Designing Successful Website
During the first initial meeting with a client I aim to discuss all the requirements, roles, responsibilities and deadlines, but more importantly to get answers to the three key questions:
- what is the purpose of the website?
- who is the target audience?
- what content should be developed?
For me, the first and principal task is to agree and clearly define with the Client the purpose of the new website – the idea behind it.
One of the few reasons could be: to establish an internet presence of a company or an individual, to provide a service, advertise or sell a product, to deliver news on a particular subject etc… In any case, on every website its purpose should be instantly recognized, as confused and impatient visitors will quickly click away.
The next key element is to define the audience. The audience (also known as the target market) is the group of people who are expected to visit the website, and the more accurate information can be obtained about them, the more precisely I can develop the website marketing strategy.
Last but not least, we will discuss what content should be developed for the website, what technologies should be used, and decide on ways of maintaining and updating the website in a future.
I will also ask you to provide me with a point of contact within your company and for any plans or ideas that you might already have.
Planning And Design
Once the key points are established and important questions answered, I will start by planning the structure of the website and create a sitemap that will organize the pages in the hierarchical order.
The next step will be to create a wireframe for the website. A wireframe is a basic visual representation of the structure of the website and relationships between its pages and the layout. The creation of wireframe will help me to define the positioning of first and secondary levels of navigation, as well as defining areas for utilities such as helpful information, search facilities and signup forms.
At this stage, together with the Client I will also start planning the content for the website.
Then based on all the information gathered, as well as Clients’ thoughts an ideas, I will draw a base design of the website and submit it for the client’s consideration.
The development part of the website design process is the most time consuming.
After receiving the client’s feedback on the base design, I will make all the necessary adjustments to the design and resubmit it for the client’s approval. Once agreed, I will start working on the design and layout of all individual website pages.
In order to get the necessary constant feedback on the development of the website, I will provide the Client with a temporary web address to the construction copy of the website. This way the Client will be able to monitor the progress of the project, confirm and approve the work, and I will be able to act on and apply any suggestions.
While the visual side of the website is vital for the end user, during the website development stage I make sure that all the coding is checked against any cross-browser functionality problems, structure well organized, and text is keyword rich for the search engines and future optimization.
Final Testing & Going Live
This is the final stage of the website design process, when the website needs to be tested across all platforms to eradicate any technical issues, and checked thoroughly for spelling mistakes and content errors.
When finally approved by the Client, I will remove any design comments, under-construction elements, and upload the website on to a hosting server so that the website becomes visible and accessible by the end user.
If required, I will also create a Google WebMaster account for the domain, and setup:
- Google Analytics to provide insights to website traffic and marketing effectiveness
- Google AdWords to advertise your products and services on Google network
- Google Places to help local customers find your business
Maintenance And Updates
The very important thing about having a website is to keep it up to date – meaning adding fresh content and new products on a regular basis.
If the website was developed around a custom build CMS (Content Management System), the Client has got full control in his hands and can update the website the very minute he decides to do so. I usually offer half day hands on training to a member of the Client’s staff, who will be taught everything about active areas of the website, introduced to CMS text editor and familiarized with image optimization techniques.
Websites produced without CMS, I always recommend to be updated by a professional web designer to avoid any errors and malfunctioning.
In any case I always offer great discounts on maintenance packages and search engine optimization solutions customized as per individual needs. By subscribing to one of the maintenance packages you can stay fully focused on your business while keeping your site up-to-date with the latest news, products and services.