It can be bewildering to find a reliable web design and development agency, we often find that customers’ decisions in the end are based on prices they are quoted. Particularly as so many local webdesign companies offer a wide range of products, prices, examples and technical solutions. This is ok of course as long as ‘like for like’ solutions are being compared that will meet with your objectives.
In essence as I see it there are two MAIN types of web designs that I typically come across with customers:

  1. Graphic Design Websites  – Focussed On The Visual Aesthetics Of The Web Site
  2. SEO Websites                          – Focussed On Google SEO and Customer Conversions

Both of these can also be E-Commerce sites with a shopping cart facility and of course both will have an element of visual design included so they look pleasing to a visitor to your site. The level of emphasis of these 2 options ‘Graphics And Visuals’ Versus ‘Google Search Potential’ often dictates the price that is then quoted by a Website Designer or Web Design Agency.

As to which choice or blend of the choices you should consider depends on your marketing strategy. There is often a clear choice as to which options to select driven by your strategic objectives typically divided into ‘branding’ or ‘sales’.

Following are some outlines, that don’t delve too deeply into technical aspects, which may help you to clarify which option to take:


This approach is often used by graphic designers who place an emphasis on the look of the website, with much of the price they quote coming from the graphics, logos and sourcing of images to make your site look great. Their overall web design and development perspective is visually biased. The percentage of the quote focussed on ensuring the site is built to be found in Google (SEO or Organic Search) is often limited.

A good example of where this website type is most applicable is where a large marketing budget is spent on print or television advertising which drives customers to the website by directly typing in your web address or business name. This might apply for example to Gucci or Givenchy where the brand name is extremely well known. It wouldn’t apply for example to “XYZAccounting Business Shoreditch” who recently launched and are relatively unknown.

Sites built in this visual way, orientated towards their ‘look’, are often referred to as ‘Corporate Presence’ or ‘Brand Websites’ or in other words a beautiful shop front.

The price for the building of these sites is often relatively low. Typically in the £hundreds rather than £thousands with additional costs added for the photography or graphic design work making up the bulk of the overall price.

Delivery is completed when the site is launched, visual design applied and visible to customers by either entering the web address or business name into Google. Build time can range from 1week to 2 months (or more of course) depending on the number of web pages you require.


Significantly more time is required to research and build a SEO site that Google will reward your company with a higher position in its search results.

The emphasis of SEO websites is to heavily research phrases that customers will typically type into the Google search box when they are shopping or researching online. Then to create content, internal page links and backlinks coming from other reputable websites on your website that match the customers Google enquiry. These sites are designed to place your website (or store) as close as possible to traffic (customers) – so in effect a bit like placing your business on a busy high street, rather than in a remote village!

Ideally the aim is for your business to be found on Page 1 and Position 1 in Google search results for popular customer search terms that relate to your business. Businesses placed in this position will attract in the region of 40% of all ‘Clicks’ by customers and therefore significant business revenue potential.

The technical build of these website pages is more complex, web design and development taking longer than web sites designs purely to have an online presence. This is to ensure that many factors (estimated at around 100) that make your site pleasing to Google are considered and built in.

The price for these sites is often, on the face of it, significantly higher than the graphic design website option.

NB If the SEO quoted price is too low (in the £100s per month) be wary! Good SEO work for web design and development involves significant human resource time and typically starts around the high £hundreds up to £thousands per month for at least a 6 month period. Then on-going SEO maintenance and checking is required to adjust your website as Google changes its ‘rules’.

The main advantage of an SEO site is that is more likely than a ‘Branded Website’ to drive new business to your door. Considerable time is spent working converting customers who then visit your store into leads and/or customers. In addition if built correctly your website becomes a business asset (and not an expense like other marketing channels) that can be financially written down to the P&L account of your business.

Delivery in terms of being able to see your SEO website pages it takes about the same as for Graphic Design websites (so 1 week for a small site of say 4 pages, longer for more pages). However unlike graphic orientated sites delivery is not completed at this point. This is only so when your website starts being visible in Google results and this typically takes 3-6 months.


…between the two high level web design and development options and prices that you will often be quoted will vary accordingly. It is always best to compare ‘apples vs. apples’, so ‘SEO Website Vs. SEO Website’ rather than ‘Graphic Site Vs. SEO Web Site Design’.

Please contact me if you would like to discuss further or get advice on which is the best route to take for your business thanks!

Mark Elliott, Managing Director, Sparks4GrowthLtd.

Website Design And Development Involves More Than Purely Graphic Design

by | Nov 28, 2015