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What is bespoke website design, and do I need it?

The word 'bespoke' is often used by website designers to describe their work.

According to the UK Oxford Dictionary, bespoke simply means 'made to order' - as such, it can reasonably be used to describe any website design, unless you want one which is an absolutely exact copy of another (unlikely!).

Many people use this word to portray an idea that their work is perhaps more unique than those who don't use it, and that your website is 'one of a kind', unlike no other. Whilst this can be true, many website design companies use something called a template - this is simply a pre-created website colour scheme and layout which can be tailored by the designer to suit the needs of their client. To the average website visitor they probably don't know or care whether this is the case so long as the website works well and is easy to use - aesthetics are a key part of web design, but how a website looks should not be the prime focus.

Some designers offer a one-off website, with no template used, the whole site design is 100% custom written and created and no other website in the entire world will use this custom design. This is often a more expensive route as the time involved for this level of customised design can be very high.

The other side of bespoke comes from those website designers who use templates but perhaps pass them off as their own work - I make no bones about it, my sites are all based on templates. Based on the client requirements and design ideas, I choose a template with a base style to fit well with the brand or individual. From there, a suitable level of 'bespoke' customisation is applied to the colour scheme, layout, page design etc. which will always be different for each individual website. Features and aspects of the website are created specifically for each client as required, to provide a custom design which may have similarities to the base template but will provide a great experience for the visitor and client. Perhaps I should therefore describe myself as a 'bespoke website designer'?

If you know where to look, it is usually pretty easy to see if a website is using a template or not, but do not be swayed by those who suggest that templates are a bad idea. Unless you have loads of money to spend (and in my opinion, even then), a 100% bespoke website is unlikely to provide you with any business benefits and may do little but cost you more than required to get a comparable end result.

If you'd like to know if a website you have or a designer you are thinking of using provides template-based websites, just drop me a message and I'll let you know!

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Thursday, 22 October 2020

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