Web Design Process
We build a lot of websites. With almost 26 years in the business, our experience is virtually unmatched. One of the things that people do not realize when they look at the number of sites that we have made is that if you take the time in business and break out the sites, we create about 150 websites a year and that breaks down to building about 3 websites a week. Keep in mind that we are a team and not just one person.
We use platforms, such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, to build our websites. The fact is that a Content Management System is the way to build almost all small and medium business websites. For the platform that we choose to build a site on we build a custom theme. We do not customize a template. There are a bunch of reasons for that but we will not touch on that here.
Here is a brief synopsis of our Website Design Process.
- We discuss the site requirements with the customer. We need to understand the purpose of the website and what their goals are. We also dig into various features that might be needed. Specialized contact forms, reservation or event system. Photo gallery requirements, etc.
- We determine what the needs are and discover color and style preferences, if any. Some customers are very specific in their style ideas and others simple put it in our hands. Regardless, because we build custom websites, we can handle any request in this regard.
- Once we have an idea of the requirements, we sit down as a team and come up with mockup ideas. We apply the knowledge our website experience has given us to make sure that key things are included. We then present the idea(s) to the customer for their feedback. We usually hit a home run with the concept with a little back and forth for small tweaks. We expect that. We simply need a starting point.
- As we are finalizing the concept, we are looking at current analytics (if available) to determine the current traffic pattern and search history. We also look at who will be using the site and what platforms they are using, phone, tablets, desktops, etc.
- Once the concept is finalized we build out the custom theme for the CMS platform. As we are building out the theme – we take into account the site history info so that we can name the theme files and images appropriately. Also, because we build only custom websites, we also take the time to ensure that all code and files are optimized for industry best practices. Every site we build is responsive, meaning that the site dynamically adjusts depending on screen resolution and device.
- We apply the custom theme on our development server and begin to add the content. While we can create content, most of our customers opt to provide us the content. When we are adding content, we also take into account the Search Engine Optimization aspect so that the content is “SEO-Aware.” We also offer full SEO solutions, so it depends on which package you purchase as to how much time we spend on SEO while adding content. At this point the customer is also involved so that they can see the evolution of the website.
- During the Content Process, we also take into account how the customers use the site. For certain websites, we know that the site will have more mobile users than desktop users, for those sites, we will adjust things so that the mobile design of the responsive website is more important. Our experience also gives us information on how people interact and we will make adjustments based on that knowledge.
- Once the content is in, we start our checklist and go thru the site to check for all the details. Because we have built so many websites, we know what is required. We have created a lengthy checklist to make sure that our team members can check each other’s work to eliminate mistakes. We also have the customer review the development site for accuracy and for any last minute changes.
- Once the site is complete, we have the customer sign off on the development site. We then prepare the website hosting account for the new site and schedule a time to go-live.
- At Go-Live, we go through our checklist, make a site maintenance page (if needed) and we put the new custom built website on the server. We allow our customers to house the website on any hosting situation as long as it is compatible with the website. We also offer hosting if the customer needs it. Once the site is live, we then create a source folder on the server and put all photo shop files, anything we purchased to have on the site such as paid images, etc. That way all the source files, images are in place for any maintenance that might be needed in the future.