“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”Paul J. Meyer
Building an effective website is a simple, straight-forward process. It starts with having a reason for an online presense in the first place. Whether you have an idea, a product, something to say or promote, or a number of other motives, by building a web presense you will reach the vast majority of the world in a way that no other process can.
The process of building a productive website takes time and commitment from everyone involved. Too often there are projects that are completed, yet they do not perform as well as they should. There are various reasons why a website does not perform to its full potential, and most times it is due to a lack of understanding of what an effective website truly is.
We understand what to takes to build successful websites, and our developers are fully prepared to do so for you. In order to prepare you for what is to come, we have put together a list of steps that you need to understand in order for your project to be a success.
The process begins with understanding what a website is, and what it will do for you. Simply put, it's your "24-hour salesperson". It doesn't need to eat, sleep, take a vacation, or ask to bring the kids to work when daycare is closed. There is no need to add it to the company insurance plan, to bother witholding the right amount of payroll taxes, or match its 401k plan. It is the only employee that you will ever have that does what it's told to do on time, every time, and without the need for constant supervision. With that said, there a certain things that a website will do for you, and other things that it will not do for you.
What it will do for you is allow you to reach more people in a wider area. It will open you up to people in different geographical areas across the state, country, and more so the world. A website allows your customers to learn about you or your company from wherever they are, and allows you to provide information that may not be communicated in an in-person situation. It doesn't replace the idea of personal interaction, but rather promotes the benefits of communicating your ideas in a consistent fashion. It gives people the option to work with you when they otherwise may not know who you are or that you even exist.
What it wil not do is generate more business simply because you have a website. In order for a website to work for you, it is necessary to make regular updates, to change things around, and think of new and exciting things that will keep your audience's attention. If you're a business, put together some videos of your products and your team so that people can see who they will be dealing with. Make them feel like they know you and to make an effort to contact you so that you can do what it is that you do best. Then, and only then, will you have a website that is truly working for you.
More often than not our customers contact us about designing a website, yet they have very little knowledge of the process in building one. Part of our job is to guide you through the initial process and to provide the technical expertise that is needed. However, in the end you are the only one that knows the intimate details your business or industry. The more information you can provide to us the better we can understand what matters most to you, and the higher the probability that your website will be exactly what you are looking for.
A big part of the project is planning what your website will say, and what pages you will need to convey your message. Most sites start off with a minimum of 5 pages, and most likely more when it's all said and done. Each page must consist of enough content to be meaningful and to provide your target audience with the information that they need. This can be text, images, videos, flyers, or any other form of media that you would normally use in the course of business. This content needs to be laid out in a way that is not confusing to the average person, and be informative enough so that your visitors have a clear understanding of what they are looking at.
One thing that is so easy to do is to look at other websites and say "I like that, and that's what I want". This should be avoided, as it only points out that you didn't take the time to make yourself stand out from your competition. Sure, it is a good idea to see what others have done and maybe take a few ideas here and there, but in the end what do you really want? Do you want to mimic what everyone else has done, or do you want to show your target audience that you have something different and exciting?
This is where we come in and do what we do best. At this stage our developers hand pick an HTML template that will be the rough outline of your website. The outline includes the general layout and the look and feel of the site. Will the navigation menu be at the top or the side? Will there be a full-width header image or a smaller off-center logo? Red and blue, or maybe yellow and green? This step is crucial to building the foundation of your website.
Once we've settled on the layout, the next step is to write the code that makes the template work. If its a pre-designed template from one of the various online sources, we strip it into smaller pieces so that it's easier to manage and update. We customize the HTML and CSS so that future updates are easier, and put all of the pieces into a working model. Through each step you will be able to see the progress of the design, and most importantly provide feedback of your likes and dislikes.
Next, we design the database where all of your content will be stored. By separating the HTML from the content, this allows us to completely redesign the website without affecting the data. So when it's time for the change that we mentioned earlier, you will save a considerable amount of time and money.
So we've made it through the hard part, and have a fully functional website up and running. Before we release our wonderous creation to the world for everyone to see we must make sure that it all works according to plan. This means carefully going through each page, each menu, and each contact or signup form and ensuring that we get the results that we are expecting. The most importnat thing to remember is that no matter how beautiful a website looks, if it doesn't work then no one will use it.
The more complex a website is in terms of functionality, the more prone we are to errors. A website where you're speaking your mind or views is less-complex than one where your taking online orders. Both are important, but one has a lot more "moving parts" than the other. Regardless, you must prepare to devote some time to testing everything and making certain that everything works perfectly. Not doing so could be the difference between the success or failure of the entire project
The day has finally come where we are ready to launch the site in all of its glory. You've made it through the process from start to finish, and have a new appreciation for the time and effort that it takes. You now have a website that is completely custom built for you and your needs, and are ready to show everyone what sets you apart from the rest.
If you choose to host your website and domain with us, the process is completely handled by our developers. No interaction is needed from your end, and your site will be live almost instantaneously. Moving forward, we will continuously monitor the site to ensure that everything is working normally, and notify you of any issues that may arise. If there are any technical issues or changes that need to be made to the domain or hosting, we will handle these for you at the appropriate time.
If, however, you have previously purchased a hosting package elsewhere, our developers will work with you to gather the necessary information to successfully launch the site. Once the site is live it will be your responsibility to ensure that any issues that may arise are handled appropriately. We will take care of issues with the site itself, including the underlying code, database, etc. However, if there are any technical issues with the hosting server or network, these are things which are out of our control and will need to be addressed by your hosting provider.
As we stated in step 1, launching your new website isn't the end of the process. You can not expect business to increase to a reasonable level without making an effort to drive people to the site and keep them interested. If you had a retail store, would you honestly expect people to just walk in off the street and buy whatever it is that your selling with little or no effort on you or your salesperson's part? This may work for a grocery store, but unless your selling milk, bread, steaks and vegetables you're not going to be in business very long.
We're not saying that you need to got out everyday and change things. You simply need to make it a point to update some of the content on a weekly or monthly basis, add a few new things here and there, and make it enjoyable for your target audience to see what you're up to. If no one sees anything new then why should they waste their time to come back?