Web Design vs. Web Development – What’s the Difference?

As an entrepreneur, sometimes you’ll have a really great idea that won’t quite fit into the boundaries of a traditional WordPress or eCommerce site. There are many plugins and extensions available for each platform that can help make your ideas work but in some cases something more custom-made is better suited for your needs.

So…Web Design or Web Development?

The terms are often used interchangeably, but for the sake of clarity in this article we’re going to differentiate between the two. Web design typically refers to creating the layout and overall look of your site. Web development refers to the actual nitty-gritty of building a site or app like writing code and making major changes to established frameworks.

At ITD Interactive we primarily do our work on two platforms: WordPress for “normal” websites and Magento for eCommerce sites. Both are open source, secure solutions with a rich support network that make building sites for local businesses efficient and cost-effective. If you’ve got a more complicated idea than a standard WordPress or Magento site, custom development may be a better option.

Web Development Work is Customized for You

Since every client is different, our custom development work is a whole new piece of work for each client. One website might need a custom-made price calculator while another might need a color picker to help customers design buildings.

The great thing about WordPress and Magento is they’re easily adaptable with all kinds of available resources, meaning we have everything we need to make your idea work without breaking your budget.

Custom Web Development is Secure and Efficient

WordPress and Magento are open-source platforms, meaning anyone is free to build “plugins” or “extensions” that add new features to a website. Plugins can be useful to quickly make a site come to life but using too many of them can quickly bog your site down with unnecessary functions. Many plugins can be old and out of date with many vulnerabilities that leave your site open to malicious hackers. Other plugins can be full of added features you don’t even need.

Opting for a custom-built website or plugin means you get only what you need out of your website without any bloated unnecessary features that make your site slower and easier for hackers to break into. When you choose to go the custom development route you get only what you pay for — not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Custom Web Development Gives You Complete Control

Since you’re basically starting from scratch, every single facet of your project is totally up to you from the general look and feel of the site to how it reacts to input from users. We’ll work with you to make sure your site looks just the way you want it and works in a way that will keep your users coming back.

This level of customizability gives you an added benefit in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) because we’ll be able to precisely fine-tune it to get you the best results possible without any of the filler that comes in cookie-cutter website templates.

Maybe Web Design is All You Need!

If this all sounds overwhelming and you just need a simple, basic website or eCommerce store, we can certainly help you out with that too! Visit our Web Design services page or read more on our web design and marketing blog for more information.

Your ITD Interactive Project is Yours

Once your site or app is finished by ITD Interactive, it gets turned over to you as the owner whether you’re a web design or full development customer. We don’t retain the rights or hold your site hostage if you decide to move your it to another hosting or maintenance service in the future. Many one-size-fits-all website solutions leave you tied to a contract that means if you stop paying you no longer have a website and have to start from scratch.

With your ideas and our expertise, we can build something together that will make building your brand and business easier than ever before. Ask us how to get started today!

Website Redesign Case Study: White Construction Company

ITD Interactive Website Redesign Case Study: White Construction Company

“The website has been very beneficial for our company! I have seen an increase in leads coming in through our website. I am very pleased with the design and layout of our new website and our new website is more user friendly now. The new design your own building page gives our customers a visual of what color their new building will be. Having an up to date website makes our company stand out above the rest.”– Brandon White, Owner/Manager of White Construction

White Construction is a family-owned business in Johnson City, Tennessee that specializes in the sales and construction of metal roofing and “post frame buildings,” a type of structure that uses heavy wood beams as the frame with a metal roof on top. They approached ITD Interactive about a total site overhaul in early 2017.

White Construction’s existing website was built around 2007 and hadn’t changed much in the ten years since. It mainly served as a place to put contact information, general details about the business, and photos of completed construction projects. They wanted a new site with a more modern look that would be mobile-friendly, easy to update in-house and offer more content for potential customers to see. During the planning phase co-owner Brandon White also had an idea – what if there was a way for customers to visualize what their building might look like with their hundreds of color combinations?

The process began with a new brand for White Construction including a logo and color scheme. ITDi then developed a clean layout for the site with a consolidated navigation menu that organized the site’s content in a more user-friendly way that would also work well on mobile. A call to action was placed in a convenient location on appropriate pages to make it easy for customers to request quotes for their projects. We also visited White Construction’s location to take photos of their office and warehouse as well as building materials to use as textures on the page.

Creating a “Design Your Own Building” Page

Once the site was up and running, we began working on a solution for a building design tool customers could use to customize their project. Working from a high-resolution photo of a White Construction building we took, we created a Javascript-based tool that allows the user to select from any combination of the 17 colors of metal White Construction can offer for roofs, siding and trim. The photo of the building updates in real-time based on the options the user selects. Click here to see the White Construction building designer in action.

The Results of White Construction’s Redesign

Brandon White says they’ve noticed a marked increase in leads coming from their new website. Many users have noted the ease of using the site, as well as the how convenient the custom color tool is when deciding what colors to choose for their building. On launch we showed Brandon how he can use Google’s Real-Time Analytics tool to watch how traffic reacts on his website after one of the company’s commercials airs on local television stations to monitor what pages they’re visiting the most, which allowed us to retool the front page for an easier user experience.

Statistically the site is doing very well a year and a half after launch. There has been a steady increase of new visitors and the average user spends over three minutes on the site with the Gallery, Design Your Building and Contact Us for a Quote pages being among the most-visited on the site, offering an easy path for users to learn who White Construction is, what they do, and how to get started on a new project.

Does your website need a facelift or a total overhaul? Contact ITD Interactive today and get these kinds of results for your business! We’ll work with you to develop the perfect site to fit your business model and increase your bottom line.

 

Why Does My Website Say ‘Not Secure’?

If you’re a Google Chrome user, you might have noticed your updated browser is now telling you that some sites are “Not Secure” in big red letters. If you’re a business owner with your own website that’s being flagged this might be even more concerning to you. If you’re wondering what this means and how you can fix it, read on for the full story about SSL and You!

Dealing with Not Secure Website Warnings?Google announced in early 2018 that starting in July their Chrome browser, the most-used desktop browser by a wide margin, would start flagging unsecure sites that aren’t using HTTPS encryption. HTTPS in plain English is the secure version of HTTP, which is one of the basic ways websites are accessed on the internet. HTTPS normally uses SSL for encryption, one type of security certificate that keeps private information transmitted on your site safe from snooping middlemen.

Think about it this way: imagine HTTP is the front door of your business and it has a standard doorknob with a regular old lock on it that you keep locked after hours just in case. HTTPS is that same door but with extra deadbolts added on to beef up your security and keep criminals out.

That’s not to say that any site without HTTPS encryption is automatically in danger of door-kicking hackers! If your site isn’t using outdated contact forms to send private information such as Social Security Numbers, financial information, etc., your site and its users probably aren’t in any real immediate danger without an SSL certificate protecting your site. The reason Google is enforcing this new rule is to encourage site owners to make the switch to HTTPS to create a more secure web with secure and encrypted sites being the default, not the other way around. It’s a great idea in theory, but the only problem with that is many security certificates can be expensive and difficult to install and maintain, many requiring yearly renewals.

If you’re a small business owner who needs a website and you’re scratching your head about all of this, that’s where ITD Interactive comes in! Our standard hosting package for WordPress sites includes a 100% free SSL certificate that we install and maintain for you. You’ll be automatically upgraded to an HTTPS site without any hassle or yearly renewal fees. Your site will be more secure and your users who visit your site in Google Chrome won’t get that annoying message that implies that your site is not safe to visit.  We can also offer more heavyweight worry-free SSL certificates for eCommerce and medical websites that need added protection for an added cost.

If you’ve already got a website you’re happy with, you can still take advantage of this offer. Switch to ITD Interactive hosting and we’ll move an exact copy of your WordPress site to our ultra-secure servers and get your free SSL certificate up and running in minutes. Click here for pricing and more information.

9 Traits Of The Best Website Design Companies

Awesome website designersIf you are looking for the best website design companies in the business, how will you know when you have found one?  What are the common traits?

We’ve been in the web design industry a long time and we’ve identified 9 traits that we want to see in our own business.  These are our own internal goals and these are things you should look for when shopping for web designers.

9 Traits Of The Best Website Design Companies

  1. Thick Glasses & Awesome Sweaters.  Now on to #2 . . .
  2. Set Deadlines – One question you should ask and most web designers will not want to give you a firm answer on is “When will my website be finished?”  We pointed out in How Long Does It Take To Make A Website that the answers, if they are even given, are all over the board and very few are specific enough to be meaningful.  What the average web designer will give you is a very rough estimate.  The project can turn into a nightmare-ishly long process in which everybody involved becomes frustrated.  That’s one of the reasons we developed One Week Website.  Both sides need real deadlines to get the job done efficiently and well.
  3. Meet Deadlines – It’s great to set deadlines, but what happens if they are not met?  Did you know that contractors in the construction business actually have monetary incentives to meet deadlines?  We approach web design in the same way.  If we don’t meet a deadline in our One Week Website process, you don’t pay as much.  Yes, we’re serious.  Make sure your web design company sets deadlines and ask them what happens if they don’t meet them.

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Looking for Straight-Forward Web Design Packages?

Small Business Web Design PackagesShopping for a web design company can be a difficult task. As a consumer, you have to educate yourself as to what you are looking for, and try to arm yourself with enough knowledge to carry on a conversation or negotiation with the web design firm.  Straight-forward Web Design Packages go a long way toward making this conversation, and decision much easier. What should you look for when shopping for web design packages?

Web Design Packages should clearly state features.

Be wary of packages that only focus on page counts.  In today’s world of content-management systems, page counts really aren’t an adequate measurement of the size of a website.  Overall complexity and the number of features have much more to do with the price of a web design project.  Check the company’s packages for clearly stated features and benefits, and look for benefits that result in bottom line increases. (more…)

General, Search Engine Optimization, Website Design, Websites