A useful analogy for the process of getting your website online comes from the kitchen. You can get food either by cooking it using fresh ingredients (web hosting) or ready meals (website builder) – essentially building your own website. There’s also a third way and that’s to use someone else to do it for you.
This is where web design agencies, colloquially called website designer services come into play; after all, if you’re busy focusing on your core business already, then managing your online presence beyond your website is likely to require far more than a couple of minutes a day.
Then there’s the risk of getting things horribly wrong: from SEO to monitoring your website health, to setting up DDoS protection and CDN, there’s a lot to learn and take in. Understandably, not easy if your day-to-day job is baking cakes, wedding photography or writing novels.
Just like antivirus, as a term, has evolved to cover more than just detecting and removing viruses, web design services now provide far more than just templates for your branded website. Many are what in the jargon known as “full service agency”, one-stop-shops that often charge a recurring fee on top of an initial one to be your outsourced online virtual assistant.
How did we choose the best web design services?
There are literally tens of thousands of agencies out there, across all time zones and for all budgets. Reviewing them individually would be impossible because each client brief is different, yielding potentially millions of permutations.
So how can you know which ones you’d trust with your online presence? We have researched the market for hours using our expertise and narrowed down the top website designer services from the most recognized and trusted brands in the market.
It turns out that all major web hosting and website builders companies offer a white glove service and given their clout, they should be your first port of call as they own the entire stack including the servers that will host your website, something that smaller boutique web designer companies can’t afford.
These are the best website design services
Web.com wants to take the hassle of building, maintaining and marketing your website out of your hands to allow you to concentrate on running your business. Running on WordPress, it offers a flexible platform which should be enough for any budding startups and small businesses; you have to fork out an upfront fee with no additional recurrent fees. Most importantly perhaps, you also get a dedicated account manager, a single point of contact as well as live support.
Customers also have the option to plug add-on features like a gallery, a rotating banner or an online store, one that allows you to list up to 50 products. We would have loved to get more details about the plan(s) on the page instead. How long does it take? How many revisions are allowed? Any special features offered (e.g. online form, social media integration). Web.com’s customer service is only a call away to answer all your burning questions so maybe that’s all part of the strategy from the onset.
Once you get your website off the ground but want to move to the next level, who do you call? Well, Bluehost’s professional services would be a good place to start. They’re ranked first on our best web hosting buyers guide and to say that they are knowledgeable at what they do would be a serious understatement. This is essentially a fully-fledged website design consultancy that tries to cater for all scenarios (site migration, PPC marketing, website management, SEO, redesign etc) and as such, the pricing structure is not clear from the onset.
You will need to book a call with one of their experts to decide which professional services match your needs. Just be aware that the services carry a 6-month commitment with an early cancellation fee of $300 with an additional fee of the difference between the total fees already paid and $2,000. Note that the service has only been rolled out in six English-speaking countries with more to follow.
One of the biggest independent web hosting services around, Inmotion Hosting, promises to get you a fully functional, one page website in 48 hours for just $249, a one-time cost. The aptly-named QuickStarter has a simple four step process; buy the package, fill a form after having spoken to someone over the phone, check whether all the information is ready on the live QuickStarter website and presto! There you go.
The superfast turnaround is due to the fact that it is built on WordPress, which means that by default, it is mobile-friendly. The basic package doesn’t offer the option of adding additional pages or consultation; you will have to fork out an extra $100 for this. QuickStarter Plus also offers Instagram-powered galleries, interactive Google Map, automatic site backups and discounted hourly services ($99/hour) to update your website if you are not confident enough to do it yourself.
From one of the biggest web hosting companies in the world, Ionos, comes MyWebsite Design Service which clearly targets novices with a bit more ambition than just a one-pager. This web design service has three tiers with a fixed $199 setup fee that takes care of building the actual website and a free domain name. You can have up to seven custom pages – built after a design consultation period – but no option to buy more.
Note MyWebsite has a minimum contract term of 12 months at the end of which, you can keep your site without the design service for a small fee. Its top tier is probably the best value for money as it offers unlimited website edits (apparently without strings attached) and up to two hours worth of “HTML/CSS code adjustments”, a feature that will likely leave many quizzical.
We love the fact that Ionos includes automated security checks and automatic translation in over 60 languages by default although we’d have loved to have a more complete list of features they include (like a form builder or gallery).
The largest web hosting company out there, Godaddy, offers a website design service that looks to strike the right balance between simplicity and versatility, with a particular focus on e-commerce hosting. As for other rivals, Godaddy website design service offers consultation and a mobile-responsive site. Its plans however offer up to 10 pages and extra functionality such as scheduling, online booking plus appointments and professionally written content.
The four plans that Godaddy offers are divided into two categories – websites and web stores – and use a blend of technology: WordPress + Woocommerce, Godaddy’s proprietary Websites + Marketing platform and others. All plans offer one round of revisions and a free domain plus Microsoft 365 email for one year. Just be cognizant that the process does take time, between 28 and 42 days according to Godaddy and note that there is a one-time fee for the initial fee and then an annual hosting fee.
What are website design services?
At its core, a web design service will deliver a website design that matches your expectations. In other words, you will find yourself with a set of image files that espouse your brand philosophy. From there, you can either opt to look for someone else to actually build your website or check whether the web design agency offers web building services, if they haven’t already offered this option.
What are the other options out there?
You could use websites like Freelancer.com or Fiverr.com (or any of the sites in our best freelancer website guide) in order to get your website running but that would require time, dedication, management and follow-ups plus having to deal with a third party through a platform. Domain.com, Vistaprint, Web.com, Hostinger, Wix, Squarespace, Dreamhost, Hostpapa and WordPress all offer services to help businesses build their websites and augment their online presence; these services ranges from acting as a proxy via marketplaces, all the way to being an extension of a business with a dedicated team looking after your website.