- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On April 3, 2016
There are more ways than ever to build an inexpensive website for your local business. However, just because you can put together a basic website using some of the new template-driven tools does not necessarily mean you should.
Websites are the “hub” of all your marketing efforts. Nearly every piece of marketing you carry out today, be it a postcard mailing or an event, have a chance of driving a potential customer coming back to your website.
With so much of your business resting on the impression a prospective customer gets when they visit your website, it’s obviously a key marketing imperative to have a site that looks really good (maybe even great!) Not only should your site look “professional” but it should also look different from those of your competitors so you prospective customer remembers you.
Given the importance of your site you should give serious thought to engaging a professional website designer to build you something great. The good news is that professionally built websites are not that expensive these days either. But what do professional website developers actually do for their money? What do you pay for once you hire one?
We asked our web developers to give us a quick overview of the process of building a website. Here it is:
Planning is the most crucial part of the whole website project. Web developers do NOT use a cookie-cutter format (that’s the point!). Your website is designed to meet the needs or your target audience and the goals you want it to accomplish for your business.
Deliverables at this stage of the project include: determine your target audience, the goals for your website (sales, downloads, form submissions etc.), key features needed in the website and the creation of a site map.
A little trick web developers always play at this stage to ask you for a few websites you like. The reason we do this is to understand the aesthetics that appeal to you. Everybody has different design tastes so this helps us figure out what you like. We will also ask you if you have any preferred colors, fonts and ideas about the look of the site.
2. Wireframe development
Next developers create “wireframes” of critical web pages on your site. These wireframes do not have any design elements, such as colors and fonts. They are purely functional. The goal is to show you what functional elements will go on the main pages in your site and to get you to agree these are what you want. (Website building has a lot to do with getting to agreement efficiently!)
3. Page design
With the wireframes approved, the (aesthetic) design process begins. Several mockups of some of the main pages on your site are generated in a program such as Photoshop. These are not functioning web pages but drawings of web pages. The details of the design are tweaked to your tastes in a repetitive cycle until approved. The goal here is to get the pages looking the way you want and agree on them.
In the wireframe stage above we got you to agree to how the pages function. So now we know what functional elements should go on the pages and how pages should look.
Now that we’ve got you signed up to the function and design of the key pages in the site, building of the actual site begins. This is when web pages are coded with HTML, filled with content and other, more advanced features are built depending on your needs.
During development we pay a lot of attention to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices so that your new site can rank as well as possible with Google et al
Once the site is actually built (yay!) we test it. On most websites there’s plenty of things to test. We look for things like dead links, broken pages and thoroughly test all more advanced features on the site.
Once the site is thoroughly tested (and you’ve signed off on it!) it’s time to launch your website. The launch process includes getting your site hosted in its permanent spot and getting all your analytics/tracking set up.
We believe this is not the end of this story as marketing success today depends on constantly publishing fresh content online. But building a rock solid foundation for your marketing efforts with a professionally built website is a great start. Hopefully you’ll live happily ever after with your website (well at least for a few years)!
If you’d like to know more about what happens next after you launch your website, grab a copy of our free ebook below: “How to actually make money from digital marketing”.