It’s important before any web developer starts writing any code for your new website, that there is enough planning work that goes on from the start, that’s to make sure that the website is well built and that the web designers and the client are on the same page right from the very start.
That’s to say, you could have the flashiest code written, but if the website is not thought out in advance, then you might build a website that is totally doesn’t suit the business at all.
So to build a quality website, your web designers need to work like tailors that work on Savile Row in London. What we mean by this is you need to go in and have a conversation about what the customer wants made, like you would if you were having a tailor made suite made, but this is exactly the same for a website, it needs to be tailor made to what the business want, so you have to have a conversation about what you want, before the web designers start the build.
Here’s how our web design agency builds websites
Often the customer will e-mail or call us and ask us to come up with some ideas for how the new company website will look.
The business itself might not this stage have the foggiest how they want their company website to look, they just know they want a well-designed, that’s well built website, and that’s why they come to our highly experienced web developers to have a website built.
With that said, often the business will not know which fonts they want used, how many pages they need, which cms to use, how they want the logo to look.
It’s all well and good talking the customer via e-mail and phone calls, but sometimes there needs to be a meeting in person with the business owners, to make sure that both the web designers, copywriters and the business owners are all on the same page in terms of how the website should look.
There’s no point in terms of spending say 100 hours building wireframes, to then present a low fieldity version of the website to the customer, and they say no, the layout is wrong and start again. So to save time, a detailed discussion needs to take place with the business, to make sure the web designers know what the clients wants.
Designing the Sitemap
Then our web developers need to design a what’s called a “site map”, this normally involves in the first instance drawing the site map on a whiteboard, that’s with the client present, this so that we can ascertain how many pages are actually needed, this normally happens in the kick off meeting.
Designing the Wireframes
When we are building a bespoke website, our web developers will need to start designing what are called “wireframes”, for those that don’t know what wireframes are, well they are simply a rough sketch of what the website is going to look like.
Creating the content marketing
The next stage is to write all of the content marketing, often the business will pay us to do this work, our copywriters will then write all of the content marketing that is needed.
Develop the Website
After the wireframes have been built, its then down to the WordPress web developers to then to put the finer brushstrokes in, by that we mean to complete designing the website.
When our web developers are building a new website, sometimes they will use text which is sometimes called “filler text”. This text will make no sense when you read it, it the only purpose of it is is to see how the text will look when it is laid out on the page.
All of this filler text is obviously removed before the company website goes live, but before the website does go live, our web developers will add all of content marketing that’s been written by our copywriters.
Having the content marketing written by our copywriters, is an optional extra, that’s to say, its something we charge an extra fee to complete. Sometimes the business will want to write the text themselves, and this is fine, as sometimes the business will want to keep their web design costs down.
Our web developers will then extensively test the website before it goes live.
We will then launch the company website
You might have seen a lot of web design agencies refer to the start of the web design process as the “kick-off meeting”.
And this might sound like your web designers are about to start a game of football with you- but the kick-off meeting is simply just to understand more about how your business wants the new company website to look.
The web developers should be present in the meeting, this so that we can completely understand how the business would like the company website to look.
Sometimes on the more cheaper websites, we won’t sometimes have a kick off meeting we will just liaise with the client via email.
Sometimes a business will contact us, and they don’t know how they want their new website to look, this is often a start-up company, that hasn’t got a set of brand guidelines already made.
For example, the website might be for electricians, and that business wants to obtain more work from other companies. So it’s a business to business website.
That business doesn’t want to complete electrical work for domestic customers, the just want to work for commercial customers, therefore they may come to us so that we can build a website that clearly illustrates that they work for industrial and commercial businesses in Wales.
Then we will need to do some brainstorming, in terms of our team starting to create a set of brand guidelines for the customer.
What are brand guidelines?
If you don’t know what “brand guidelines” are, then quite simply put, they are creating for example a company logo, deciding on which font to use on your companies website and coming up with colour scheme (sometimes called the hex codes), this is so your businesses marketing should look similar across say, for example, the colour on your company cars, your business cards, and also on a shop front.
Brand guidelines are not limited to fonts, colours and logo’s but generally speaking, most brand guidelines will include these.
If your competitors have got websites with features such as telling their customers whether an item is in stock or not, then before they make a purchase, then your business is often going to need this feature as well.
Lets say for example that your business sells skiing equipment, and your company sells over 1,000 different products.
There’s no point in having a website built that doesn’t tell your customers whether the items are in stock or not.
The reason for that is if somebody purchases skiing equipment from you and pays for that item, only to find out at a later date, via email that the item is not in stock, and they need to waits say a month for it to item to be delivered, well your business is likely to have a lot of disappointed customers, compared to if they were to know instantly before buying the item, whether its in stock or not.
So the point we are trying to make is, think of all the features that your company website needs, such as telling your customers whether an item is in stock or not.
It’s also important to design a site map
If you don’t know what a site map is, a site map is simply a list of all the pages and blog posts which appear on your website.
On some simpler websites that we can build, let’s say a website for your solicitors practice, which has let’s say 10 solicitors, then is often just a case of getting your clients to your web design agency and sketching on a whiteboard how the site map should look.
Obviously you start the homepage and then you can start then listing all of the service pages, and about us pages and article page.
Designing the wireframes
Depending on which web design agency go with, they might design wireframes in “low fidelity” and “high fidelity”, the wire frames therefore allow you to design the website and the web developer can adjust all of padding, where the buttons are placed, and to work out also where the images should be placed on each page.
It also allows the web designer to put the text on the page, so that you can start to get feedback from the client to see if they approve the layout to that page.
Quite often the business owners will be too busy to write all of the text for their new website themselves.
This is why we have copywriters in-house at our web design agency, which can take care of writing all of the text for you.
Building the website using “HTML” and “CSS”
Once the web developers have built all of the wireframes, and the client has approved the design, it is then up to our web designers to finish off the design.
Our web designers will build the website using HTML and CSS.
This means if we are building a bespoke website for a client, our web developers will write all of the code, and they will code all of the functionality that the website needs, such as telling a customer whether an item is in stock or not for example.
Typically our web developers will build the website using a well-known CMS (content management system) such as “WordPress”, yet, with that said, sometimes the client will want their website built using a different type of CMS, such as Drupal or craft cms.
We can build a a website using different content management systems, for example the customer might have had a previous website built using Drupal, they may know how the Drupal dashboard works, and what us to build a new website using Drupal, and our web designers can do that for them.
Then it’s time to add the content marketing
Once the copywriters have written all the content marketing, and sometimes, it can be a lot of writing, they can then send the text the web designers, who will add the text to your website.
A web design agency can have the most diligent of web developers, and they can spend endless amount of hours designing each and every page on the website, by writing all of the code, and drinking endless espressos, working long into the night, writing all of that HTML code.
Yet, even if your web developers do spend 1,000+ hours building the website, and testing for so long, they can see their beards growing in front of them, that’s how long they may have spent sat their testing the companies website, things can still go wrong from time to time with the coding. This is often quite normal, especially if the web design company is building a large e-commerce website.
There might be a broken link the causes a “404 error” which sometimes says “page cannot be found”, there might be a contact form on the website which doesn’t send to the companies e-mail inbox, it might be a page whereby the copywriters missed a typo that’s been written on the page.
Obviously this all needs to be put right before the website is put live, so what happens it is most web design agencies, our included, will do a lot of testing, going through the whole website looking for any glitches.
This involves looking at every internal link to see if it works correctly, to see if the buttons work, to see if the contact forms all work as they should.
And its also important to test to see if the website works on different smartphones, for example does it work correctly on an android phone, does it work correctly on say an iPhone, does the website work on a tablet?
Launch the website
The final stage is to launch the website, basically this means setting the company website live, so that customers can see it.
Once the website has been launched, this doesn’t mean that the web design process comes to an end, some businesses might want to work with them on an ongoing basis either to improve their seo or to do something called split testing.
Split testing that is commonly also referred to as “A/B testing” is to help further enhance the design by constantly trying to improve it and to see if this helps to improve sales for the business.