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So you thought you could build your own website!

Author -  Vaughan Reed

Website design and functional specification is key to getting a successful online presence for your business. Making money online and integrating the customer’s online and offline touchpoints seamlessly are a vital part of strategic planning for your business.

Contegro values the expertise that professional website designers bring to a new site build. We are firmly on the side of the professionals. Remember our advice from our blog What is the value of working with a professional website designer?

“The best short-cut to a successful online business website is to hire the best, most experienced website design professional that you can afford. “

So if you are going to build your own website, these are the steps that a professional will work through with you as you specify and build your new business website.

  1. Scoping Requirements and Planning
  2. Design Creative and Implementation
  3. Content & Navigation structure
  4. Post support services

Getting each of these correct will give you the best possible chance of ending up with a profitable business website – one that adds $ to the bottom line profit for your company.

Scoping Requirements and Planning

Scoping Requirements and Planning is the step where the web design company gets an understanding of your business and asks the questions that will ensure together you ascertain what the right approach will be for your business to succeed online.

Wireframes of web pages are produced to outline the flow and layout of key sections of the website. What’s a wireframe? It is also called a schematic and can be thought of as the ‘blue print’ of your website http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Website_wireframe

Why it’s important: Wireframes may be utilised by different disciplines. Developers use wireframes to get a more tangible grasp of the site’s functionality, while designers use them to push the user interface (UI) process. User experience designers and information architects use wireframes to show navigation paths between pages. Business stakeholders use wireframes to ensure that requirements and objectives are met through the design.

Get this stage right and a lot of down-stream tasks can be made ‘right-first-time’.

Tips

Warnings about not using a wireframe

Design Creative and Implementation

Design Creative is step two in the process. The website designer is focused on creating for you both form and function. This is where your company branding and philosophy is combined with the functionality and layout of the website which was specified in the wireframe. Together they enforce positive brand recognition and stimulate a positive user experience on the website.

Traditionally this phase was a job that required both a skilled graphic designer and a skilled coder. Now, with Contegro, we have empowered the designer to take control of both the design and implementation. Cutting out the coder allows the design professional to continue leading the work through to the implementation phase. This ensures their vision of the complete website design is achieved.

Using the Contegro CMS, all HTML, CSS and template setup is fully customisable. There are no limiting templates to restrict conceptual vision, any default code provided is suggested as a guide for best practice and can be removed or customised. All technical aspects are taken care of, there’s no more worrying about form handlers or JavaScript issues for Image Gallery Carousels as aspects like these are setup by default.

The Design phase of the website project is critical, a vast amount of industry knowledge and years of design and usability experience goes into delivering on the creative and functional outcomes. Bypassing this phase by picking an off the shelf template and sticking in your logo is extremely detrimental to your business and achieving a successful outcome to the project.

Content & Navigation Structure

This step follows on from where the designer left off. So many times we hear of website companies handing over an empty shell to the client so they can perform this task themselves. Don’t make this mistake, the success of your website is in the content. Your written text, how you structure your website, the on page keyword focus, page heading and call to actions all play a vital role in generating website sales or online enquiries.

Why would you pass up the years of experience that website design companies offer in this area by doing it yourself, worse still, why would you work with a web design company that doesn’t understand the importance of this step and passes this onto you so they can quickly move onto their next website build.

Post Support Services

Once your website is complete, this is where your relationship with your website company truly begins. This is where they take responsibility for delivering on what was defined during the scoping phase.

Your website companies on-going support is your lifeblood to growing a successful online business. They should be working with you on an on-going basis to review your current website stats, providing advice on areas for improvement and working with you to deliver on strategic online campaigns.

If you want to drive a return for your business with an online solution. Don’t cut corners by cutting out the Web Design Company. Remember, this is when getting it right means the different between making your business money or costing your business money.

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