Custom web development 101:
Everything you need to know

By Ikius Team

30th August, 2022

A website is often the first contact between the company and its potential customers or clients for businesses and brands. However, a simple WordPress website won't cut it if you want to scale in today's changing digital world. 

This is where custom web development comes in. 

Custom web development is the process of creating a website from scratch that is designed specifically for your business and brand. 

In other words, a custom-developed website is not a "cookie-cutter" solution like many template-based or off-the-shelf WordPress websites are. Instead, a custom website is tailored to your specific business needs and goals. 

While custom web development may seem daunting and expensive, the benefits of investing in a custom website design far outweigh the costs. A well-designed, a custom website will help you achieve your business goals, reach your target audience, and differentiate your business from your competitors. 

Keep reading to learn more about custom web development and what it can do for your business. 

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What is custom web development?

Custom web development creates a unique website or web app for a specific client or organization. This process usually involves working with a web development agency that will consider your particular needs and goals when building your site. 

While some companies think they can get away with a WordPress pre-made website template or theme for their website, most will eventually need to invest in custom web development if they want to stay competitive.

Templates can help you save time and cut corners, but they can be clunky and challenging to customize.

🧠 Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with using readymade templates or WordPress because it will definitely help you get something done in a pinch, but it's not what you should aim for, especially if you want to customize your website and go omnichannel with your product or service.

Web development vs. web design

Now that we got that sorted, let's address a common misconception. Web development isn't the same as web design.

👓 Web development is the process of building a website from the ground up. This involves coding HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create the site's structure, layout, and appearance. On the other hand, custom web design focuses on the visual side of things. Designers use color, typography, imagery, and other elements to create an aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly interface. 

Developers handle the behind-the-scenes functionality of a website, such as setting up server-side scripts to power dynamic content or managing eCommerce transactions. In short, web developers are responsible for making a website work. 

A good web designer will also have a keen eye for usability, ensuring that visitors can easily navigate their way around the site. Finally, while web designers don't need to know how to code, they need to communicate effectively with developers so that developers can bring their designs to life. 

Why do you need a custom web development solution?

It's great for complex websites

Custom web development will also allow you to scale your website as your business grows. If you start with a basic template or theme, you may eventually find yourself limited by what you can do with your site. However, once you've invested in a custom web application development project, the sky's the limit regarding what you can add to your site. 

🛠️ We worked with Teleport's marketing team as their team extension to migrate their Markdown-managed content to Sanity.io Headless CMS. This enabled centralized and efficient content management for Teleport's multi-user team. Check what we did for Teleport.

It gives your website a unique look and feel

There are millions of websites out there, so it's essential to have one that reflects your specific brand and voice. An agency can build a website that meets all of your specific business needs. Whether you need an eCommerce platform or a way to showcase your portfolio, there's a custom solution for you. 

It's a sound long-term investment

While custom websites and digital experiences tend to be more expensive than setting a WordPress website and calling it a website, it's still a better investment in the long run if you compare it with a traditional website that wasn't built to scale. A custom website design can scale with you, and if you make a modular digital experience using headless technology, you will future-proof your website for the years to come. 

It delivers a fantastic user experience

A well-designed website should be easy for users to navigate and provide them with the information they want. With a custom web development solution, you'll be able to ensure that your website meets all of these criteria. You can create a visually appealing and user-friendly website with a professional developer. This will help improve the overall experience for users, which will, in turn, help increase conversion rates. 

🎤 Hotel Radio's platform enables Heavy Music Live Streaming to thousands of users worldwide. The platform makes it easy to watch and experience authentic Live Streams, no matter where you are. Take a look at our work for Hotel Radio.

It allows better SEO 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential for any website looking to rank highly on search engine results pages. A custom web development solution allows you to optimize your website for better search engine rankings from the start using better frameworks and content management systems. By working with a developer who understands how SEO works, you can ensure that your site is designed so that it will be more likely to rank highly. This will help you attract more organic traffic and ultimately grow your business. 

The drawbacks of building a custom web solution

It's expensive upfront

One of the main drawbacks of Having a custom web solution built is the increased cost. In most cases, it will be more expensive to have a custom solution created than it would be to use an off-the-shelf software product. This is because, with a custom solution, you are paying for the development time required to create the software from scratch. In addition, you may also need to pay for ongoing maintenance and support costs. 

It's more complicated than just using WordPress

Another drawback of building a custom web solution is that it can take significantly longer to develop than using an existing platform or template. This is because everything needs to be created from scratch, which takes time. 

When do you need custom website development solutions?

You need a custom website if you: 

  • You have a healthy budget

  • You have very specific requirements

  • You have an innovative product or service

  • You want to create a unique digital experience

  • You want to provide the best user experience possible

An X-ray look into the custom web development process

 Let's use our own household six-step process so you can get an idea of how a typical web development project works:

  1. Platform consulting: Before we get cracking, you need to choose the best platform to serve as the neural center of your website. At Ikius, we don't use WordPress; we build using a headless content management system. We choose the best platform for you based on your needs to ensure your website rests on the best platform for your use case.

  2. Project management: At Ikius, every project has a dedicated project manager to ensure your next-gen project is executed professionally and promptly. A project manager ensures that information and assets are passed from you to our development team and that no data is lost.

  3. Development: All software development should be based on carefully defined functional and non-functional requirements that should be included in your proposal document. 

  4. Quality Assurance: All applications and software must be tested to ensure the quality of the final deliverable. As a part of the project, an agency should manage testing and quality assurance for you.

  5. Deployment: Deploying software requires careful planning and an action plan to make sure new apps or website migrations are deployed and available with minimal downtime and complications.

  6. Training and support: To ensure that everything stays in top shape, a web development agency should provide extensive training to onboard your team to the new system they've created for you. This includes comprehensive developer and system documentation for technical and non-technical people. At Ikius, for instance, we set up workshops to onboard your whole team in a live training session with our team.

Getting started with custom web development

  • Be crystal-clear about your business goals: Start by defining what you want to accomplish with this web project. What's the scope, what is your audience, and what do you want people to do on your website? 

  • Look for the right partner to help you build your custom solution: Custom development can be time-consuming, so you might want to choose a web development agency with a stellar track record to help you take your ideas to execution. 

  • Set a healthy budget for the project: Whether you decide to develop in-house or not, you need to set a budget for the development process. Your budget will dictate your web development project's features, functionalities, and scope. 

  • Create prototypes and mockups: Remember, web design and web development are two different things, and some web dev agencies don't deal with web design. However, most web development agencies will ask you if you have prototypes or mockups of what you want or have in mind before.

Our work building custom web applications and websites

Teleport

We worked with Teleport's marketing team as their team extension to migrate their Markdown-managed content to Sanity.io Headless CMS. This enabled centralized and efficient content management for Teleport's multi-user team. This included consulting services and helping them pick the best tool stack to set up marketing and A/B testing scripts.

🚢 Teleport: Custom development and team extension for an IT platform

UJET

Our dedicated development team worked with UJET, the world’s most advanced cloud contact center, to migrate their old WordPress website to Next.js and Agility CMS. By migrating to the Jamstack architecture and Headless solutions, we optimized the site for 4x the performance compared to their old WordPress website.

✈️ UJET: Website migration and development

Closing words: When is custom website development a good idea

A custom web development solution is an essential investment for any business looking to succeed online. By increasing efficiency, improving user experience, and bettering search engine rankings, custom web development services will help you reach new heights. 

Custom website development allows you to create a unique website that meets all your specific business needs and will enable you to scale up as your business grows.

It is usually the best option if you want a scalable website that integrates with modern platforms and third-party applications. 

If you're interested in getting started with custom web development, the first step is finding reputable web development services like Ikius. Once you've found a company you trust, the next step is communicating your vision for your website.

So, if you're ready to build a new website, contact us and let's get cooking. 

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