Anyone Can Build a Website…
Lack of technical know-how and ability can often render a “homemade” website almost useless. Added to that, the initial approach is often misguided and the end goal is not adequately defined so what most end up with is a badly put together online brochure that fails to deliver the company’s message and image adequately. And then of course there are search rankings or should we say lack of search rankings. You see, the requirements of a website being able to rank well, comes down to many factors but most importantly is how the website has been built. The SEO shortcuts of yesteryear are no longer in play. Rankings fundamentally require a website to be built well and of course high calibre content is vital. Unfortunately without the knowhow, these factors are overlooked when non-professionals attempt their own website build.
Yes it costs more to have a professional organisation develop a website for you but the long term benefits far outweigh the initial costs and with a company supporting you for the long haul your chances of success are multiplied exponentially.
So how do we approach a new website? There’s a lot more going on than you think.
After the initial brief, we begin with a thorough, up-front process of discovery. Once the client is confident with the initial cost and requirement assessment we start the planning phase. Here we develop a series of deliverables that allow us to work efficiently through the duration of the development. A powerful website relies on a solid foundation and certain initial deliverables are outlined such as:
- Project setup
- Timeline & milestone setup
- Conversion workflow
- Platform roll-out
If your website is not attracting or communicating its message to your target market, then you are wasting your time.
Quality content development is crucial and requires serious attention. Writing a few badly worded articles and posting some pretty images don’t cut it anymore.
There are specific guidelines, which if implemented properly, will add the expected value to your site.
A client will in most cases provide us with content for their site. We then pick it apart, add to it, subtract from it and edit it until it best speaks the message to not only potential clients but also to the ranking requirements that search engines react to positively. In some cases clients prefer us to do the content for them in which case we utilise our professional copywriters to develop high quality subject matter that allows the best chances of success. In both cases building content requires careful attention and scrutiny.
Initial Configuration and Layout:
With the basic plan and content proofed and ready, we only then start looking at the backend build of the website. It’s here that implementation of clean code, widgets, plugins and tags etc. are identified. What will work where? How will it look? What integrations are required? Are all these factors working synergistically? So, so important. A well-constructed backend, cleanly put together will ensure better chances of success and fewer frustrations in the future.
Here again is where clients often misstep when doing their own websites and will often end up using a template from a platform that “kind of fits” their corporate identity. The design phase is tricky for those with limited experience in this area as it isn’t easy to manipulate an “off the shelf” template into the dynamic looking website that will stand out from the rest.
Make no bones about it, a well-designed front end can set yourself apart and successfully convey the image your company is about. Here we ensure that the clients website is customised properly utilising their branding, colours, functional requirements, and best usability practices. The same design elements are used across all media platforms and setup for maximum conversion.
Integrations are critical achieving online success. Social media integrations assist in rankings as well as vehicles to drive traffic to your site and ultimately your services or products. We recommend and train our clients in the use of various social media platforms, marketing and website analysis engines. Professional set up and integrations of these are crucial. We recommend, at the very least, the ones listed here.
- Mailing Systems
- Google Business
- Google Analytics
We are even at the beginning stages focusing on this area but once the basic site is coming together we do a full SEO implementation and analysis of all areas.
We use a combination of tactics based on a core strategy of content generation to increase the traffic to the clients’ site.
For effective SEO we look at the following areas:
- Define goals
- Brainstorm & keyword discovery
- In-depth keyword research
- Competitive analysis
- Local listing submission & optimization
- Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others
- Industry specific directory placement
- Competitive link building
- Link bait development
- Blogging & PR submission
- Local business directories
- Social media optimization
Wrapping It Up:
OK so the site is looking good. The cogs are working like a well-oiled mustang on show day and it’s almost time to go live. Unplanned components, ideas, revisions, and project scope changes do occur so here we consult with the client and analyse the site from beginning to end and attend to these areas. The client is given a basic training session on how the site works.
But wait! It’s not over…
The key to long term success is how we manage the site going forward. Keeping your business relevant and the search engines interested requires weekly effort. New articles need to be created, new products loaded and the site needs to expand as your business does. Nine times out ten our clients will cede these services over to us where we can manage their online affairs. Ultimately their business grows, their message spreads and they soon see the value of hiring professionals to assist them so they can focus on what they do best. Their business.