Achieving Website Development Success – Part 3 – The Build Process

This is the final instalment of our three-part series explaining the website development process. In previous blogs, we explained what you need to do to plan for a new website, as well as how to find, select, and engage a website developer.

In this blog, we’ll look at the build process.

Of course, much of this part of the process will be looked after by your website developer. It is important, however, that you understand key elements of the process, as well as the elements you will need to be involved in.

The Key Stages of a Website Build

  • Discovery – this involves a meeting with you to decide on the scope and specification documents. This includes outlining the specific functionality you want the website to have so the developer can ensure it meets your expectations.
  • Content strategy and sitemap creation – you will be involved in approving both, although your website developer will create them.
  • Wireframes presentation – you will be expected to provide feedback on the wireframes and proposed website design.
  • Revised designs – you will need to give your approval before the website developer can move to the next stage.
  • Frontend development – this will typically involve creating a bespoke template that will deliver the look, feel, and functionality of your new website.
  • Content creation – this happens in tandem with frontend development and involves writing the website’s content as well as creating other assets like images and video.
  • CMS setup and third-party integrations – this involves coding the administration elements and backend of the website.
  • Upload content – with the CMS in place, it will be possible to upload the content.
  • Test – the developer will then test everything on the website before recommending it is ready to launch.
  • Launch – this involves moving the website from the development platform to your server, live on the internet.

Key Roles at You Website Developer

Depending on the size of website developer, you may speak to several different people as part of the development process. This includes:

  • Project manager – who has overall responsibility for the delivery of the project
  • Content manager – this could be the project manager and it usually involves an element of SEO
  • Copywriter – the person responsible for writing the content on your website
  • Website designer – this person is involved in creating the website’s visual appearance
  • Website developer – this involves using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and your CMS to create the website’s functionality.

Other Things You Need to Know

  • Sitemaps – sitemaps outline the navigational structure of your website. In other words, the sitemap determines how visitors to your website will find information. The importance of getting this part of the process right cannot be understated.
  • WordPress – WordPress is undoubtedly the biggest and most widely used CMS in the world. It also offers significant advantages. If your website developer proposes not using WordPress, make sure you understand and agree with the reasons why.
  • Content – content includes images and video as well as text. Text should always be written from the perspective of your website visitors, not from your company’s perspective. You should also consider video if it is within your budget, and images should be relevant and unique.
  • SEO – your website developer should build in SEO features to your website from the start.
  • Responsive website design – your developer will probably use a responsive website design. This will ensure your website looks right regardless of the size of screen. When you are reviewing the website, make sure you think about how it looks on mobile as well as a computer. This is because the developer might include design features aimed at mobile users.

Finally, you will need to have a post-launch plan for things like maintenance, website backup, and visitor acquisition. This will ensure you maximise return on investment from the website development.

Achieving Website Development Success – Part 2 – Getting Started with a Developer

This three-part blog series explains the various stages of a website development process so that you:

  • Know what the stages are
  • Understand what you can do to help it be a success
  • Know what you can expect from your developer

This is part 2 of the series. In this blog, we’ll look at getting quotes from developers, selecting a developer, and then getting the project started.

Of course, the exact process you will experience will depend on the type of website you are developing as well as the developer’s internal processes. This blog will, however, outline the key points and stages as well as highlighting things you should consider.

Think Carefully About the Proposals Process Before Seeking Quotes from Developers

You will probably need to get quotes from website developers, so you can select one to build your new website. Before beginning this process, however, think carefully about what you are asking the developers to do.

Asking them to plan the website out, give you an idea of the structure, and/or create a specification document, could be viewed as asking for free work.

If you can’t provide this information to developers so they can prepare a proposal, and the developer can’t cost the job without the information, you should consider investing in a needs analysis process. This involves putting together information the developer will require so they properly understand what you want to achieve.

If the website you are planning is relatively standard and you have a rough idea of the pages, content, and functionality you want, you may be able to obtain quotes without getting a needs analysis.

Select a Developer

You should now be at the point of choosing and appointing a website developer. Here are some things you should find out and understand:

  • The proposed timeframe and schedule
  • The developer’s skills, including the skills of the individuals who will be working on your project
  • What is the developer’s track record? Have you read their testimonials and case studies?
  • How much will the project cost?
  • Is everything included in that cost?
  • What are the arrangements for post-sales support and website maintenance?
  • What platform does the developer plan to use to build the website?
  • Does the developer build bespoke websites or use template designs?
  • Do you get a good feeling about the developer? Do you think you can work with the team, and are you happy they are committed to making your website a success?

First Things the Developer Will Need

Once you appoint a developer, it’s worthwhile considering the following points. Your developer is likely to ask them, probably in your first meeting. Your answers will help the developer better understand your business.

The things your developer will want to know includes:

  • The company mission statement
  • How you want your business to be perceived
  • What do visitors to your website want to achieve?
  • What is the most important message on the website?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • Who is your competition?
  • Why do customers choose you instead of the competition?
  • Websites you like and why
  • Websites you don’t like and why
  • How you will measure success

The Next Stages

In the third and final part of this blog series, we’ll look at the steps involved in the build process – what you can expect, what the developer will do, and how you might be involved.

Achieving Website Development Success – Part 1 – Initial Planning

Many people become frustrated with website development projects. For others, the process might be smooth, but the result doesn’t live up to expectations. These situations occur when you fail to properly plan for a new website design project.

Now, before going on, you might be thinking it is up to the website designer to plan the project for you. Of course, they need a plan too, but there are also things you need to do, think about, and/or be aware of. By doing these things, you will end up with a better and more successful website.

Three Important Things to Remember Before You Start

  1. Your website is about users, not you – try not to design the website for you or from the perspective of your business. Instead, make it about the users by focusing on why they will want to visit your website and what they want to achieve by doing so.
  2. The website you get at the end of the development process is not static. In fact, you should never consider your website as being finished. A good website should be a dynamic tool that changes and adapts according to the needs of your business.
  3. The value of your website should not be underestimated. After all, it is one of the first experiences people will have with your company.

Understand that Website Development is a Marketing Function

Website development is often mistaken as being a technical task, but it’s not. Instead, website development is a marketing function. After all, your website is a marketing tool, so the process of getting a new website developed should be led by your marketing team.

Decide on the Website’s Main Objectives

What do you want your business to achieve by getting a new website? This could be any one or a combination of the following common objectives:

  • Enhance the profile of your brand
  • Make sales directly on the website (if it’s an eCommerce website)
  • Generate leads
  • Get potential customers to phone or email your business
  • Encourage people to visit your physical location
  • Register
  • Click on ads

Being clear about the objectives of your website is essential before you can move on.

What Do You Want the Website to Do?

You should also decide on the functionality you want the website to have. You don’t have to make a final list at this stage as the website developer you choose can help you with this part of the process. If there are things you want, however, list them out.

Remember as well, you might not be able to get all the functionality on your wish list. After all, you probably have a set budget that you must stay within, which may restrict the features you can have.

Two Additional Points to Consider at this Stage

  • Brand – many small businesses don’t have a brand when they decide to get a new website. If this applies in your situation, you will need to get a brand either as part of the website development process (if the developer has designers with branding and logo creation skills) or separate to it. You should factor this into your budget.
  • Domain name – if you don’t already have one, you will also need a domain name.

The Next Stages

In part 2 of this series, we’ll look at the process of selecting and beginning work with a developer.

How Much Does Website Design Cost?

How Much Does Website Design Cost?

You probably won’t be surprised to hear there is no simple answer to the question how much does website design cost. It’s a bit like asking how much does a car cost. After all, you could probably get a car for a couple of hundred dollars if you wanted to. It will get you from A to B but it won’t look very good and it will probably break down a lot. Equally, you could buy a car that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, but for most people that is complete overkill.

The same applies when considering website design costs, i.e. it depends on what you want and how you get your website designed. At the bottom end of the scale, you can get a website that will cost you almost nothing if you build it yourself. If you want a professionally designed website, however, you can expect the cost to be in the thousands of dollars’ range.

As most SMEs in New Zealand will need a professionally designed website, this article focuses on professional, custom website design costs.

Website Design Auckland: Cost

The average cost of website design in Auckland is $1,000 – $10,000+ for a custom website built by a professional website design company.

The things that will affect the cost include the functionality you need and the services you want from the website designer. The website designer’s skills and experience also impact the price you pay.

As with most things in life, not all designers work to the same standards, with high-quality workmanship demanding a premium.

What Your Money Gets You

There are five main elements of website design, all of which influence the cost. This is what you can expect from your website design agency for its fee:

  1. Server setup – the configuration of your website’s server, implementing a CDN, installing an SSL certificate, setting up email on the domain, installing a CMS, and more.
  2. Website design including UX – this part of the process involves designing the layout of the website. This usually means customising an existing template or creating a fully customised option. UX is important too. This involves looking at the navigation, user flow, and ease of use to ensure the user experience is as good as possible.
  3. Adding functionality and custom code – this is where your website designer works on the website’s engine adding the functionality you need. This can be anything from web forms to shopping carts and checkouts to integrations with your existing systems.
  4. Content creation – your website needs text and images. Your website designer will coordinate this part of the process and may also provide copywriting and graphic design services.
  5. Ongoing maintenance – a website is never fully finished as it requires ongoing maintenance and updating. This will be included in the price you pay for the website for a fixed period of time. You will need a maintenance contract once this time expires.

The Cost of Your Website

As mentioned above, you can get a website online for next to nothing if you want to. Why, then, should you invest several thousand dollars in a website design? Firstly, nothing is really free. There are costs involved even if you build the website yourself, plus you will need to spend time learning how to do it – as your time is money, there is a cost associated with this too.

The main reason for getting a professionally designed website at the above design costs, however, is results. Your website will look better and it will function better when it is professionally designed. This will help ensure your website achieves its objectives.

Launching a Website Without a Brand or Money

Successfully Launching a Website Without a Brand or Money to Promote It

So, you’ve got a great idea for a website or business, but have no money to promote it. You can make it a success, so long as you adopt the right strategy. Here’s how to successfully launch a website without a brand or money to promote it.

What You Shouldn’t Worry About

There are two things you shouldn’t worry about and the first is SEO. Of course, you should make your website SEO friendly and you should follow good SEO practice, but SEO should not be a priority in your marketing strategy. The reality is you simply won’t be able to beat the main websites in Google searches for your products or services. In fact, you probably wouldn’t be able to beat them even if you had a big budget. So, do the basics, but at the start don’t worry about SEO.

Secondly, don’t worry about advertising either. Sure, if you’ve got the money to allocate to a campaign and the time to learn how to make it work, advertising is a great way to generate new leads and sales for your business. If you don’t have money or time to allocate, forget about advertising.

Launching a new website

How to Launch a Website with No Money or Brand

Right, let’s get onto what you should do. There are three broad strategies you should adopt:

  • Get referrals
  • Become an industry expert
  • Meet real people

Let’s look at each in more detail.

Get Referrals

Getting referrals is a tactic that businesses have used for decades – long before the introduction of the internet. In fact, most successful salespeople have a referral strategy. With a bit of thought, you can implement a referral strategy for your website that won’t cost you anything.

Here are two techniques you can use to achieve this:

  • List your products on marketplaces or listing websites – this normally only applies if you sell products rather than services, but it’s an excellent way to get instant visibility when you’re unknown. The most well-known marketplace is Amazon and eBay is one of the most popular listing sites. The downsides include the marketplace taking a cut from your sales and the fact the transaction takes place on its website, not yours. That said, you’ll get sales you might not otherwise get plus you’ll increase the exposure of your brand, including in Google.
  • Offer an incentive – this can take many forms, but it usually involves offering existing customers an incentive to refer your brand to their friends and family. This incentive could, for example, be in the form of a discount.

Become an Industry Expert

The next zero-cost strategy you can use is to enhance your reputation as an expert in your industry. You can do this by having an active presence on social media, participating in discussion groups, and offering help on questions and answers websites. These will all help, but the best approach is through guest blogging.

The process involves finding relevant blogs and industry websites that publish guest posts. You then need to reach out to them to become a contributor, usually offering an idea for a post. Once published, you’ll get referral traffic to your website plus you’ll raise your profile online.

Meet Real People

The final step involves getting away from the computer as you can get more traffic to your website and grow it faster by meeting more people. This includes attending industry events, local business events, networking events, and more. The connections you make today can turn into sales in the future.

Making a new website successful involves thinking outside the box and using strategies that have a track record of success. The above will get you off to a good start.

Here is How to Generate Leads from Your Website

It doesn’t matter how good your website looks or how much traffic it attracts if you don’t get any leads. The fact is, leads won’t come in on their own. You need to take steps and include features on your website that encourage people to give you their information.

Once you start successfully collecting leads you can begin optimising to ensure you get as many as possible. You can also work on your conversion rate to turn more of those leads into sales and profits. It all starts with getting leads, though.

The Lead Magnet

If you don’t give your visitors a compelling reason to give you their contact information, they won’t. One of the best methods of getting leads on a website is by using lead magnets.

Lead magnets are something that you offer the visitor in exchange for their contact information, which is usually their email address. Examples of lead magnets include:

  • eBook
  • Report
  • Resource, such as “100 best…” or “50 tips to…”
  • Free trial if your product or service is suitable
  • Video such as a video tutorial
  • Discount
  • Free analysis or assessment such as “free analysis of your business Facebook page…”

To make lead magnets work, they must be targeted at your customers and they must be genuinely valuable. In other words, they must be worth the exchange of contact information.

Lead magnets are beneficial for several reasons:

  • They generate leads
  • The leads they generate are from people at all stages in the buying cycle
  • They help to build your reputation as an expert in your industry
  • They allow you to start a conversation with the potential customer

Essential Website Elements for Getting Leads

There are lots of things your website should have that will help you get more leads. The two most important are:

  • Well placed buttons – you should have “Free Quote” or “Free Consultation” buttons in prominent positions on each page of your website. In addition, the button should be big and should have a design that gets attention.
  • Exit overlay – an exit overlay displays a popover when the user’s browser detects they are about to leave your website. It gives you one last chance to offer the visitor something in return for their contact information. This can be your main lead magnet or something additional that will get their attention.

Additional Tips to Get Leads from Your Website

The above tips are the most important elements to increase the number of leads you get from your website, but there are other steps you can take. This includes:

  • Live chat – adding a live chat feature to your website lets visitors quickly and easily ask you questions or find information. It is unobtrusive and the user is in control, so it doesn’t put visitors off, plus it’s effective at getting leads.
  • Social proof – adding testimonials to your website increases confidence and trust levels. This will encourage visitors to give you their contact details as it shows you have a proven track record.
  • Add trust signals – other trust signals you can add include details of awards you’ve won or certifications you have.
  • Call to action – it is also important to include calls to action on your website. If you don’t ask your users to give you their contact details or request a quote, they won’t.
  • Blog – blogging improves your reputation and level of authority which can also generate leads.

The final tip is to work with a website developer that understands lead generation, keeping in mind that not all do. At Kiwi Website Design, we specialise in lead generating websites and have a long track record of success. To find out more, contact us today.

Who Owns The Website After Project Is Finished?

Here is a scenario: you meet a web design company, they give you a proposal, you pay them, they make a website to match your requirements, and they provide you with administrator access. Now the question is: who owns your website? You are thinking it’s you, however, it’s not that simple.

Let’s look at some of the components of a website to understand what you can and can’t own:

What You Don’t Own

image

Domain name:
You don’t actually own your domain name. You rent it which gives you exclusive rights to it, but you don’t completely own it. It is the same situation as your phone number. That said, your domain name is your property even if it’s registered by your website company. According to Wikipedia: “Domain name registration with a registrar does not confer any legal ownership of the domain name, only an exclusive right of use.”

Hosting:
The same situation applies to hosting as to your domain name. With website hosting, you usually rent a full server or share a space on a server. You do, however, have control to switch hosting if you would like to move your website to another location.

CMS:
A CMS is a web application that is used to manage the administration of content on your website. Examples include WordPress, Drupal, and Mighty-Site. You don’t own the CMS web platform, however, unless you write the source code.

What You Own

image

Design and Visuals:
The logo, colour, interfaces, typography, and images are typically owned by the creator unless they are created by a web design company and then licensed to you.

Content:
You can own all the text content on your website plus the photography, images, and videos. Stock photography, however, is licensed to your company. This allows you to use the photographs on your website, but you don’t own them.

HTML, CSS, and JavaScript: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are the building blocks of any website. The website creator should provide an agreement that transfers ownership of the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to you on completion of the website. Unless you or your employees author the code, it is owned by the website creator and is licensed to you.

Conclusion
You never legally own the domain name, web server, CMS, web platform, database software, or the language used to build your website. Only if you author the website yourself or have a “work for hire” agreement will you own the website source code. Furthermore, if you author your own content, create the design, and create your own graphics, you will own the website’s visual design and content. Most importantly, when you hire a web design company, make sure they are transparent about their terms and conditions.

Top Tips for Successful Website Project

Are you ready for your first website but don’t know how to get started?

Having a professional and good-looking website is important for every new business. That said, starting a new website can be exciting and intimidating at the same time. Here are tips for building your first website.

Purpose of your website
Think about what your website is for. Why will people want to visit your site? What do you want them to do once they are on it? If these things are clear then everything else becomes much simpler.

Choose WordPress

image

Getting a new website involves choosing the right platform. You should invest in a CMS platform like WordPress as it is the most popular choice worldwide. Stats provided by VentureBeat show that approximately one-quarter of new websites globally are built on WordPress. That many people just can’t be wrong.

Your Homepage is important
According to HubSpot, it takes less than 15 seconds for people to decide whether to stay on your website or leave. So, your homepage design is the most important page of your website. Don’t bombard visitors with text and annoying information. Instead, keep your homepage simple and user-friendly.

High-Quality Content
The content on your website plays an important role in reaching your business goals. High-quality content helps retain visitors as well as giving you a higher ranking with search engines.

Blogging
Most people underestimate the power of a blog. However, it is a proven and powerful tool to increase income and generate business growth. According to a recent study, websites with blogs get 67 percent more leads than those that don’t. A blog can also enhance SEO when you use good keywords in articles that help Google match your site to user searches. In addition, a blog provides a platform to build a strong relationship and establish trust with your customers.

Feedback
Like every other business, feedback from your website is important. Feedback provides you with insights that you can use to improve your business, products, and overall customer experience.

Responsive design

image

Make sure your website is mobile-friendly which usually means having a responsive website design. According to The Verge, more than half of searches are now done through mobile. If your website is not mobile-friendly, Google will push your website back in the rankings.

Sticky Navigation
Navigation with good design and the right words can boost the likelihood of a return visit in the future. For example, when a visitor accesses your website to search for something, the first thing they will look for is the navigation. If your navigation is not clear, the visitor will leave. Therefore, effective navigation can make a visit to your website productive. On the other hand, ineffective navigation can be a disaster for your business.

Enquiry Forms
Enquiry forms are an integral part of most websites. They allow customers to reach you by completing a simple form if, for example, they want you to provide them with your services. Therefore, designing the right enquiry form is very important to encourage visitors to get in touch.

Lead Capture
Lead capture usually includes a form and an incentive. The customer gets the incentive in return for information like an email address. Common incentives include free eBooks or weekly newsletters. In fact, for some websites, getting visitors to complete a lead capture form is the main goal as completed forms become leads you can follow up to make a sale.

Choosing A Platform For Your Website Project

Picking a platform for your website is an important decision for the online presence of your business. With vendors providing countless options, it can be difficult to choose the right one. The important factors you need to consider are functionality, ease of use, and reasonable pricing.

Over a decade ago, there were only HTML-based websites that were built from scratch by writing code in a plain text editor. Technology has progressed a long way since then and now there are a wide variety of solutions available, including Content Management Systems (CMS).

Nowadays, the big web development shops in New Zealand offer custom CMS platforms with promises of glory and expensive price tags. Instead of listening to a sales person, we recommended that, in the first instance, you ask yourself what you are looking for and then decide.

We are going to compare some of the popular platforms to help give you an idea of what you should pick.

Content Management Systems

What is a content management system?
A CMS is an application that allows you to create and run your website. You will get an interface where you can create and update pages, posts, and other types of content including images, videos, and more. You can also organise the content however you want to.

In addition, you can change the design of the website through the admin panel. You perform these actions by clicking buttons or by drag and drop.

There are two types of CMS: open source CMS, and custom or proprietary CMS.

Open Source CMS
An open source CMS is a platform built using code that is readily available to anyone to use, copy, edit, or redistribute. Some of the most popular open source CMS platforms are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.

Using an open source CMS is simple – you buy your own domain, set up website hosting, and install the open source CMS on your web server. You then choose a theme for your website, add plugins for advanced functionality, and create the content.

image

An open source CMS allows you great control of your website. In addition, you can create and update your website without any knowledge of coding languages. According to Yoast, the most popular open source CMS platform is WordPress. It is used on over 70 million websites around the world.

With WordPress, you can easily add pages, images, blog posts, and much more. Moreover, there are a vast number of plugins to help you easily add functionality to your website.

There are countless advantages of using the WordPress platform too. Firstly, you can create any type website – static websites, blogs, e-commerce websites, forums, membership sites, and more. Secondly, you get full ownership of your website so you can change your hosting company without losing the site. Last but not least, WordPress is fully customisable unlike custom CMS platforms and website builders.

If you are looking for a solution that is highly customised as well as being affordable without the hassle of monthly billing, you should consider this route as a proprietary CMS may not be dynamic enough for your needs.

Proprietary CMS

A propriety CMS, or custom CMS, is a platform built and maintained by a single company. This means the source code cannot be modified and you do not own the website. This type of platform is used by web companies who develop their own CMS for their clients. They typically charge a monthly fee and provide support.

Furthermore, these websites are not flexible or easily expandable. The addition of more features to your website, for example, will require manual programming by the CMS owner as you will not have access to the source code. The worst part is that you cannot migrate to any other vendor without losing your website.

As stated by GadgeTopia, we strongly discourage websites which are developed on custom CMS platforms as it is similar to renting a website rather than owning one. In addition, this option is usually expensive in long run.

image

Website Builders

Website builders allow you to create websites using a drag and drop interface. You simply choose a template and customise the content. A few examples of common website builders are Wix, Weebly, Shopify, and Squarespace.

One of the best things about website builders is that your website and hosting are provided with one simple package that usually includes a free domain name. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about coding, software maintenance, or other technical aspects of owning a website.

The worst part of website builders is that you only have limited templates to choose from. The customisation options are also limited.

Ecommerce Platforms

If you want to create an online store, an e-commerce platform will be the right choice for your business. Some of the popular e-commerce platforms are Shopify, BigCommerce, and PrestaShop. These platforms allow you to quickly setup an online store without any coding experience.

One of the perks with hosted e-commerce platforms like the examples above is that you don’t have to worry about website hosting or payment processing. In addition, you get 24/7 support and transaction security. However, these platforms are extremely expensive and you cannot fully customise your website.

HTML website

If you want to go for an old-school static website which requires design and code from scratch, then you should consider this option. Simple HTML websites are good for small businesses as they are fast and user-friendly.

Pick this option if you don’t have to change your content very often. If the website requires regular maintenance or frequent content changes, you will have difficulties.

In Conclusion

image

To conclude, all platforms have pros and cons but in our opinion, we prefer the open source CMS WordPress. The biggest advantage of using WordPress is that you own your website so can change your hosting company without losing the site. Also, your website is fully customisable and there is a user-friendly interface.