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Demystifying custom web design and how to prepare for your project

Posted 29/August/2014 by vicky

What is “custom web design”? Custom web design – this is something you will see on the majority of the web design quotes you receive. But what is custom, what are they referring to? Basically, some web design companies use templates that they then style with your branding and some companies completely design and develop your website from scratch. The latter is the true definition of a custom designed website; where the design is completely designed from scratch based on the client brief and not done with the use of any templates.  It also refers to a site being custom in terms of development, the developer being able to add any complex functionality to the site you require, this is generally something a template site can’t do.

When do you need a custom website developed? When you have a business idea that is “out of the box”.  Maybe you would like to create an online directory website, have a classifieds site where people can buy and sell goods, have an ecommerce website that is completely bespoke – this is when you need a custom website designed.

Explaining the idea/ briefing your web development team. The first trick to ensure the online vision you have for your business is realised successfully is to translate your business idea to not only the web designer but also the web developer.

The more information your web development team has, the more accurately they will be able to portray your business to your audience. A developer needs to understand your business as though they were one of your customers. What is the business all about, what services do you provide or which products do you sell? What type of people will you target your business at and why will your business benefit them? What is the demographic of your audience; may, female, income brackets etc. What happens on the site. If a user of your site creates a profile to sell goods online for example, what information does the profile contain, images, contact details etc. Do they pay for their profile, are payments recurring etc

Imagery. This is one very important factor of your custom web design that you may not have even thought about. There are a few options when it comes to imagery on your website. Either using a professional photographer for your headshots, product shots etc or you can have your web desgner source stock photography images for you. If you plan on having the designer source images for you it's always good to have an idea in mind of the style of imagery you wish to have on your site, professional, modern, fun, corporate etc

Tag Lines, Titles and Content. Yes, this along with imagery seems pretty obvious but it's easy to get caught up in the project management phase with your developer in determining the structure of your site, the functionality and look and feel and you may have left your content for the later stage but its important for your designer to have this early in the design phase so they can provide you with mock ups of your actual content. This really allows you to see what the end result will look like. If you have a custom website designed, it's important that not only for SEO purposes but also for your customers that your copy is executed beuatifully. If you find writing your content is a big hurdle it may well be worth investing in copywriting services.

Payments, Shipping etc. If you are developing a custom website then there is most likely some functionality that requires your users to make payment for your product or service so you can make money from your business! Whether you are selling goods or just a subscritpion you need to research whether you will use Stripe, Paypal or an online payment gateway for taking payments. If you are selling products through an ecommerce website you also need to think about how you will ship your oders; Australia Post, Couriers etc

Going to Market. One of the main things that you need to research is if there is a market for your product or service and if it will provide a solid return on your investment but most importantly you need to establish a strategy for marketing your business long term. A business goes far beyond running a Google adwords campaign or having a great manager to handle all of your organic search marketing, you need to make sure you have a web development company who can help you to develop a long term strategy that yields consistent results.

To wrap up, there is nothing better than having a custom website that does all the work for you, however there is some work to begin the process. Like any goal, with solid planning and some help from professionals you can have a custom website that becomes your best employee, handles your enquiries, provides information and makes you money!

If you would like to brief us on your idea, touch base today.