A website is probably your most important business tool, because it is your online identity, one of your few ‘owned’ media channels, the destination to which your social media drives traffic, and your best means of converting prospects into customers; if you already have a website, it may just need a tune-up.
If your site is already built and just needs to be cleaned up and given a more professional appearance, or you’re seeking faster upload speeds, that’s what we call a tune-up. Site tune-ups generally call for only a subset of our complete web design process.
If you think a tune-up is what you need, read through our Aspects of Web Design notes below to see where your site may be falling short. Then give us a call, and let’s discuss where you are and where you want to be.
Aspects of Web Design
Nine Steps to Your Optimal Website
- Analysis of your Unique Advantages in the Competitive Landscape.
- Understanding of the Keywords you want to rank highly for, to achieve a High Page Rank with Organic Search.
- Development of Information Architecture and Site Navigation.
- Choice of Content Management System (CMS); WordPress, Wix or something else?
- Choice of Theme.
- Page Wireframing and Design.
- Content Development, Aquisition and Optimization.
- Planning for Blogs & Social Media to keep the site fresh.
- Security and Maintenance Considerations.
1. Analysis of your Unique Advantages in the Competitive Landscape
If you’ve been in business for even a few months, you’ll usually have some idea of what you do better than your competitors; that’s where you want to focus, because the people who need that service are your ideal target market, and you want to frame your arguments with them in mind.
Often, your competitive advantage can be better understood by looking at past dealings with clients and where you’ve had the best success and feedback. It also makes sense to look at your competitors and see what they’re saying so you can look for other places where you believe you excel. Those are your talking points.
2. Understanding of the Keywords you want to rank highly for
Knowing your unique advantages should naturally lead to a set of keywords you want to rank highly for. Normally, you’ll end up with a list of search terms you think fit what you deliver; the next process is to check who is ranking high for those keywords, and where there may be opportunities for you to come in and rank higher.
Some of these keywords will become pages on your website, some will be landing pages (pages that are not on your menu, but are jumped to by social media posts and lead to your website), and some will become blog posts to draw additional traffic to your site.
3. Development of Information Architecture and Site Navigation
The competitive analysis and keyword choices feed directly into your site structure and navigation, and even help you plan for the future in terms of where landing pages will end up, and where you can reference blog pages to. Above all, site navigation should be clear and the visitor should never be confused about how to find something.
4. Choice of Content Management System
Most people are already set upon using WordPress, but this is the moment of truth, because the next several steps in the design process may have to be repeated if you decide to switch to another Content Management System (CMS).
If you’re not sure whether to go with Wix, Squarespace, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or some other CMS, read the article WordPress VS Wix first, it will arm you with some good information.
5. Choice of Theme
The WordPress or other theme is the next decision to make, because this determines what the site will look like, and what bells and whistles it will have. This stage normally involves looking at theme examples, features and reviews before a decision can be made.
At Denver Web & Video, we primarily use the Divi theme because of a wide array of design possibilities, great reviews, a long list of features, affordable price and great support. When we build you a site based on the Divi theme, we give you the first year of theme maintenance at no cost, and we give you half price on subsequent years. We also know the powerful Divi theme well so we can build your site faster using that theme than most designers.
If you choose to use another theme, we’ll support you as best we can; some themes, such as the WordPress default themes like TwentyNineteen, are extremely limited in what they can do and how they can be edited. Other themes, like the default High End theme that Blue Host gives their customers, are out-dated and can be difficult to work with. If you are looking for a good theme, make sure to check reviews, look at YouTube tutorials for that theme, and go to the theme’s support page to gather information before you buy. Nevertheless, the theme is the customer’s decision and we work with you on that.
6. Page Wireframing and Design
A wireframe is a conceptual layout of a web page; normally this is done for all of the main pages, so that you the customer can see what you’re getting in the design stage. A wireframe is often drawn by hand, and has a lot of boxes that indicate where textual and image content will go. It’s easier and more efficient to plan and make changes at this stage than it is later, once the pages have been created.
7. Content Development, Aquisition and Optimization
You probably already have some content in mind for most if not all your pages. You can also get ideas on content from your competitors, and we can help you with content. Almost always, you’ll want images to go with your textual content. Images can help to explain ideas, images are more memorable, and images serve to brighten and add life to a web page.
Video content is the most powerful content you can add to a page, as many recent studies have shown. You can make your own videos and embed them on your site, or we can help you make videos.
Content optimization is the process of making sure that your text is scannable, your images are sized to the page correctly (in pixels), and your images are compressed (bringing size and ‘weight’ down further). Content optimization can make your pages much easier to look at and move through, as well as making the pages load much faster.
Sometimes you will have content, sometimes it can be aquired (though you have to be careful that you don’t make your site look like it was built with stock images), and sometimes new content needs to be created.
8. Planning for Blogs & Social Media to Keep Your Site Fresh
If your site never has new information on it, people will visit a few times, but then their visits will drop off to nothing, unless you have some kind of resource there that they need. One of the main purposes of a blog is to create new content to drive traffic to your site. News, events and calendar pages give you a way to communicate new information about what’s going on at your business.
Blogs, news and events can be posted to the social media channels of your choice and can be used to drive traffic to your site.
Depending on your business model, you may want to persuade your visitors to download a helpful PDF or eBook, watch an informative video, or sign up for a newsletter in order to get their email address for email marketing.
9. Security and Maintenance Considerations
There are some basic and advanced things you can do to make your site more secure. Perhaps the most important thing is to keep your WordPress installation updated to the latest release of WordPress, because hackers discover and share methods to breach older versions of WordPress. The same can be said for your WordPress plugins – they should be kept up to date, and you should limit the amount of WordPress plugins to the minimum you need to operate efficiently.
Your site should be backed up regularly, and you should store a recent backup in a place you can get to it, outside of your hosting provider. There are many other security and maintenance recommendations and we work with you to make sure your site is as secure and bulletproof as it can be.
Examples of Work
TransMagic.com is the website of TransMagic, Inc., a software development firm in Westminster specializing in CAD interoperability. As Technical Communications Manager, Brad Strong was involved in most of design and integration of text, image and video assets throughout the site.
LeatherneckPrecision.com is a high-precision CNC machine shop located in Englewood, Colorado. This site received a full-on redesign, complete with custom images taken from their own machine tools and copy generated through collaboration with the owner.
Minatronics.com is the home of the LightGard Fiber Optic Security System. This site had text, but no images showing the actual product, so we added a How It Works page, and an Applications page detailing the product, and sped up the page load times from as much as 20 seconds down to 3-5 seconds.