it will be a single fee, but more often than not the design and development process will be split into sections. Once each section is approved, an invoice will be raised and the section will be completed before repeating the process until the website is exactly as you require it to be. Freelancers will usually charge an hourly fee which can get quite expensive if a lot of bespoke features are required.

  • What ongoing maintenance is provided?

How quickly can your agency or developer respond to issues and queries? Is ongoing maintenance provided as part of the cost or is it an additional fee? Finding out exactly what you’re paying for is of the utmost importance so you have a clear understanding of what to expect once the development is complete.

  • What other services (if any) are offered in the quotation?

When you request your quote you can include other services that may not come as standard. For example, SEO is almost as important as the website itself. You can have the best content around but if a Search Engine can’t find it, it may as well not exist. Find out if your quote includes at least basic Technical SEO. If not, how much would it cost?

  • Do I have an account manager?

It’s important to know who your point of contact will be, and how readily available they are to you. Most agencies will assign you an Account Manager so you have a single point of contact. If working with a freelancer, it’s important to know their availability in case the need arises.

  • What other websites have they created?

It’s always a good idea to check a potential developer’s portfolio to get a better understanding of their skillset and eye for design. Any agency or freelancer worth their salt will have a selection of their creations to showcase to potential clients.

How Much Does Web Design Cost?

This is one of those chicken and egg questions since it entirely depends on what you need your website for. A standard brochure website for example will cost significantly less than a full eCommerce website, and an eCommerce website with 10,000 products would cost significantly more than one with a handful. 

With Web Design & Development you essentially pay for the time it takes to create the website. If you have a lot of complicated requirements or bespoke needs, it will undoubtedly increase the overall cost.

With so many elements involved in costing a website build, the only real way to know is to get your requirements evaluated by professionals and compare the quotes. Please be aware though, usually if you pay for a cheap website the results are reflected in the quality.