As a business owner, charity or organisation founder, you will at some point have to consider your online presence. This can be tricky, and somewhat daunting if you’re not the most technically minded of people. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. We’re going to try and explain, in the simplest way we can, what you should expect from a web design project.
Firstly, it’s impossible to write about what to expect from a website design project in general, there are simply too many variations of types of website. This ranges from a large e-commerce website selling thousands of products, an online publication requiring membership subscription, or possibly on online forum.
For this article though, we’re going to talk about what you can expect from a basic brochure website that displays company information, services, news and contact information. An online presence that tells potential customers everything you do, and what they can expect from you.
It’s hard to believe that in this day and age this is still a question that needs answering, but it does. There are plenty of businesses that have been trading successfully for years without an online presence, so why would they even feel the need to pay for a website?
There is very good reason. A successful past does not necessarily mean a successful future. Those clients that use a service because they know of it may relocate or have no need for it any more. It is essential that businesses are constantly on the lookout for new clients, the easiest way to do that is via the internet.
So what about social media? It’s true that a lot of businesses can get by simply with a social network presence. However, you are restricting your appeal only to those using the same social platform. A website is available to all people with an internet connection giving a much larger group of potential new clients.
The best approach is to use a combination of good social media awareness alongside a stand-alone website. Linking these platforms together creates your own online network which search engines like Google absolutely love.
Which brings us on to the other benefit of a website. People still use search engines to find new services or products. Having a good online presence through the combination of social media and a website gives you the best possible chance of being discovered ahead of your competition.
Even a basic brochure website is enough to get started and is something that should be considered by every business and organisation out there.
As mentioned earlier, there are many types of websites out there, but we’re talking about one of the most widely used types: a brochure website.
What we mean by a brochure website is exactly what you might think, it’s a brochure in the form of a website. It will provide people with all the relevant information they require to understand what products you offer and what services you provide, as well as methods of getting in touch, latest news and examples of previous work along with customer testimonials.
By the time a user has finished browsing they will know enough about your company to be able to make an informed decision about whether or not it’s right for them and their needs.
They provide an extension to general marketing. If you hand out flyers or business cards to people there is no way you can fit all of the information about your company and what you offer on such a small medium. You can however lead them to your website from it, giving all of your potential clients the chance to learn more about you.
Now that we’ve covered what a brochure website is and why you need one we can get to the main purpose of this article. What should you expect from one? Whilst this could be open to some debate, in our opinion there are certain fundamentals that simply cannot be ignored.
Number one on the list of requirements for us is that a website MUST be responsive. By this we mean that it will adapt and change layout based on the device it is being viewed on. With over 50% of website traffic now coming from mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, it’s essential that these users can access the information on a website that is simple to use, attractive, and easy to navigate.
As well as this being a key fact in usability it’s also a contributing factor in how your website will rank on search engines, as those not accessible to mobile devices will be punished for not being so. It’s simply not acceptable any more to deny users access to your website from anything other than a desktop or laptop computer.
A major benefit of having an outside source design your online presence is that they will be able to attack the structure and flow of the website as a user who has little knowledge of that company, in an objective manner. This is essential in creating a website that users can navigate through in a way which makes sense to them and so that the most important information is the most prevalent. It’s easy as a business owner to overlook this as you know your own business better than anyone, as such information can be overlooked.
Moving on from the user focused design is having user focused content. Anytime a new website design project is undertaken, there is more in play than just the design and development of the structure itself. A website is only ever going to be as good as its content.
It’s essential that the wording on any website is clear, concise, and written using terminology and grammar that its user demographic can easily understand and follow.
Assuming you’ve made the decision to have a new website designed, you will want the ability to update your new website with the latest news and offers in order to attract new custom. You don’t want to have to learn complex coding, or get in touch with your web developer every time you want to update your website, that’s just not practical.
This is where content management systems come into play. They give you the ability to update all of the content of your website in a simple, user friendly way. In addition to updating existing content they also give you the power to be able to add new pages to your website that will always match the pre-existing design. At Foundation we offer full training on all aspects of how to manage and update your new website.
Once you have you brand new website design launched and attracting in new custom what happens if something happens that you don’t understand, or you need help with running your website?
At Foundation we believe you should not be abandoned during this time. It’s understandable things may go wrong from time to time as it may be a whole new experience for you to understand. We always make sure we’re on hand for the first 12 months of your new website being live to help with these situations for no extra cost.
No matter what, this is the bit most people care about, and understandably so. Your work hard so your business is profitable, you don’t want to throw that money away on something that may not be worth it.
We’re going to breakdown some rough costings for an average size brochure website to give you an idea of what to expect.
If you have an existing website that requires updating, the first task is to analyse the existing content and page structure to make sure it’s up to standard. If there isn’t an existing website to work from, a detailed company outline and history will also work.
The largest part of any website design project is the design and development phase. The design must follow your company brand identity and be visually pleasing. The development must ensure the website works across all browsers and screen sizes.
If you’re not much a wordsmith it might be beneficial to have someone else take over the task of creating the wording for your website. The benefits of this is having someone with experience in writing content that is sales driven maximising the websites impact on your bottom line.
Before the website is published making sure it’s search engine friendly is hugely important. Having appropriate page titles and descriptions, along with internal website linking and a good page heading hierarchy can make a big difference.
The above prices are only estimates, but show that you can get a bespoke website design which is fully responsive, has professionally written content and optimised for search engines for around £3,250.
It might be that not all of those services are required, so it is possible that you could get your new website for as little as £1,500. However, unless you are experienced in the other sectors we would advise against this.
If you think your online presence needs a bit of a refresh, or maybe you need to get your first website design project underway we are more than happy to have a chat with you and advise you on what options are available to you.