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One of the core activities at Design House, is the design and construction of bespoke websites. We’ve been helping local and national clients get online, or improve their existing online presence since 2013, making beautiful websites that are both practical and affordable.

Website design and development is one of those industries where there seems to be a million questions, and just as many different answers. In an effort to put new clients at ease, and really get to the bottom of what’s needed, we offer a free 45 minute consultation, with absolutely no obligation, so that you can pick our brains and gain a deeper understanding of everything web related.

Below are some common questions and topics related to our website design process:

To get the ball rolling, we discuss with you all the functionalities you’re looking to achieve, what you’re trying to promote, say, do or sell through the website. We then disseminate this into a series of page designs (sometimes referred to as a sitemap) that we can go through and discuss together. These are most commonly presented as PDFs or even flat A3 plans. This is a great way to explore different ideas and aesthetics. Sometimes we call these ‘digital sketches’ – with the deliberate intention to keep things a bit rough and loose, so can really delve into all possibilities and get creative. We both went to art school, sorry.

The flat plan process continues with plenty of input from the client, until we have a solid and practical looking visual for how the new website is going to look and function. Once we’ve finalised all the flat plans and you’re signed them off, we set about building the real website. This is done on a little hidden test link that only we can see. As it comes together you’ll be given a link to the test site, so that you can see how things are beginning to feel in the digital realm, and give some more feedback if things aren’t quite right.

It’s not unusual for us to make some adjustments when we see how things work at this stage, but generally speaking the site is built out exactly as planned. We do plenty of testing for different devices, but also encourage clients’ to test the website on as many devices as they can get their hands on, pads, phones, laptops etc. Once it’s been fully tested and polished up to perfection it’s launched!

We build all our websites in WordPress – which is by far the most popular content management system used today. Allegedly, WordPress powers about 40% of the internet. It’s open source, which means there’s a vast amount of free information out there on how to use it. It’s incredibly malleable, so we get a huge amount of design freedom. It’s powerful enough to handle anything from a simple portfolio site to a very busy e-commerce solution. It’s a great system, that’s worth understanding, and at the end of every website project we always provide a tutorial session so that our clients know what they’re dealing with, and how best to keep their content up to date.

Search engine optimisation (or SEO) is something we offer to all our clients as part of a bespoke web build project, and we think we’re pretty damn good at it. There’s a lot of companies out there offering dedicated SEO services, and if you have the money to burn, we won’t judge you for spending it that way. But it’s our opinion that this is an industry infested with cowboys and con artists, so be wary of anyone on your digital doorstep promising they’ll get you to “the top of page 1” by next week.

The key to getting a good ranking on Google is a well made website, with quality content that’s relevant and unique to your potential customers. We offer a very effective, but modestly priced, SEO service that is more than enough for the vast majority of our clients. We encourage clients to focus on the quality of what they’re saying, not the spamming of keywords and links. We utilise the Yoast WordPress plugin as our standard tool for optimising website content, something that’s free to install, easy to learn but incredibly powerful.

The mobile experience is of paramount importance these days. All our sites are built with this in mind, and work exceptionally well on ipads/iphones and other smart devices. If you’re keen to explore specific options for the mobile view, or have ‘mobile centric’ project in mind, of course just let us know and this can be incorporated into the design and planning phase in more detail.

Websites’ need a place to live. These places are called Servers, which is basically another term for massive computer that’s turned on all the time, and allows people to access your website at any time of day, around the world. Most servers are actually a combination of different computers dotted around the globe – something you’d call a ‘cloud server’.

We have our own cloud server, which houses nearly 100 of our clients’ websites and is backed up daily by a team of pro nerds. Hosting with Design House comes with heaps of aftercare, as well as tutorials to help you understand how to edit content and maintain your website after launch. Click here to read more about our Managed WordPress Hosting.

If you need guidance on domain registration, email setup, and other dull things like that, we’re more than happy to help!

Off the self, ready to roll, website templates
£1499 (+ VAT)

For a basic introductory web presence to get the ball rolling, we’re pleased to offer a selection of ready made website templates. These templates are great for getting you out there and having a presence online. Perfect for the individual or small startup. There might not be much in the way of bells and whistles, but they look fantastic and professional, and we’ll get you online with the minimum of fuss.

Read more about our website templates right here >

Mid Level Bespoke Websites
Estimated costs = £2,000 – £4,000 (+ VAT)

A common project structure that we’ve gone through a number of times, which typically involves creating a 6-8 page site that showcases the services and expertise of a local business. The website would usually have profiles of individual team members, descriptions of services, as well as prominent calls to action. There might also be embedded social media feeds (instgram/twitter), custom animation to screen elements, and a deep integration of branding aesthetics to the overall site architecture. A custom designed and built website that exemplifies the best of your business.

Advanced Bespoke Websites
Estimated costs = £4,500 – £6,500 (+ VAT)

Extensive sites with unique or advanced functionalities need to be planned more meticulously of course, especially if you’re going to be selling products or services online. You might have a complex need to display dynamic property or product listings on your website, or want a checkout and payment process setup. We’d inevitably spend longer drawing out more extensive flat plans for discussion, and making sure that all parties involved are confident in the outcome every step of the way.

Don’t Stress

Website design and construction is an area where some people feel out of their depth very quickly – so if you have any questions about what it means to build a new website for your business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

We offer a completely free, no obligation, 45 minute chat to anyone who’s interested in our services and wants to pick our brains.

You can send us a message using the contact form here, or call at the Berkhamsted Studio on 01442 386 211.