Creating your professional services website
1. Gather information
Step 1 is where we capture all the information you’re going to need for your website. The following four points are what we aim to understand BEFORE you begin to build your website:
What is the purpose of your site? Are you providing information; promoting a service; selling a product or something else?
What do you hope to accomplish by building this website? Two common goals are either to make money or share information.
3. Target audience
Is there a specific group of people that will help you reach your goals? It is helpful to picture the “ideal” person you want to visit your web site. Consider their age, gender, interests etc – this will help determine the best design style and user journeys for your site.
What kind of information will the target audience be looking for on your site? Are they looking for specific information, a particular product or service, online ordering? Do you know what keywords they use to find content like yours?
2. Plan – User research, content design, sitemap
Building a web site around content creates the foundation for on-going success. By creating content first we get clear on the audience and needs of those users. Understanding and writing for that audience is the key to a website that converts sales. If customers and clients can accomplish what they came for easily and quickly they will be more likely to become recurring sales, and also refer your website to others.
We’ll put together a plan for your website using the information that’s already gathered in phase 1. Key content topics will be mapped out, and user pathways created that help both you and your clients meet their goals. We’ll start to think about the types of calls-to-action you’ll need to create an easy to navigate website.
From here we can develop a sitemap. A sitemap is similar to a floor plan for a building. It helps to map out what the page structure of a website or application will be and how these pages will relate to each other.
At this stage, it’s time to develop a design to house the information we’ve gathered so far. We’ll consider things like target audience, brand colours and user experience. Strong and relevant images are another aspect we’ll consider to make sure your site sends the right messages to your audience.
We’ll create a click-through prototype that mimics the behaviour and look of a live site. This gives the opportunity to review the site and ensure it matches the needs of the business. We’ll work with you on this prototype until we arrive at the final design for your site.
This is where our developers take the final signed-off prototype and do their coding work, putting all of the page content and functionality into place.
Our planning up to this stage ensures there are no major development changes needed on the fly, which means your project stays on budget and on time.
Migrate or populate content
Once you or a writer has written your first round of copy you can start to drop it into your site via a content management system (CMS), or we can organise that for you. Because we’ve done all the groundwork in the first stage of the web creation process this is a smooth process and usually, only minor tweaks and revisions will be necessary.
If you’re updating an old site to a shiny new one you may have some content you want to transfer over. This could be a simple export from the old site into the new site, which we can take care of.
Test and deliver
It’s time to test. Our designers and developers will thoroughly test all aspects of your new website to make sure it meets global web standards. Some of the things we test are; speed, security, accessibility, cross-device compatibility, optimisation for search returns and functionality.
Once you’re happy and give our designer final approval we’ll deliver your site. An FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program is used to upload the site files to your server. Some web designers offer domain name registration and web hosting services as well, or have recommendations as to where you can host your site. Once these accounts have been setup, and your web site uploaded to the server, the site should be put through one last run-through. This is just precautionary, to confirm that all files have been uploaded correctly, and that the site continues to be fully functional.
There are a lot of details involved in optimising your website for the search engines – enough to warrant its own post. This is a very important step, because even though you now have a website, you need to make sure that people can find it.
Get your site working
Once your site is live we can focus on building more traffic, capturing leads and helping you to convert those leads. A return on the investment is what we’re all focussed on- our success is your success. We’ll also keep an eye on site security and make sure updates are regularly implemented to make sure your site is working at its best.