This post is for owners and managers of small to medium sized businesses who are considering investing in a new website or refreshing an existing website. It provides essential web design tips based on our experience and approach to designing, delivering and supporting websites and online solutions. Use this experience and wisdom to help yourself.
Rather than read the article watch the video! It takes you through the stages of website design and delivery, the underlying message being do not get lost in the detail, look at the bigger picture and how a website will add value to your business and will help you meet your goals.
Essential Web Design Tips for online expansion, using an auto repair business as an example.
Our web design options are in place to satisfy the needs of most small to medium sized business and to enable their business strategies by delivering an online presence and capabilities required to conduct business online. Websites perform many different purposes and the website types that we offer cater for the majority of use cases. A typical set of drivers for a vehicle repair shop includes:
It is our job to understand what they are and how they are addressed using the tools available to us.
Our Design and Delivery Cycle is a seven-stage process that asks and answers fundamental questions about:
Answers to these questions enables us to define the scope and design of a solution and the creative input required, to scope your SEO strategy and the required investment in time and money to make SEO worthwhile, website content, copywriting and audio visual content.
Specific objectives of your web project are defined from Design Cycle discussions. They may include:
Constraints help define the scope of a solution and include factors such as:
We help clients mitigate constraints to make way for a pragmatic solution.
Developing and agreeing on the scope of a solution is absolutely essential as this defines the design, features and timescales of a project.
Scope includes the shape and scale of a website in terms of pages, posts, content, functionality, plugins, support and much more.
It defines client input and what will be delivered by the design company. Equally important is to outline what is not inscope. SEO setup for example is very different to an SEO campaign.
‘Fit’ is simply how your website complements and adds value to how your business works.
There is little value having same-day tyre fitting for example if you cannot respond immediately with a quote or get stock fast enough.
On the other hand, you may want to embrace automation and put in place eCommerce and online appointment booking and may need help to make that happen.
Bottom line is that you need to know how your website ‘fits’ into your business and to take steps to address people, process and technology issues to blend your website into the way you work.
As established business will probably have a brand that is defined with a logo and inhouse colours and styles. Our Creative Services work within these guidelines. These services are:
Many businesses will not have their brand defined and consistently applied across their websites and social media and this is an area where we add value through discussion and research to create a brand personality that is used to design a website, and to create content and execute campaigns.
Put simply, your brand identity drives how your business and services are communicated. Alignment of your brand across websites, social media and offline is key. Know your brand, what it stands for and how your clients experience the services you provide. Measure and manage customer satisfaction. Protect your brand reputation. Use professionally produced copy, high quality photographs and video.
We work with clients promote their business, products and services online, offline and as hybrid campaigns.
We recommend that you do the following when launching a new website:
Of utmost importance is ongoing marketing of your website. Systematically create and publish content using SEO tools to keep your website relevant and easy to find in Google.
Website architecture has two dimensions – frontend architecture and backend architecture.
Frontend architecture is what visitor see and experience and interact with. These are pages, posts, headers, footers and navigation.
The backend is the technical engine of the website. It includes the URL, SSL, hosting, plugins and the Content Management Platform in the backend.
The interface between the two is the client dashboard that gives website authors and editors access to pages and posts whilst protecting the technical integrity of the site through restricted access to the backend.
Focus your efforts on keeping the front end populated with relevant and timely SEO aligned content and campaigns. Buy a support package to maintain the website, your time will probably be better spent on the frontend.
The design and delivery involves the construction of the front and backend end of a website along with the creation and placement of content.
Bringing the front and backend together requires coordination between the designer and client to approve mockups and technical iterations to build links between pages and content. This process continues and as the website matures it is tested prior to launch and going live.
Our design and delivery is guided by Prince 2 principles via an experienced project manager.
Our commercials are tailored for clients. Commercials also take our needs at any particular time into consideration. This means that a mutually beneficial deal is almost always attainable.
Our commercials charges for:
Options include Creative Services for photography, video and for additional content such as pages, articles and blogs.
Recurring charges are provided.
Payment for remaining charges is usually concluded three months after the website goes live.
Approval from the client begins the project mobilisation. Approval is via:
It is very important that people about to commission a new website or to refresh an existing website are comfortable to place their trust in people with the knowledge and experience to deliver a solution that meets or exceeds expectations.
It is therefore absolutely essential that the successful designer takes the time to understand the strategy and requirements of the customer. Only then can a website or online campaign be designed and delivered to time, quality and cost. Where there are gaps in understanding then the designer must be prepared to advise the client and close gaps so that the project can proceed with a firm foundation.
Equally, the client is advised to think long term and ‘big picture’ and be prepared to invest the time and money to get the basics such as the objectives, scope, messaging and costs right.
The following observations may be helpful:
Finally, creating a website or updating an existing website can be fun and rewarding. Enjoy the creative process. Make sure you work with designers you can trust and get along with.
Get in touch about any of the above or to find out more about how we can help you succeed online.