It might seem irrelevant to you, the small business owner, looking for a new website, but to some the difference is significant. If you’re shopping for a business website, then chances are you’ll search using the keyword phrase “website design” or “business website design” or “affordable website design”, or any of the variations around the words “website” and “design”.
Why should you care? Well, when buying anything it’s important to know the difference between what you think you need, and what you actually need. Marketers have a clever way of getting bogged down in semantics, or window dressing as we like to call it. Yes, you could pay for website design but the reality is maybe you don’t need a full design service, you just need a website. Confused? Let me explain.
What is website design?
Website design is a lot more than just laying out your text and photos on a page. That’s part of it, but full website design involves developing a lot of custom work that covers every aspect of the site, making sure it reflects your brand personality in even the smallest details.
Pieces of a full design service can include:
- Brand identity – Normally an overarching document that determines how you want your business to be perceived in the marketplace. This can include anything from your brand ‘personality’ (e.g. fun or serious, residential or commercial etc.) to the voice and tone of your messaging (both on your website and printed comms).
- Logo – this can be a ‘from the ground up’ process, developing a completely original logo that can be trademarked (costs can vary between $500 and $5,000 depending on how involved the process – our logos create something original based on an existing design for just $149).
- Fonts – for both printed material, the logo, as well as headings and body of your website.
- Colour palette, normally a complementary set of colours – with one dominant colour – that represents your brand.
- Custom artwork and photography.
- Custom icons to be used on the website.
- Printed collateral including business cards, letterhead and direct mail pieces.
As you can see there’s a lot more to a design service than just a website – it’s a full program of developing your brand and tied in very closely with your marketing.
Because of all the specialist work involved it is also generally quite expensive – for a full design of your brand (including the website) budget at least $5,000.
So, if your budget doesn’t extend that far what options do you have? Should you cross “website design” off your wishlist?
Web development – with design on the side
Strict web development is about working on the back end of a website (web design is focused on the front end, the parts a visitor to your website sees).
Website development is all the coding behind the scenes and includes unexciting acronyms like HTML, PHP and CSS. It’s the technical part of making a website work, whether it’s submitting a form so it sends you an email with details of a customer enquiry or resizing correctly on a small screen, such as a smartphone or tablet.
Web development has become easier over the years, but the more custom your requirements the more work has to be done to meet those needs. It’s the basic rule of thumb when it comes to the cost of a website – the more unique and specific your needs are, the more it will cost. This means if you don’t have any out-of-the-ordinary requirements, you can get a website for under $300.
What we offer here at PogoStick Web Services is a hybrid of these two disciplines – we build the website (web development) while also dressing up the front end (web design). The web design is more limited than a full design service to save our clients money, and takes advantage of pre-existing designs (also known as themes or templates) that have done the lion’s share of the website design. We can then tweak and fine tune it to meet a client’s requirements (within the limits of their budget).
This hybrid approach allows us to offer clients a smart, professional-looking website that is responsive on mobile devices and customised to match the client’s existing branding or logo – all at a fraction of the cost of what other website design companies charge.
Of course, for clients that have a bigger budget we do work with dedicated designers who can provide a full design service – ask us for details.
So, long story short, yes you can get website design without busting the budget – it might just mean reigning in any grand designs and going for something more practical and functional than artistic (in terms of usability, many visitors prefer a simple website than something too arty anyway).
Sound good? Great, let’s get started!