121 Web Design
121 Web Design are based in the West Yorkshire city of Leeds and employ 22 members of staff. They were founded in the Olympic year of 2012 and have found a niche in creating websites which are, first and foremost, affordable.
After a thorough review by our team of researchers we have given 121 a rating of 9.4 out of 10, making them the bronze medal winners amongst the crowded field of website design companies.
121 were founded by Simon Macbeth in response to his struggle to find a company which offered a quality service at an affordable price. The 121 website makes it clear that affordability is at the heart of what they do. We found that a dummy quote we requested met this standard and more importantly in our eyes 121 did not attempt to sell us any services that were unnecessary to our requirements – unlike a number of companies we have approached in the past.
Despite 121’s affordable packages we found they include all the services one would expect of a professional design company, including SEO, Web Hosting, Copy Writing plus support with Social Media and Marketing. They also offer a full branding service, including competitively priced logo design and creating materials such as leaflets and posters.
Our team’s approach when reviewing companies who put affordability at the heart of their business is one of trepidation as we’ve found in the past that lower prices regularly equals lower quality of work. We are delighted to say 121 differ hugely in this area and having explored a number of websites they have designed and built, we found the quality was similar to the output of designers charging 3 to 4 times as much. It is because of this quality, alongside the pricing structure, that we awarded 121 Web Design a 9.4 rating.
When Simon Macbeth established 121 in 2012 his first priority was to create websites on his client’s behalf that were visually striking and encouraged visitors to engage with them. As design trends have changed we found 121’s portfolio was reflective of this.
Their ever-expanding team also build websites which are easy to navigate. This plays a significant role in enhancing the user experience and reduces the risk of visitors becoming confused and leaving the site due to frustration.
121 Web Design were born with the core principle that the services they provided would be affordable. Despite the growth of the company this remains at the heart of what they do. Of all the companies we have reviewed we confidently state that 121 are unquestionably the best value for money.
The other thing we were really struck by was the range of services that 121 Web Design offer their clients and all following the principle of being affordable.
121 may be primarily a website designers, but they offer a full branding package too. This includes the lowest cost we’ve ever seen logo design service.
Our reviewers were impressed by the quality, consistency and professional impression created by this aspect of 121’s portfolio. In keeping with much of their services the Branding Packages were affordable as well as thorough.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of optimising your websites content to search engines such as Google.
When our team looked into 121’s staff we found they employ specialist writers who all write content for your webpages with a focus on SEO. They also offer affordable packages where they will update and monitor the coding on your pages to help ranking, as well as incorporating a social media strategy to boost traffic even further.
Are 121 Web Design Right For You?
Rated 9.4 out of 10.
The company is based just outside Leeds City Centre in West Yorkshire. We were conscious that lower pricing can on occasion mean lower quality so were pleasantly surprised at how thorough 121 are when designing and developing websites. Past experience has taught us that companies whose prices are at the lower end of the scale are capable of producing visually fantastic websites but the backend of the site, the SEO features and the coding tends to let them down.
Our comprehensive research, which included SEO audits on several 121 designed websites, found they differ markedly from others by maintaining that hallmark of quality across all their web pages. This was one of the principal reasons we chose to bestow a rating of 9.4 out of 10 on the North Leeds agency.
121 Web Design Service Overview
A cursory glance through 121’s own website makes it abundantly clear they are immensely proud of offering their services at affordable prices. As impressive as we find this commitment, our team are far more interested in the actual quality of work. We’ve explored 121’s full repertoire and explain why we’ve rated them so highly.
This low cost company was founded by Simon Macbeth the company’s primary service was to design bespoke websites for small businesses and start ups. This remains their main line of work to this day. Such is 121’s affordable pricing structure we found websites they had designed were for client’s personal use, rather than a company.
Across 121’s portfolio we found a variety of styles and designs incorporated into different websites. One of the key tactics they employ is to make sure every page on a website they build a similar style and layout. By doing this we have found it reduces a visitor becoming overwhelmed and it is a subtle, yet vital, trick used by the company. A small detail, but one that particularly struck our review team.
An issue we regularly find with low cost designers is that they tend to be very rigid in what they produce – different websites have many similarities. Happily, 121 haven’t fallen into this trap and their portfolio, as well as additional past projects we researched, contained significant differences, both visually and in the coding, across different projects and websites.
All website design companies offer an ecommerce website design service, and 121 are no exception. They claim to specialise in creating ecommerce websites which are simple to navigate, and our reviewers found this to be true in all the websites they had designed.
We discovered 121 have a small team whose sole task is to design and create ecommerce websites. This means an ecommerce website built by them is designed and developed by specialists in the field. Our reviewers were suitably impressed by the designs utilised, while it’s well worth reiterating just how user friendly we found their navigation tools.
121 make use of the WooCommerce management system which is rightly thought of in the industry as the easiest to use for website owners after a site is built and live. 121 take the time to offer training in this area and all client’s we consulted agreed that updating and adding content to their online store was a simple process, made easier by the thorough training they had received from one of 121’s ecommerce experts.
Search engine optimisation (SEO for short) is a service 121 offer either as part of their design packages or as a stand-alone product for companies with websites already live. A websites ranking in Google can significantly increase its traffic and we found 121’s understanding of how Google ranks websites second to none.
They build all web pages to be optimised for SEO and include backlinks only where appropriate. This is crucial as Google algorithms change and update constantly so having the ability to adapt their methods is one of the reasons 121 impressed our team to point where we felt comfortable awarding them third place in our league table of web designers in the UK.
Part of the service 121 offer is also content writing for their clients. We found this content was written in a way that not only met its primary objective of informing a reader but also met Google’s algorithm requirements. This increases the likelihood of a website placing higher in Google search results, and therefore providing a significant boost to website traffic levels.
For a website to be available to browsers on the internet a website will require a web hosting service. There are many different hosting packages available which when purchased privately can prove expensive, not to mention complex to understand the exact components you will receive.
We found all the website design packages offered by 121 include 12 months hosting, by them, at no additional cost. We always recommend that wherever possible a client has their website hosted by the company who designed it. This means that in the event of any issues the people who know your site better than anyone are on hand to resolve them.
Our team found no evidence of hosting problems with 121 however. They offer a full range of hosting platforms and we were very impressed that, despite their commitment to affordability and low cost, they did not simply place all clients on the lowest possible platform. Several previous clients who had traffic that warranted dedicated server hosting were receiving it through 121.
While not strictly part of the design service, we feel it important to explain why we have included 121’s branding and marketing services in our review. Many companies now offer some of assistance with their client’s branding and marketing. The issue for many is it feels as if this capability is merely an afterthought, with little time or effort expended by most.
Very quickly our team noted that 121 Web Design were different. Firstly, they employ specialist members of staff who are trained solely in both graphic design and in marketing. This differs from other companies we’ve researched who simply ask their web designers ‘to try’ implement a marketing strategy or produce marketing paraphernalia. The results when amateurs attempt these tasks can be disastrous so Simon Macbeth’s decision to employ experts rather than attempt the task himself has really impressed us.
The method of keeping all your branding under the same roof as the website design means you can create a consistency across your brand and we’ve previously found these impresses consumers.
Your Project Time Frame
Each project is completely unique with a variety of different needs and requirements. Due to this reviewing time frames of projects a challenging task for our team of researchers.
Our experiences have taught us that many lower cost website developers tend to take on many projects and consequently take longer to complete them. However, we found that 121 set realistic, fair timetables for different tasks in a project and we uncovered no evidence from past clients of these agreed deadlines not being met.
Simon Macbeth makes very clear in his statement on 121’s website that it was his experience of receiving poor customer service from a number of web designers that inspired and prompted him to found 121. Despite this noble statement we’ve found regularly in research of companies up and down the UK that customer service seems to be forgotten and considered an afterthought.
This company however certainly don’t belong in that group. We found that customer service remains at the forefront of what they do. Client’s reported feeling involved in their projects, their opinions respected and communication seamless and open.
As we have alluded to throughout this review of 121 Web Design, we have found that the lower costs they charge have not impacted negatively on both the quality of the work they produce, or the skillset of the people they have employed. We found their expertise in not just web design, but SEO, marketing and branding services to be at a level as high as companies charging significantly more.
The portfolio on 121’s website impressed our team and those websites certainly do not give the impression of being built by a design agency specialising in affordable website design.
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In any line of work one of the most effective methods of learning about a company’s standard of work and service is from previous customers. The website design industry is no exception and small companies who use web designers whose pricing structures are at the lower end of the scale are far quicker to leave reviews than larger organisations.
Our research uncovered many positive reviews on several third-party websites such as Google, Yelp and the Online Retailers Directory.
Phrases such as ‘professional service’, ‘quick responses to questions’ and ‘would definitely use 121 again’ were seen more than once. The reviews our researchers found almost all supported our findings that this company were one of the best value for money agencies in the country.
Amongst the areas covered in the reviews we found not only satisfied customers delighted with the service, but others gushing about the outcome of their logo design project and SEO advise. Again, we noted the number of clients not only delighted with the price they’d paid and quality of the work, but also the speed with which it was completed.
Read 121 Web Design’s Testimonials
Click the below to read customer testimonials we have found online for 121 Web Design.
121 Web Design’s Main Services
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