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What are web development services?

Are web development services different than web design services? What do you need and how do you know the difference? It can be very confusing for sure, especially because so many people in the WordPress industry use these terms variably and loosely to describe a lot of different things.

We tend to be very loosey goosey with our vocabulary here in the web development world. I was once asked about our name, Sumy Designs, because it seemed to indicate that we only do designs. But there was a time, back in the olden days of the early 2000s when we started our business, that “web development” wasn’t a thing. You were a web designer. And even though I’m not designer, I’m still often called a web designer, because that’s what people know and understand.

So it can be super confusing to know what’s web design and what’s web development and where the line is drawn.

Web Design Services

This term is often used to describe any type of design aspect of anything that goes on the web – usually websites, but can be used to encompass all types of website services. It can be used in the broader context to describe anything from web design, development, theme building, SEO, and marketing. On our own services page we use it in that manner, as an umbrella term to cover all our services, which can include:

  • design
  • development
  • business card design and print design
  • logo design
  • online marketing
  • SEO

However, many people prefer to use it as a specific service that encompasses just website design and wouldn’t include the building of the website or any other additional services. Different companies are likely going to use this term differently and it can be broad and varied. Sorry about that.

Web Development Services

Web Development Services

Funny thing about this term is that it can also be used to describe a myriad of online services OR specifically be used for one type of online service. Many in the web field will use this phrase to describe both design and development and other online services, while some may use this phrase to refer to coding or theme building only.

Some will argue that there isn’t room to debate the merits of how we use these terms, but I wouldn’t be one of them. English is a fluid language and many words and phrases have a variety of meanings in different contexts, so I think there’s wiggle room for how we use these terms too. Of course, this doesn’t make it easier for the business owner to determine if they need web design or web development services.

In the WordPress industry, web development services can be used to describe everything that goes into a website that isn’t actually design. And now that the field of web design and development has become so vast, you’ll often find people who just do design and just do development. If you find a great developer who doesn’t do design, that will get your site working great, but not necessarily looking great.

Typically, though, if you hear the phrase web development services, it refers to building a website, the backend stuff that makes a website work. That can be creating a theme, coding a plugin, and more. For me, when I think of web development, it’s really about figuring out what a website needs to function as it’s intended and to meet the end goal of the owner and website user. That means I need to figure out which plugins are needed, how to configure the plugins so they work effectively, and creating a website that not only matches the design that was given to me, but meets the goals we designated at the start of the project. It’s simply making the website work.

So do you need design? Or development? How do you know?

The answer, in most cases, is that you need both. You need someone to both design a website (make it look great) and someone to develop a website (make it work great). Sometimes that’s the same person and sometimes it’s not. At Sumy Designs, we are a team that comprises a website designer (Susan) and a front-end developer (Amy) who work together to bring a website to life. We have a number of colleagues who can do both design and development together. Do you need someone who can do it all or a team who does it together? That’s a debate for another day.

Need help with web development services? Request a free quote today!

Amy Masson

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

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