It seems practically every business has a creative custom web design in place, but in reality, almost the exact opposite is true. As a matter of fact, only about half of today’s small businesses in the United States have a homepage, let alone a fully-functioning website, that’s customized including a development element being part of this essential marketing tool.
This figure seems almost unbelievable, especially when you consider up to 80% of consumers research a business online before heading off to a brick-and-mortar location or making a purchase online. In addition, more than twice as many people will interact with a brand using their mobile device rather than by any other means or methods available to them.
Custom Web Design Defined
Even though the definition may seem obvious at first glance, the design of a custom website is a bit more complicated than simply adding items that are out-of-the-ordinary during the construction process. Think of it this way, simplistic, more traditional websites that follow a typical template design operate mostly the same way with basic pages available such as Home, About Us, Services or Products along with a contact form.
Custom web designers build custom designed websites that offer more to consumers like the inclusion of apps, widgets and gadgets to make the user experience more effective and successful including:
- The institution of the best mobile optimization methods
- Employing better ways to increase web page loading times to decrease bounce rates
- The use of eye-catching CTA (Call To Action) methods to boost conversions and sales
- Inclusion of all the popular and/or appropriate social media links
Also implemented inside the backbone of a custom website design during the all-important building stage, savvy web creators use meta tags and other functions that assist with superior SEO (search engine optimization) results leading to a better online presence overall for their online marketing efforts.
Defining Web Development
On the other hand, web development strategies are a bit similar, but also differ in many alternative ways by definition. In a nutshell, web development refers to tasks associated with developing a website through the use of better hosting tactics that are utilized on the internet. Essentially, web developers will execute what web designers have envisioned.
These include custom web design features along with content development strategies, scripting methods that connect better with users, necessary network security configurations and a “host” of other methods that aren’t available with more traditional or template design methods.
Websites Versus Templates – Terrific or Terrible?
As the old saying goes, “familiarity breeds contempt” and online templates are likely to exemplify this concept. Although there are arguments out there that favor both sides of these presentations, templates are becoming so commonplace they’re often overlooked and seen as too predictable to many of today’s users while they are “surfing the internet.”
When it comes to these cookie-cutter types of layouts when internet users have stumbled across a familiar, template-esque website design, their response is somewhat predictable. It’s highly likely internet viewers will simply swipe left (denied) instead of moving forward.
Second Time Harm
Given the omnipresence of online devices available at our fingertips, the millions of websites and thousands of social media platforms, businesses and brands need to stand out from the rest of the crowd on the world-wide-web.
Think of a time when scrolling through a newsfeed or on a social media site and you notice something you’ve already seen, read or looked at or just seemed familiar to you. How likely are you to click on this item a second time?
Do Stock Options Stop Shopping?
Another problem associated with the use of templates are the stock photos and ordinary images that are almost always used in these mundane presentations. They’ve become so commonplace their familiarity has become synonymous with a somewhat cheesy reputation they’ve rightfully earned over the years.
Although these photographs are professionally snapped, they still appear totally staged and somewhat stale to users who are looking for more authenticity from businesses. Trust is more vital than ever to today’s brands when consumers are literally seeing right through these phony-looking photos.
Crucial Design Components
A professional web design company understands a custom site must contain certain crucial components in order to effectively connect with consumers, especially on a visual level. Nearly 40% of internet users will abandon a website if it doesn’t have an appealing design or layout.
Web designers and developers use a variety of different methods and choices when building websites to engage users including:
- White Space: Doesn’t need to be white as if refers to blank spaces on pages that draw the viewer’s attention to where it should be. It ensures the page doesn’t appear too crowded, helps to provide overall balance and a more upscale tone
- Color: There’s an entire psychology behind how different colors affect how we react, our moods, behaviors and feelings making it an important part of the design process.
- Navigation: One of the most frustrating things users will encounter on a website is poor navigation making a consumer feel lost and not knowing how to proceed other than to simply exit the platform.
- Mobility: As mentioned previously, further statistics share if a website isn’t mobile-friendly nearly half of website visitors will take this as an indication that a business simply doesn’t care about them.
- Typography: The use of readable fonts and text says a great deal about your brand and careful consideration is taken when using different types of typography.
- Usability: Last but certainly not least, usability is perhaps the most important step in the design process.
Very similar to navigation, placement of icons in expected locations like putting a menu bar at the top or side of a page is expected. The use of common symbols and icons like the use of a question mark for a help or FAQ page is also helpful.
The Strength of Support and Rebranding
Along with the importance of mobility and usability, web designers and developers need to be there for their clients. This includes on-going support that doesn’t stop after the design and development process has been completed.
Development is an ongoing activity along with design concepts and digital marketing strategies that often need to be updated over time. There are times businesses need to rebrand in order to stay relevant in today’s ever-evolving marketplace. In the competitive restaurant industry, two excellent examples come to mind including an important redesign in their online presence:
Kentucky Fried Chicken: It wasn’t that long ago this popular pusher of poultry products shortened their lengthy title to KFC only to change it back again. Later the chain would give their franchise founder Colonel Sanders an important facelift in choosing a number of different celebrities to impersonate the frontman in another rebranding strategy to stay relevant.
Round Table Pizza: Competing with a rising number of less expensive choices and more take-and-bake options, this pizzeria reverted away from their outdated association with King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Recognizing the fact their fresh ingredients came with a bigger price tag, they exalted and embraced this status to Round Table Pizza Royalty in their recent rebrand.
Computing Costs and Configuring Timelines
For KFC and RTP, their rebranding strategies came with a price and didn’t happen overnight. In the case of Round Table, their rebirth was tied to their sixtieth anniversary in the pizza market.
Project managers are put into place to ensure the entire process goes smoothly from inception to delivery in redesigning everything from a website to logos and more. Ideally, these pros will really step up to the plate when it comes to:
- Analyzing the competition to effectively gauge the marketplace within the industry
- Discussing and understanding the complexity or simplicity of site requirements
- Making recommendations when and where potential issues might arise
After all of these conditions and considerations have been carefully reviewed, a budget will be put into place and a timeframe put together. This will ensure clients get everything they’re envisioning for their future website whether rebranding, redesigning or starting from scratch.
Portfolio Points to Ponder
When looking at options for this vital internet marketing tool be sure to check out a portfolio of past presentations to ensure they’re not only pleasing to the eye but successful in the marketplace and industry. Feel free to view these examples and decide for yourself:
- Rebranding Thomas James Capitol to Thomas James Homes was tackled more than five years after the initial creation of the site
- Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and for those associated with this industry their website should reflect this fact as seen in the gorgeous Method body design
- Lake City Bank exemplifies trust in a clean, crisp and professional presentation
- North Lake Tahoe Tourism’s stunning shorelines are prominently featured in this picturesque presentation
- Although it’s a shameless plug for our sister site, for SMB (small-to-medium sized businesses) Inn8ly delivers affordable web options for the price of a monthly smartphone contract
When your business needs this type of professional website design and development services for any or all of these important strategies, please contact us today. It’s right there in our name since Red8 Interactive will ensure we’ll be right there with you to deliver a functional and beautiful site to successfully connect with past, current and future customers.
Author: James Hipkin
CEO, Managing Director
James brings over 30 years of professional sales, marketing, and marketing consultation services to the table. Serving global brands along with small businesses, Hipkin leads a highly-skilled team of full-time developers, producers and project managers who are committed to your success.
An excellent communicator and inventive problem-solver, his creative vision and bottom-line sensibility have proven successful at building productive, long-term partnerships with both employees and clients.