Custom web design and development can be a rather expensive proposition, but it can be worthwhile if you are looking to create a very sophisticated website.
In a lot of cases, it makes sense to opt for a simple WordPress website – these days, a turnkey installation of WordPress with a common theme and some quickly added content can still look quite sophisticated and will impress a lot of visitors, as well as be more than enough to do the job of bringing in footfall to your bricks and mortar store. Indeed, thanks to the power of WooCommerce, you can even run an e-commerce website via WordPress, even if you aren’t a developer or a marketing wizard.
However, there are some times when it makes sense to pay for custom website design and development. For example, if you expect that your website will get a huge amount of traffic, then you will want to make sure that the website can cope with that. WordPress – while a brilliant platform, is one that can be a little resource demanding. Paying for a lightweight, highly customized and carefully crafted a website that contains “no bloat” is a good idea.
You may also want custom web development if you are putting together a more complex game site, a video streaming site, or a social network of some form – anything where the functionality you require goes beyond the norm.
If you are thinking of hiring a web designer, make sure that you understand exactly what you will be getting from them. With business websites, it is vital that you know you will be getting a site that will perform well, and that is secure. All too often, amateur programmers fail to sanitize inputs, encrypt passwords, verify data, trap exceptions, and take care of security. This may be fine for a casual project was done by a hobbyist, but if you are processing customer data, then you are putting your reputation, your livelihood, and your customer’s personal and financial security at risk if your site is poorly coded.
Do not take chances with bad code. Make sure that the programmers you work with have a good reputation, and ask to see examples from their portfolio. The back-end code must be robust and secure (it’s hard for you to check this, admittedly, if you aren’t a developer yourself), and the front-end code should be valid and look good in most browsers (this is something that you can confirm using the W3C validation tool).
Ask for a quote for the website design that you have in mind, and ask them to lay out milestones so that you can keep track of the project while it is in development. Make sure that you will get the source code so that you can modify it if necessary (and that the code is not encrypted), and also make sure that you are in full control of the domain name and the hosting – or that if you allow them to host your site, that you are the administrative contact for the domain so you can move it if necessary. This will help to ensure that you don’t one day lose your site because the developer goes under, loses interest, or decides to try to extract more money from you by holding your domain hostage.
There’s a lot to be said for custom web design work, but it isn’t always necessary. Think about what you want and research the best ways to achieve it before you spend money on a large job that isn’t necessary.