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Benefits of Custom Design and Build Websites

by  David Dwyer on  23/10/2013    1606 Reads

For ultimate flexibility and control opt for a custom solution.

In an earlier blog I described how Inspire’s Small Business Website package has helped dozens of small-business owners get their shops and services online quickly and affordably. 
 
These template-based websites are typically based on a two-page layout, a ‘contact us’ page (with contact-form fields) and a content page that’s repeated many times. They also have a Website Management System that’s designed to be easy to use for key tasks, like updating page content, text or imagery. They’re just the ticket for many small businesses and charities where cost is a limiting factor. 
 
As experienced developers, we make sure these types of websites can grow with the businesses they’re designed to support. We can add new page layouts, features and functionality to both the part of the website that’s visible to clients, as well as to the Website Management System. All these types of developments are designed to add value and keep up with changing user behaviour. 
 
But for some owners and clients, developing a custom-built site that’s a unique reflection of their business is the next (or sometimes even the first) step. Building a custom site can also be a more cost-effective way of tackling a website project, as extensive or unexpected changes down the line may incur additional costs.
 
As you’d expect from the name, Inspire’s custom-build websites are tailored specifically to your needs and those of your business or concept. Every client goes through the same Inspire Process, or SSADM (Structured Systems Analysis & Design Method), with a little bit of Boehm Spiral thrown in where iterative design is required. 
 
Inspire offers a ‘Cradle to the Grave, and the After Life’ approach to building websites. We go through the whole project lifecycle: needs-based analysis, definition, design, build, user-acceptance testing, go live, commission test and online promotion.
 
What all that tech jargon means is that we’ll discuss your requirements and budget in detail with you before we start – and always agree a fixed price in advance. But how can we do this for even ambitious custom projects?  In the end, cost for us is driven by three factors, which careful planning helps us control: 
  • Volume of page layouts
  • Functionality
  • Complexity of the agreed functionality and design
 
We’ll tailor, or craft, if you will, each page layout and feature from scratch to make it easy for a user to do what you want them to do, whether it’s make a booking, purchase or phone call. You’ll even see ‘storyboards’ of the site during the design process and get the chance to preview it before it goes live. 
 
But maybe the most important part of any of our custom-build websites is the Website Management System (previously called a Content Management System) that comes with it. This system allows site owners to make updates themselves, rather than rely on us to make them. Shop owners can update images of new stock, restaurant owners can upload daily specials, trades can advertise special offers – all at a time and place that suits them. 
 
Your Website Management System will be crafted to meet your needs, whether it’s making simple updates like the ones I’ve just mentioned or more complex tasks like:
  • Downloading customer enquiries to Excel 
  • Managing member accounts
  • Having your own Customer Relationship Management feature to manage notes of interest
  • Calculating distances from work centres
  • Assigning sales-enquiry tasks to members of staff
  • Or any other business needs you might have
 
The Inspire WMS is designed to make management of our custom-build websites simple. In our experience, the easier it is to make updates, the more inclined our clients are to make them. This in turn means that their websites are more likely to be up to date and interesting, which means a better experience for their customers. A better experience for customers usually converts to more sales, which makes everyone happy, including us! 
 
Our custom website packages come complete with:
  • Two annual site reviews 
  • Business email addresses
  • Site hosting
  • Domain-name management
  • And as many pages as you need to get your message across. 
 
But the sky’s really the limit with a custom build in terms of options. We can include booking forms, image galleries, live chat, slideshows, newsletter sign-ups, social media and graphics of all kinds. We’ll suggest some options for you – and explain how they can support your business – during our needs-based analysis at the start, but as always, the decision is yours.
 
David Dwyer is Managing Director of Inspire Web Development. He has years of experience in a range of web and IT roles plus seven years in sales and marketing in a blue-chip FMCG company. David’s academic and professional qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Business Economics (Personnel) from the University of Paisley, an MSc in Information Technology (Systems) from Heriot-Watt University and PRINCE2 Practitioner-level certification. He is also an active member of the British Computer Society.
 
Inspire Web Development, Inspire Web Services
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