I Need a Custom Website Design. What Should I Do?
Website templates available on most website builders are fine, but nothing beats custom website design. Learn how to get it and how much you can expect to pay for it!
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In need of a custom-built website? Learn how to save time on design and development when building your website, and cost-effective solutions for a custom website design.
Let’s start with an obvious question. What is custom website design?
Unlike website templates, when you design a custom website each element is created to suit your brand image. This doesn’t mean you can’t adapt existing website templates. However, in this case templates are usually used merely as a framework for web designers to add custom elements.
Of course the cost of custom website design is much higher than using ready-made templates which cost little, or are often free. So, why opt to have a custom website? We’ll answer that in the next section.
Why is custom website design a good idea?
Now you know the answer to the question “what is a custom website”. But why on earth would you pay for one? After all, there are many great website builders, which allow you to use great web design templates for little or no money at all.
Here are just a few convincing reasons.
Build a brand image
Web design is one of the most important parts of your brand identity. It’s often the first impression potential customers form about your business. Moreover, people need just 50 milliseconds to form a first impression, and 94% of them are design-related.
A custom website design allows you to make those impressions count and get the right client base to stay on your site.
Stand out from the competition
Businesses in the same industry often have similar styles. Adhering to relevant website design trends is perfectly fine. But, you should still find a way to make your site a unique and memorable user experience.
Website builders are a popular solution for people who don’t want to hire a web designer for a good reason. They often have a simple drag-and-drop interface that allows people with no design expertise to create web design or mockups.
However, when you work in a fixed framework of a website builder, you can’t optimize your website to the fullest. With custom websites you have full control over the code, which can be fine-tuned for efficiency (e.g. implementing lazy loading for image-heavy sites, or creating a lightweight mobile version).
Modern-day websites are a constant work in progress. SEO optimization usually requires regular content updates. But, there’s more to it than that.
You might launch new products or services and need to add new web pages or features to your website. A custom website will allow you to put your business plans into action whatever stage you find yourself at.
Custom websites can be built with strong security measures (SSL certificates, secure web hosting, trusted content management system, control over plugins, etc.) tailored to your specific needs, reducing the risk of vulnerabilities that are commonly exploited on generic platforms.
How to get a custom website?
Before we answer the all-important question, “how much does a custom website design cost”, let’s see what you need to do before hiring the right web design service.
Do your research
Before you hire a professional or build a site on your own, you need to research the anatomy of a good website, as well as the trends and tendencies in the industry and marketing.
Spend some time reading about different types of websites and consider the different features you might need. For example, an informative website and online store will have pretty different layouts and functionalities. .
Create a mood board or collect inspiration from other websites
A mood board that includes layouts, photos, illustrations, color palettes, typography and pretty much anything that you set your heart on, you can help the designer create the look of a website that is close to your brand’s identity.
You can also search for web design inspiration of popular blogs such as Web Design Ledger, Awwwards, A List Apart, etc. Or, simply browse through website templates on website builders like Wix, Shopify, Squarespace and similar.
Sort the important information and decide what to place on the website
Before drafting up a web design project, choose the pages you want to include.
For small business websites, usually, the main page with products and services, information about the team and brand story, as well as how you can reach them, are essential.
Testimonials are a great way to build confidence in potential clients, so it can never hurt adding that to your final pick.
Content creators need to focus on content marketing and have a more visual website. Consider a well-structured blog, social media widgets and an affiliate program page.
Lastly, a startup’s website is as important as a brick-and-mortar’s company’s actual storefront. You will need to describe your product or service, as well as the pricing, the way it works, and who is part of your target market.
Decide who to hire
Based on your budget and wishes, you can choose several options for professional web design. We’ll discuss three popular options in the next section.
How much does a custom website cost?
Web design costs vary significantly based on the complexity of your website. However, we’ll give you at least some ballpark estimates of average costs you can expect to pay with three types of web design services.
Web design agency
Web design agencies usually include way more services than just the design, such as SEO copywriting, responsive design, ecommerce features, custom themes and style, domain names, content management systems, etc.
Custom website design cost with an agency ranges from 3.000 to 100.000 dollars on average.
Freelance web designer
Many talented freelancers offer services on Fiverr, Upwork, and other similar platforms, so it’s possible to find a design specialist for every type of project.
You can hire freelancers to take on the full website building process, or just the design portion of it, and discuss the details, time management and scope of work with them. The cost of custom website design with a freelancer usually ranges between $1,500 and $5,000.
But, the risk of working with freelancers is the time of delivery, lack of quality assurance and the possibility of a lot of back-and-forth without effective communication.
Essentially, if you can handle managing an outsourced designer, you can have a good web design project in your hands. However, if you don’t quite understand what you need, it’s better to go for an option that includes management of output and scope of work too.
Unlimited graphic design
Can you work with a professional web design company, without breaking the budget? Definitely!
Unlimited graphic design services offer affordable web and graphic design at a fixed monthly rate. Monthly fees usually range from $400 to $1,300, and this price covers as many requests and revisions as you want!
Of course, you’ll also need to factor in for development costs, since most unlimited design services don’t do this. However, since the cost of custom website design is a faction of what you’d pay elsewhere, this is by far the most affordable option to build your site.
Best of all, you can design a custom website and get other graphic design projects like custom illustrations, social media posts, digital ads, landing pages, etc.
Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.