Everything You Need to Know About Custom Web Design
Word Nerd breaks down the web design process from start to finish in this helpful blog post. We’ll discuss:
- How long it takes to design and develop a website
- How much web design costs
Your website is often the first impression you’ll make on your target audience. In today’s fast-paced digital society, websites need to be fast, functional, and flawlessly designed.
While most business owners understand the importance of building a professional website, many do not have the skills or expertise necessary to develop a site on their own. Because of this, most business owners don’t know what to expect from their web design projects — especially as it relates to project timing and total costs.
At Word Nerd, our team regularly supports business owners who are working with a web design team for the first time. In this article, we help set the expectations that business professionals should have when getting started with their web design projects.
How Long Does Web Design Take?
While we would love to give you a precise timeframe, the truth is that how long it takes to build a website varies significantly from project to project. Websites that require few pages or custom coding can be completed in as little as three months in some cases. For more complex builds with dozens of pages and custom content, the project can take six months to a year — sometimes even longer depending on the review and change request process.
There are several factors that can impact the time it takes to complete a web design project, including:
Every web design should begin with a detailed consultation with your development team. Depending on your availability and your team’s ability to understand your needs, consultations can be completed in as little as one day or may take weeks to fully develop.
During the initial consultation, you should be prepared to communicate all your wants, needs, and desires for your site. These include:
- Functional Considerations: Be prepared to speak to the typical consumer journey for your business. Discussing this with your web design team will help them understand what functionalities need to be present on the site to help streamline the user experience and optimize for conversions.
- Design & Branding: A web design project is the perfect opportunity for you to rebrand yourself — especially if you’re unhappy with the aesthetic of your current site. Make sure you provide your team with all font files, vector logos, and brand colors to ensure a cohesive, well-branded website.
- Keywords & Phrases: While it will be up to your web design and SEO team to determine the best keywords and phrases to target based on search data, the initial consultation should provide them with a basic understanding of how to speak about your company’s products and services. Make sure they are aware of any words or phrases you wish to avoid so they do not include these in the site copy.
- Competitor Analysis: During the initial consultation, provide your team with any competitor websites and point out the specific functions or design elements you wish to emulate on your own site. This will help your team gain a better understanding of what it takes to compete in your space.
- Project Deadlines: If your website needs to be completed by a specific date, this needs to be communicated to your team upfront. This will help you avoid having a project fall short of expectations.
Remember, it can take several meetings for you and your team to get to a point where everyone feels comfortable moving forward to the design and development phase. Be patient, and make sure your team is asking plenty of clarifying questions prior to taking the next step.
Design & Development
This is the part that takes the longest as it requires your design and development team to apply all the knowledge they learned during the consultation to the project itself. How long web design and development takes will depend on many things, including:
- How many pages are needed
- What elements need to be custom coded
- What functionalities are required
- Optimizing for the mobile user experience
- What additional projects your team is working on for your brand
During design and development, you should communicate with your team regularly to check in on the project’s status and make any additional requests regarding design or functionality.
The creative process takes time; depending on the functional and design requests made, it can take as little as three months or as long as one year. If you’re concerned about the project being completed on-time, make sure these concerns are voiced to your team so they can work with you on possible solutions for expediting the process.
Reveal & Review
Once the design and development phase has been complete, your team should schedule a formal website presentation. These meetings usually take one to two hours, and they should cover all the key elements of the website’s functionality and design.
During a website reveal, you won’t have the opportunity to scrutinize every bit of copy that appears on the site. This exercise is purely to review the functional and design aspects of the website as these will be the most difficult to alter once the website is taken live. Some examples of things that should be identified during a website reveal include:
- Navigational changes
- User experience alterations (i.e. shopping experience, registration processes, contact form submissions, etc.)
- Overall aesthetics (i.e. how pages are laid out, how information appears, etc.)
Only after the meeting is over and all functional change requests have been called out should your team send you the flats to review for necessary content edits.
Remember: Content (including imagery, videos, and text) is easy to change after the site is taken live. Site functionality and overall design, however, is not as simple a fix. Avoid making the expensive mistake of failing to flag necessary functionality changes by carefully reviewing all materials your team sends to you. If you don’t have enough time to review or feel you did not get a full understanding during your first meeting, request another presentation with your team to make sure everything appears as it should, and all your needs are satisfied.
Depending on what change requests are made following the reveal and review process, implementing edits can take several weeks or months to complete. Once all changes have been made to the site, your team should schedule another website presentation to make sure all feedback has been applied according to your vision. If significant changes still need to be made, you may need to repeat this process a few times to be sure that all site functionality and design elements are meeting your needs.
After the site functionality and design has the final seal of approval, it’s time to take your new website live. If your team uses a staging site to build, taking the site live is a fairly simple process that can take as little as one day to complete. Once finished, the only thing you’ll need to worry about is maintaining the website and getting it in front of the right customers!
How Much Does Web Design Cost?
Because each web design project is different, it’s difficult to place a price tag on the process. A one-page website might cost you as little as $900 while a website with 30 pages or more can cost anywhere between $3,000 – $10,000, depending on the specific design and functionality requests. Make sure you understand all the costs involved and ask any questions of your team prior to signing a service agreement for your project.
Things That Can Increase the Cost of Your Web Design Project
It’s important for business owners to understand what things can end up increasing the total cost of their project. These include:
- Change Requests: If you approved the functionality and design of your website but still aren’t satisfied with it, this can affect your bottom line tremendously. Depending on what needs to be fixed, this can set your project back to square one (and your wallet back to square zero).
- Site Plugins: In order to speed up development time, your team may need to purchase third-party plugins to meet your site’s functional demands. While this is typically done to help save money, these additional fees can take some business owners by surprise.
- Rush Orders: Tighter project timelines might mean your web design team will charge an expedited fee to meet your deadline. This is especially true if you expect a website turnaround in 3 months or less.
- Development Themes: At Word Nerd, we build all our websites on WordPress using Divi by Elegant Themes™. This allows us to speed up the time to development. To use this theme, a one-time $250 fee will be applied to the total cost of your project. Choosing not to use the theme can result in much higher costs (and longer time) for completing your web design.
If you’re ready to start your web design project, Word Nerd is the team you need to get the job done right. With our combined 20 years of web design and development experience, our team delivers expertly designed websites that result in higher conversions, increased web traffic, and higher rankings on the search engine page results. Request a consultation with our web design team by calling (609) 498-4223 or contacting us online today!