Bespoke Website Development

What is Bespoke Web Development?

There’s something special about things that are made just for us. From tailored clothes to personalised number plates, consumer markets are full of examples of ‘bespoke’ goods that are highly sought after because of their uniqueness and exclusivity. We like things that fit just right. We also like to feel special.

In business software and digital services, the ‘right fit’ is also a much sought-after quality. But the value of purpose-built digital assets like websites and web applications goes a lot further than being unique and standing out. Bespoke web development is about creating online experiences that are a perfect fit for your brand, and also for the needs and preferences of your customers.

Custom website development is something that a lot of web design agencies offer. However, ‘bespoke’ often means different things to different providers. In this article, we’ll set out what we mean when we offer bespoke web development services, and what the benefits of our approach are. We’ll also discuss some of the considerations around going bespoke.

How ‘bespoke’ is bespoke?

As an agency with a long history of building and running business websites, we have a very clear understanding of what we mean when we offer ‘bespoke’ web services. To us, in its most simple terms, bespoke web development means starting with a blank canvas and designing and building a website according to the needs of your business or project.

Here’s some context to explain why we use this definition. These days, a lot of web design and development is done using templates. Templates are pre-existing chunks of code that define specific elements you see on a web page, and how they look, function and correspond to other elements. Templates are how visual website builders like Squarespace and Wix work. From whole-page layouts to individual elements, users create their designs by arranging pre-made components in a nice user-friendly visual interface.

Professional web developers, including ourselves, use these kinds of builders and their templates. They are quick and easy and speed up the website building process a great deal. We also use code templates, which we can customise quickly and easily.

But this is where distinctions have to be drawn. Tweaking a template is different to truly bespoke development. The amount you can ‘customise’ templates is limited. You can still get a website that performs the main functions you need it to perform, of course. But if you want a website that is precision-engineered to match your processes, and which delivers an experience carefully curated for your customers only, you have to go further. You have to start from scratch, look at the business goals, and build a unique solution to meet them.

Benefits of bespoke web development

When we offer bespoke web development services to our clients, we mean taking a ground-up, blank canvas approach as described above. Other agencies may offer ‘bespoke’ services in the context of customised template-based designs. But to us, this means missing out on the unique benefits that a truly bespoke approach affords.

Here are the main benefits of bespoke web design.

Goal-oriented design

With any kind of off-the-shelf software solution, template-based websites included, there’s always a degree of compromise between what the product can deliver and what you really want. Bespoke web development starts from your goals, and creates a solution to meet them.

Whether those goals are increasing brand awareness, generating leads, driving eCommerce sales or any combination of many more objectives, the aim of bespoke development is to translate them into a user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) that funnels your audiences towards the actions you want them to take.

The potential business benefits are huge. According to research by Forrester, the right UI can boost conversion rates on a website by 200%, and improvements in UK can boost them by 400%.

Bespoke Website Design

Outstanding CX

Understanding your goals and how to achieve them also requires development teams to understand your audience. The right UX leading to the right outcome only happens if it matches the expectations, preferences and habits of your users. And web users are quick to make their judgements. 94% of people say they decide whether to continue browsing a site based on their first impressions of its ‘look and feel’. Three quarters of web users say that web design influences their view on a business’s credibility.

These are statistics that underline the importance of putting CX front and centre of web design. And the most reliable way to do that is to build based on what customers want to see.

Greater flexibility and control

In terms of functionality, bespoke development allows you to custom-build tools that fit seamlessly into your existing workflows. A good example is creating online product management and loyalty systems that match and integrate with existing offline versions if you run a shop.

Greater control over design also supports more responsive design, meaning your website will function just as well on mobile as it does on desktop. This is important for overall CX and user satisfaction, as 85% of people believe websites should work just as well or even better on mobile devices these days.

Another aspect of the improved flexibility bespoke web design gives you is better scalability. Prefab and template-based websites are often built in such a way that they can only grow so far and/or in certain ways. You might be able to add certain features and expand certain capabilities, but not others. By starting from a blank canvas, bespoke website development means you can create a site with one eye on the future and design its architecture in such a way that it can grow however you might want it to.

Deciding to go bespoke

There’s a lot to recommend fully bespoke website development. But there are some practical considerations to weigh up, and it isn’t the right option every time.

Two things you have to bear in mind with bespoke design is that the build process takes longer, and that makes it more expensive, too. These are there reasons template-based design evolved as an alternative. Coding an entire website from scratch is a labour -intensive business.

There are ways to go ‘fully bespoke’ without having to code everything from scratch. ‘Open architecture’ development treats websites as collaborative ecosystems of integrated apps and other components. WordPress is a good example of this with its enormous catalogue of plug-ins. There’s still a need to create the page layouts, designs, navigation and content. But open architecture makes bespoke functionality a lot easier to achieve compared to having to programme advanced features from scratch.

Still, if you’re on a budget or you need to get a website up and running quickly, template-based development might be the best option. Precise branding and carefully curated functionality to create a particular experience isn’t always necessary. Sometimes, your business goals are better met by simple solutions that are quick and cheap to launch. Templates are great for that.

Bespoke web development comes into its own, and is worth the extra investment, when you want a website that serves as a point of difference in its own right, when you want to incorporate processes and experiences that are a little out of the ordinary, when you want a website that can scale and adapt to changing needs well into the future, and when you want a greater level of strategic control in delivering results.

The final part of the jigsaw is finding a partner that specialises in custom web development services. Contact us to talk to our team today.

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