Web Design or Web Development?
Understanding the difference between web design and web development is like understanding the difference between how your car runs verse how it looks. Web development is like a mechanic, they build the engine and make sure all the parts work well together, while web design is how they make your car look. Paint, interior, and picking out the right mix of accessories for the best all around look. Finding a company that handles both of these in-house, where both can work together is the best experience you will find. The web designer will design an amazing look based off of functionality for the web developer to build on. This creates a smooth, seamless user experience for your online customers.
Experience is Vital
Successful web development projects combine a well laid out plan, beautiful and intuitive designs, lots of planning, and well-executed web development – all combined and led by developers who have strategic thinking and customized recommendations based on previous experience. Experience is key. Since designers don’t make great programmers and programmers don’t make great designers, it’s important to work with a company that brings expertise to your project in all areas.
Always Know all of Your Options
When choosing a company to create your online solution, you should know all of your options. See below the most common types of web developers and the pros and cons with each.
Freelancers can provide great flexibility in your project and usually do custom work that matches at least most of your goals. Good freelancers take the time to understand your business and may even offer creative solutions for development and ongoing maintenance. The greatest advantage of a freelancer for your project is their lower cost.
The problem working with freelancers is that their professionalism or skill level may not match that of your company’s needs. For example, their availability may be greatest when they are selling you their services, and may decrease as the project progresses due to other projects on their plate with not enough time to complete the work. Also, you may end up doing a lot of management on the project; freelancers’ low overhead often does not account for the planning it takes to get a project done in the best way possible. This is especially true for complex, custom solutions.
Of course, it isn’t always the case, freelancers may be experts in one area, like database design, but know very little about a different area, such as front end design. As a result, there may be limitations for your project or you may end up paying your freelancer to learn skills from scratch that they were not upfront about their lack of knowledge in.
Lastly, going with a freelancer poses a risk for lack of support in the future. Since you’re relying on an individual – whose career path is more likely to change than a company – there is a larger chance you could end up with a custom product that only they can help you with. Job security at it’s finest! Most good developers do however start out as freelancers who realize that in order to keep their customers happy and their brains sane, they must choose to either start their own company with a support staff or join an already existing company.
There are some online software packages out there that allow you to build websites without actually knowing how to program, code, and design. Their main advantage is usually extremely cost effective: it’s less expensive because they are using the same code/template/design over and over with just changing a few elements.
I warn you, though, proceed with caution! Since you get a “one size fits all” we solution, you may be stuck with a set of design templates that are very limited or business requirements that do not match yours – now and almost definitely in the future, as your business grows. There may be features that you need that don’t exist and features that you don’t need to be included since the product is meant to work for many, many businesses. If the solution or website you invest in cannot meet your business needs and there isn’t an option to pay for an improvement or upgrade, you’ll likely have to start over at some point. Efficiency is the main problem with “boxed” solutions and if your business isn’t efficient, bottom line, it cuts into profits.
Custom Web Developer (like us)
Custom web developers usually provide everything in-house that will include all the needed aspects of a successful software solution. Good custom developers will also focus on the needs of their clients and apply Web design and development with SEO ideas that can be leveraged by the clients themselves throughout the project.
Depending on experience throughout the company, they will have very few limits on creativity and capabilities. This is the largest advantage of this type of web solution because you get the personal attention focused on what your business already is doing so that your website can support it in the best way. Helping your company grow!
Custom web developers usually have business procedures and a full staff of experts to make sure that their clients’ needs are met. This means that there’s always more creative and experienced thinking on your project. All of which increases the positive impact that your website can have on your business. Finally, good custom developers will have a large portfolio and a list of satisfied clients who will be able to recommend them.
If you want your website to be a tool to help your business grow, then you should find a custom web developer who has proven clients and experience to accomplish great results.
These companies say they do web development, but actually just hire it out. Due to the economy, this is more and more common. One of the most common outsourcing scenarios is when the graphic design or traditional marketing company accepts a request for development from their client and then outsources the project to a third party as they don’t have the development team necessary to do it themselves.
The upside of this arrangement is a potentially lower price. However, you don’t know anything about the third party that’s actually working on your project and your “middle man” doesn’t have direct control over that company’s work or timing. So, you’re relying on the judgment of the company you’re working with that their relationship with their development company will result in a great end product. Of course, all while paying a (most often undisclosed) significant markup for the third-party’s work.
Always sit down with (or call up) multiple companies to investigate them further. A referral can be a powerful thing, but a sit-down interview or phone call will give you more information about the company and the developers that would be working on your project. During this meeting, pay attention to their experience, company personality, and how they plan to help you meet your long-term goals. If you have additional questions, concerns, or ready to get started on your next large project, don’t hesitate to contact us for further assistance or chat with us Live Online Now in the bottom right!