Why You Need Website Development Consulting Services
Website development consulting can help you leverage innovative web design to differentiate your brand. Get help with planning, design, and development.
July 10, 2023
This post is about web development consulting, what consultants do, and how to know if you need one.
Before we get into the details, I’d like to share some insight into the web design industry. I think this will show you why you would consider hiring a web development consultant in the first place.
A web development consultant is not the first person you think of when you want to build a site. Instead, you’d probably be more inclined to contact a digital agency or freelance designer.
Even though this is the most common—and logical—approach, there’s a big problem with it. You never know how good the designer or developer is until you’re well into a project. In fact, you may not even find out until long after launch.
This complicates an already complex process.
Web development services can range from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands. The randomness of pricing makes it difficult to know what you’re getting when you hire a designer or developer.
So, why do project estimates fluctuate so much?
There are a few reasons:
Some designers have more experience, knowledge, and skill than others do. This can lead to significant differences in the quality of work and the price charged for the work.
Another factor that can influence pricing is the amount of customization required. A custom website is more expensive than sites built from templates or pre-designed layouts. Custom websites require more time and expertise to create, test, and refine. But you may not always be able to tell when a designer is using a template, and when they aren’t.
The scope and complexity of a project can also impact pricing. The web development process for a basic website costs less than a site with many pages or products.
These are just a few factors that influence web project pricing. But there are other potential concerns, such as:
Many businesses aren’t sure whether they need a new website or if a renovation of their current site will do. Sometimes, a few changes can get the job done. But there comes a point when it takes less work to build a new website than to update an existing one. The choice isn’t always obvious.
Most designers and developers don’t want to renovate an existing website. For them, it’s easier to create a new site than it is to modify an existing one. Besides, they don’t feel they can charge as much to renovate a site you’ve already paid for once. So, a new build is almost always a better deal for them.
Each designer and developer uses their favorite technology to build websites. These tools make it easier for them to do the work because they use the same tools all the time. But that doesn’t mean the web technologies they use are the best ones for your business’s website.
I’ll stop there.
Hopefully, by now, you can see that website projects can be challenging. It’s easy to waste a lot of valuable time and money making the wrong choices or hiring the wrong web professional. Without experience in web design or development, you’ll have to rely on intuition to guide your decisions.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have an expert on your side who could help you navigate your website project?
That’s exactly what web development consultants do.
In the sections that follow, we’ll dive deeper into how web consultants help businesses like yours with website design projects.
The Difference Between Web Design and Web Development
People often confuse web design and web development. But these are two distinct disciplines that serve different functions. The difference between them lies in their focus, method, and end goals.
Web design is primarily about creating a site’s aesthetics and user experience. The web designer creates the site’s visuals. This includes navigation, page layouts, colors, typography, and images. Web design focuses on the website’s “front end”, using design software to create a wireframe or mockup.
Web development consultants use both design and development to create sites that are aesthetically pleasing and highly functional.
To advise clients on website projects, consultants must be proficient in both technology and design.
What Does a Website Development Consultant Do?
Website development services help businesses plan and execute successful website projects. They provide expert advice throughout the process, from ideation to launch.
Website development consultants make sure that their clients have a solid plan in place before starting a project. They work closely with clients to gather business and user requirements to create a web strategy and project plan. This plan outlines all the steps needed to deliver a high-quality website that meets specific needs and business goals.
Experienced website development consultants also provide ongoing project management to keep the project on schedule and on budget. The consultant will track the project’s progress, manage the team, provide updates, and manage risks. They will also identify issues and come up with cost-effective web solutions.
Their expertise enables consultants to make recommendations on how to optimize website functionality, design, and create the best user experience. They also use best practices to optimize a site for search engines and implement digital marketing techniques into their website strategy.
Here’s an in-depth summary of the website development consulting process:
1. Needs Analysis
The first step in any website project is to conduct a needs analysis. The purpose is to identify the website features and function the business needs. A thorough needs analysis provides the framework for the entire development project. The website development consultant will use this information to craft a customized plan, assign roles to team members, and track progress.
2. Customer Journey Development
Once the needs analysis is complete, the consultant will focus on developing the customer journey. The customer journey refers to the steps a user takes from the moment they discover the brand to purchase and beyond.
Customer journey development includes analyzing behavior, identifying digital touchpoints, and guiding users towards their end goal with a seamless experience. This "path to purchase" sets the tone for successful marketing strategies. The consultant will create the website plan based on the user experience journey.
3. Website Structure and Page Layout
A well-organized website structure makes it easier for users to navigate the site, find the information they need, and take action. The consultant will typically create a sitemap or wireframe to outline the structure of the website. A visual representation is the best way to organize and prioritize content, which helps make sure the website’s design is user-friendly.
During the website development process, consultants also focus on creating intuitive navigation and user flows. To do this, they design a logical structure for content and make sure users can easily access the information they need.
4. Website Content Strategy
Website development consultants also oversee website content creation. Content includes everything from text, images, videos, and graphics to animation and interactive elements.
To develop website content, a consultant will research the target audience and anything related to their demographics, interests, and preferences. The goal is to get a better understanding of what potential customers desire and create content around those interests.
5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is a process designed to optimize a website so it will rank higher in search engine results pages. SEO plays a crucial role in driving organic traffic to the website and increasing visibility. The website development consultant will make sure the website’s content is SEO-friendly by conducting keyword research, on-page optimization, and backlinking.
Many times, businesses build website first and implement SEO later. However, your website won’t attract much organic traffic without SEO. So, search engine optimization should be part of a web development plan.
Yet, many web designers and developers know little about SEO. Again, this is where a web development consultant who has SEO expertise can be invaluable.
6. User Experience Design
Website development consultants use various design elements to create intuitive and responsive websites. They rely on UX design principles to ensure that the website is accessible on mobile devices, user-friendly, and generates conversions. Principles include clarity and simplicity in design, calls-to-action (CTA), and functionality.
The consultant will also perform testing to make sure the website is easy to use. A/B testing, multi-device testing, and cross-browser testing are examples of techniques used to identify issues before the site goes live.
7. User Interface Design
A website’s UI design plays a substantial role in attracting and keeping users on the page. Website development consultants must have a deep understanding of the users’ needs and preferences. They often leverage psychology to create a design users will like.
The consultant will identify informational components, such as the menu items or key website features, and determine how to prioritize them. They will also design the input controls, such as buttons and text fields. Depending on the target audience, specific input controls may offer an advantage over others.
Website prototyping is a vital step in the design and development of any website. The website’s preliminary version is tested for usability, functionality, and user experience.
Consultants use prototyping to understand how the website will look, feel, and function. It’s an essential tool for identifying potential design flaws, usability issues, and improving overall user experience.
The purpose of usability testing is to eliminate barriers to user task completion and goal achievement on the website. Testing can include remote testing, moderated testing, and unmoderated testing. Remote testing gathers data from users in different regions using software, while moderated testing uses a moderator to direct participants. Unmoderated testing requires participants to complete tasks on their own with no guidance or observation.
The website consultant can help you decide which method is best for your company’s site.
10. Maintenance and Security
Sites with sub-par website maintenance and security get hacked, which can lead to data loss and reputational harm.
A website development consultant will make sure all software and programs are up-to-date. Outdated software and plugins are more vulnerable to cyberattacks. These can compromise website functionality, affect user experience, and harm the website owner’s business.
Website security is equally important. Hackers regularly attack websites. A consultant can help you implement website security measures to protect site users and data.
You Might Need Website Development Consulting Services If...
If you’re a startup or a small-to-medium-sized enterprise, you may not have the resources to employ a full-time web team. To create a good first impression, attract customers, and achieve high conversion rates, you must have a strong online presence. Hiring a web development consulting service allows you to focus on your business while they oversee software development.
Here are some signs that your company needs web development consulting services:
You don’t know much about UI/UX Design and building websites or apps.
If you have limited knowledge about UI/UX design and website development, you’ll need a consulting firm. You can’t take a chance that your site ends up with a poor design.
Your website has low engagement.
If your site has a high bounce rate, it means visitors aren’t interested enough to explore the website’s content. This could be because of poor website design, slow loading times, or weak content.
You aren't sure if you need to build a new website or can just renovate your existing site.
A consultant may advise that you can simply renovate your existing website to address any issues. In some cases, they may even suggest that your website is functioning perfectly fine and does not require any changes.
You have limited resources for an in-house web development team.
In-house web development teams may not be feasible for small teams or startups. This is where web development consulting services come in. They can provide the expertise you need to build and maintain a strong online presence at a fraction of the cost.
You want to improve your website’s SEO.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for ensuring your website appears at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). A web development consulting firm can help you improve your website's SEO and search engine rankings.
Web development consulting fees vary from one consultant to another and will depend on the project.
When researching potential services, it’s essential to get an understanding of what they include in their fees. Be sure to ask questions about any additional costs that could arise as well as how fees are billed.
When discussing pricing with a website consultant, establish a clear time frame for the project. Many providers may have different hourly rates based on the expected hours required to complete your project successfully. This information helps you decide if hiring a website consultant is feasible and how much to allocate for the project budget.
The Brand Auditors’ web development consulting services can help you implement solutions designed specifically for your company’s goals, industry, and budget. Our experienced web development consultants provide technical expertise and guidance for any web strategy, in-house or outsourced. With our website management plan, you control your site, not designers or hosting companies.
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