WEBSITE DESIGN

Website Design

People often ask us how we create our websites. We have fine-tuned our process over the years because technology, trends, and the way people search has changed. Here is our process today, but it will continue to evolve over time because our goal is to provide you with the best website that grows with your business or organization. When you understand the basics of this process you will appreciate what happens at each stage, will be clear about when the process can easily change direction and can communicate more knowledgeably with us. Also, the more you know, the more the information provided by us in your updates will make sense and prove more useful.

Step 1: Get To Know You

This is the period where we work together to establish your website’s purpose and strategy. It is the most important step in the entire process for both parties - without a map, you don’t know how to get to your destination. We start off with a website questionnaire to gain a better understanding of your business, what you want the website to do for you, your ideal customer, likes/dislikes for websites, and problems you want to solve with your website. We then test your website for speed and mobile-friendliness and see how you rank against your competitors on the search engines. This gives us a better understanding of what is working right, what needs to be fixed, and what needs to be added to your website. Based on all this information, we provide our recommendations to reach your target audience, convert viewers into customers, and make the search engines smile. We include a project timeline, including any milestones and deadlines, and the estimated budget required to implement everything we’ve discussed. This first step should not be overlooked as it forms the foundation on which all the subsequent design and development work is based on. A poor or incomplete step 1 can lead to an unsatisfactory result, which will, in turn, lead to further web design costs and delays. We then send you an online quote for you to sign and authorize us to work on your website. Once you have paid the required deposit, we move on to step 2.

Step 2: Home Page Mock-Up Design

This is the step where the design begins to come to life. First, we select a proper color scheme. The color palette is key since it’s one of the first visuals your website visitors see in their decision to dig deeper into your website or hit the back button and move on. A recent case study showed that adjusting color, among other elements, can increase conversion by as much as 24%! Once the color scheme is identified, we then layout the elements for the home page which includes the header, the content above the fold, the content below the fold, and the footer. The header is at the top of the website page where we put your logo, navigation bar, and other key elements like phone number, important calls to action, etc.... The content above the fold is the area people see without scrolling down the page and below the fold is the opposite. Above the fold is where we add a strong image and a statement for people to quickly identify what you do. Below the fold is where your main promotional products or services, testimonials, and other engaging content goes to build trust and establish a relationship with the viewer. The last piece on the home page is the footer where you include your contact information and social media links. We provide you with two unique home page mock-up designs to review. You then decide which one you like best and if necessary send us some feedback for modifications. We then make the modifications you requested and send you another sample. This process is repeated until you are completely satisfied. Once the design is approved we begin construction of your website in WordPress.

Step 3: WordPress Installation

In this step, you’ll see the payoff of planning and organizing a well-executed mock-up design. We install the latest version of WordPress on either your domain or on our test server. We then install the Hello theme and Elementor Pro website builder. The Hello theme is a WordPress starter theme, meaning it’s a lightweight, minimalistic blank theme, with no styling at all, except for basic browser compatibility styling and Elementor Pro is a page builder we use to create all the elements on each website page. The cost of the Elementor Pro license is included with your quoted price. We then install and configure other WordPress plugins, a piece of software integrated with WordPress that adds or extends the functionality and adds new features to your website. The plugins we add to your website depends upon the types of services or products you offer. For example, if we are creating a website for a public library we would add an events calendar plugin so you can register people and take payments. There are two flavors of plugins, a free or “freemium” version with a limited or restricted capability and a paid version. If we recommend any paid plugins in our “Get To Know You” phase, we will include the cost in our website quote.

Step 4: WordPress Plugin Installation

There are thousands of plugins available to add to your website, but having too many can slow down your website or cause it to crash. Just like a great musical conductor, it takes experience and practice to find the right ones that are essential, don’t slow down your website, or interfere with other plugins. In no order of preference, here are the plugins we add to every website: Uptime Robot - Website Monitoring which sends alert notifications if your website is down. Sucuri Security - Cleans and protects your website from intruders. Speed Booster Pack - Helps your website load faster Yoast SEO - Optimizes your website and pages for search engines and creates a sitemap. All In One Schema Rich Snippets - Helps search engines understand the information on web pages and provide richer search results.

Step 5: Image and Search Engine Optimization

Once we have all your content and images we then optimize them for search engine friendliness. Ever notice some images on a website take a very long time to load on your browser? That is because the original image was never optimized. For example, some people will upload the actual size of an iPhone photo instead of taking the time to optimize it. We take all of your images and resize them for placement on your website pages and optimize them by reducing the number of pixels and then compressing them for optimal size with https://tinypng.com/. These extra steps help improve the load time of each website page and search engines love them and reward you by ranking you higher than your competitors who haven’t optimized their photos. Based on your type of business or organization, your content, your target audience, and your website goals we look at the best keywords and phrases to use in your website. We use tools like Google’s Keywords Tool and Keywords Everywhere to discover the search volume and search terms that will work best for you. We add these to your page names (a/k/a URLS), title and headline tags, as well as your images. Yoast SEO helps us create the best search engine friendly titles and meta descriptions, a snippet of up to about 155 characters – a tag in HTML – which summarizes a page's content, which shows up in the search engine results.

Step 6: Website Creation

With all the essential elements in place, we then create your home page in WordPress. We add the text, images, videos, calls to action and other content we discussed in step 1. We check the design is responsive for desktop, tablet, and mobile phone viewing and then we send you the URL for your new home page for review. Once the home page is approved by you we then add the content for your other services/products pages, contact, blog/learning center, and any other pages in the project description.

Step 7: Website Testing

After completing your website pages we test your website at https://gtmetrix.com/ to confirm your website loads quickly, the images are optimized, and the coding is minimized for peak efficiency. Then we make sure your website passes the mobile-friendly test at https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly. If your website fails on any of these tests, we modify our code and pages and retest your website until it passes.

Step 8: Website Review

At this point, we are ready to pass along our finished product for your inspection. This is your opportunity to notify us of any changes, corrections, or additions to the images, text, or other content on your website. We then make any modifications you request and ask you to review the website a final time.

Step 9: Website Launch

The most exciting step is here at last! After you make your final payment to us for the design and the WordPress Care Package plan we are ready to launch your website. We migrate the website from our test server to your website address. Once it is migrated, we double-check everything on your website is functionally properly and the responsive design displays properly. for desktops, tablets, and mobile versions.

There you have it - our 9 step process to our customer’s website success. If you have read to this point you might agree that it is very detailed and takes a lot of time and energy to implement for us and for our customers. We feel the more you’re involved in the entire website process, the better your website will work for you. However, you might be thinking its a bit too much for you and want to talk to another website designer. We encourage you to do that. In fact, you will find our article Who Are The Best Website Designers On Cape Cod? very useful. On the other hand, if you like our process, don’t be shy and contact us about your project.