There’s the homepage, of course, but other pages could include: “About Us”, “Pricing”, or “Testimonials.” When building websites, creating an attractive and fast homepage usually takes the most time and effort. Once the homepage is created and optimized for speed and usage on various devices, additional pages are often a bit easier (and less costly) to create.
Keep in mind: Additional pages can always be added with relative ease. If you don’t yet have the content to fill out a page, it may be best to hold off on creating it. The content for a “Contact Us” page, for example, may be best added to the homepage and/or in a header or footer on each page.
On the other hand, you probably DO want to have an individual page for each different service your business offers. This will generally make your search engine traffic more targeted for each individual service.
We’ll need to know: How many unique pages will the site require, and what general type of content will go on each page?
This one’s a little tricky, we know. There are a lot of nice-looking websites out there, but what sort of site layout will fit your brand best? Begin by asking yourself:
- What are the most important pieces of information I want my site visitors to see? Be sure to focus on your primary goal - likely, gaining customers.
- What content do I currently have, and what content will I be adding in the future? Will the page/site design “scale up” nicely as I add more content?
- What other sites do I like the look of AND, IMPORTANTLY, are such sites a good fit for what I’m offering?
Keep in mind: A site’s images, colors, and fonts can go a long way towards influencing our perception of design. These are separate issues which we’ll also address, but for this step, try to focus on the sort of site layout you want for your content.
What sort of content do you want to present to your users? How and where should that content be displayed? There are definitely best practices in this regard - you’ll want your business name, address and contact information to be displayed in a particular manner, for example. We’ll work together to find the right balance between your personal vision and the best practices of site layout.
We’ll need: Taking into consideration the questions in the bullet list above, Send us some examples of existing sites and tell us (in as much detail as possible) exactly what you’d like to emulate (and what you’d like to avoid) about each design. Start thinking about exactly what content you’d like to include and how you’d like it included in the design. If you have the exact content available now, send it along - we’ll include it as we build the design.
Creating high-quality content for your website is one of the most important things you can do to improve your site’s popularity and search-engine rankings. Any tool that makes this easier is potentially quite valuable.
For our clients who want to maintain a blog on their website, we usually integrate a custom WordPress theme. WordPress is known as a Content Management System (CMS) which allows site owners to easily produce content for their websites (think: blog entries, for example) without needing to know how to code and style HTML pages. The website user logs into an administrator section on their website, and from there they can create blog entries and other types of content for their site.
Keep in mind: Adding a custom blog to a site will increase costs, as it adds a good deal of additional code to manage. Here are some questions business owners may want to ask when deciding whether or not to add a blog to their site at a given point in time:
- Will I be able to add a great deal of content on a regular basis? If not, it may make more sense to just add a few additional content pages to the site.
- Does my clientele need to be educated about my business on a regular basis? As a rule of thumb, blogs are great if you need to educate potential customers. If education isn’t a major part of your business, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be a good alternative if your goal is merely to interact with your customers or publish certain types of content (e.g. images).
And remember, a WordPress blog can be added at any time. It often makes sense to start a site without a blog and add one at some point in the future.
Online shops can be a great way to introduce your products to the world! But e-Commerce sites are necessarily a bit more complex and labor-intensive than static “content-only” sites. Online shops often need to handle payment processing, inventory management, shipping logistics, taxation, and PCI compliance just to name a few. Luckily, we have several options that can make your venture into the world of e-Commerce a bit easier. Whatever route you choose, we’ll be happy to walk you through the process every step of the way.
Keep in mind: For most online e-Commerce sites, you’ll need a business-specific bank account and merchant account to accept credit cards. Other options do exist, however, so let us know the details of what you’re planning - we’ll help you pick the best option for your business.
We’ll need to know: Are you planning to offer e-Commerce on your site? If yes, give us an idea of the type and number of products you’ll be offering. Are you planning on scaling the store up in the future, and if so, by how much?
The right domain name is an important part of your business. If you don’t already have one, we’ll help you find the best one available.
Keep in mind: Trying to craft a domain name to include potential search terms is likely counter-productive. Your best bet is to use a domain name that contains the brand name of your business - then get to work creating quality content to attract search traffic.
We’ll need to know: Do you have a domain name? If so, what is it? Let’s make sure you have the best domain name for your business.
A website host is required to serve your website’s pages over the internet. The host stores your website’s files on their servers (i.e., computers that store website files) and sends them out whenever a user visits your site.
For our clients, We offer two hosting options:
- We can host your site on our hosting provider for a small monthly fee, or,
- We can walk you through setting up your site with a hosting provider of your choice.
Keep in mind: In order for the sites we build to function optimally, we will usually need (temporary) access to your hosting provider’s servers (alternately, we could walk you through the steps of uploading the files yourself if you are so inclined - some of our clients are, some aren’t).
Your hosting provider will allow you to create limited access to your server for admin users. We then use this admin account to upload necessary files.
Be advised, if you choose hosting through us on our host, you will always retain complete control and legal rights to your website and all of its assets (images, logos, domain name, etc.). If you choose your own host, we’ll be happy to offer our advice and insight so that there aren’t any unintended consequences down the line.
We’ll need to know: Do you have an existing hosting provider? If not, would you like us to host your site on our account, or would you like us to walk you through the steps for setting up your own hosting account? Contact us for further details.
Images can often make or break a website. That’s why we go to great lengths to choose just the right imagery for our clients. If you are providing images for us to use, make sure the images you provide are high-quality, high-resolution, and large enough to be used in the context you desire. Also make sure that you have the legal right to use the images on your website. Assuming the images you provide are usable, providing images may shave a little bit off of the production costs of the site.
Keep in mind: Choosing the right image(s) for a site is a learned skill - sometimes high-quality and visually stunning photographs still don’t quite fit within a site’s design. For each image, ask yourself:
- What does this image have to do with my business?
- Does the image evoke the exact type of emotional response I want my customers to have towards my business? Could another image be better in this regard?
- Have I seen this image anywhere before? Stock photography can be fine to use, but you don’t want to use the same images being used by dozens of other companies.
- Does the image contain people - ideally in the context of enjoying or benefitting from the product or service I’m offering? Generally, the emotional response to such an image will be more positive than one that doesn’t.
- Does this image fit in with the style of other images on the site? Sites often look best when image brightness, contrast, tone, color, etc. are similar throughout.
We’ll need to know: Will you be providing images for the site? For most of our clients, finding just the right images is probably a bit harder than it sounds, but we’ll be happy to look at what you have to offer. Any such images we can use means less time we have to spend tracking them down ourselves.
Because of their visual nature, it’s often best for websites to be mocked up visually in the early stages of development. Designers call this wire-framing, and tools exist to let even non-technical clients mock up their desired websites. For example:
If you have a strong preference for how your site should be laid out, you can use this tool to make a quick mockup.
If you don’t have quite as detailed of a vision of how you want your site to look, that’s fine, too. We’ll make sure that your site and its content is presented in line with the best practices of web design.
Fonts and Color Scheme
As with other areas of design, there is a science behind choosing the right fonts and color scheme - and making them work well together. Some of our clients have color and font pairings they want us to use, while others are more open to suggestions.
If you have colors and fonts you’d like to use, let us know of exactly what they are. If not, give us an idea of what sort of feelings your business should convey. Should your business convey feelings of security or lightheartedness? Technological expertise or elegance and sophistication?
Some font and color resources:
What else should we know?
We don’t want to jump to conclusions about your business or who your potential customers are. Tell us about your business and what sort of customers you’d like to attract. What sets you apart from your competition? These factors make unique selling propositions for you and we’d like to highlight them in your site’s design.
We also offer additional services that might be of interest, either now or some time in the future:
- Graphic design which could include logo design, brochures, business cards, as well as other print and e-documents.
- Mobile application development in Android.
- Tutoring in various technologies.
I look forward to helping you build your business online and beyond. Please contact me with any additional questions you have.