Have you ever wondered how an agency like Rusty Monkey approaches a web design and development project? Wonder no more! In this blog you will find a detailed description of the journey we go on with our clients when building a new website.
Ready to start?
What do we need to do?
Before we can start work on any website development work it’s essential to know what the project goals are. The goals can include things like increased sales, brand communication or better user experience.
Define the audience
It is very important to know who will be using the website and what their needs are, as this allows us to tailor the web design scope to best serve them. Well written brand guidelines are a great resource for us to use here.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) audit
SEO is a great way to find out the search habits of your existing and potential customers, and to discover the problems you can help them with.
Questions we ask at this stage include:
How do your users currently find companies like yours?
What questions do they have?
What problems do they need to solve?
What converts well/badly on your current site?
With this knowledge we can optimise the design and content of your site.
We don’t like to get bogged down too much with what everyone else is doing but it’s useful to spend a little bit of time looking at things like your competitor's website, products, customer journey, branding, and so on, as it can help you fine tune your own offering and focus on your niche. We can also learn lessons from things they do well and things they do badly.
The user journey is a large area of analysis starting from the time where your customer first encounters your brand to when they eventually use your product. We focus on the part of the journey where they arrive on the site until they trigger a goal; e.g. buying something or signing up to a newsletter. Following the initial build, you can opt in for a continuous improvement retainer, which will allow us to refine and fine tune the user journey based on things like analytics and customer feedback.
Questions we ask include:
How can we plan the best experience for users?
Are there any site errors or obstacles preventing the completion of goals?
Can we shorten the path to the goal?
How will we do it?
There are many options available when choosing a website platform, so we pick the best fit for the project based on budget, and technical and user requirements. Some popular platforms are WordPress, Magento, React and Vue.
Using WAgile methodologies, we plan out the tasks that need to be completed and the time taken for each. This ensures we can deliver the web build on time and to budget.
This stage is where we determine which pages are needed and where they should be on the website. The main factors we consider are providing a great user experience (UX) and performing well for search engine optimisation (SEO).
Website design phase
What will it look like?
Beginning with ideation to sketch out initial concepts based on the brand guidelines, the process ends with fully developed visual designs. The finished design will be tailored to maximise user engagement whilst enabling a logical and efficient experience. User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) will play a big part in the decision making at this stage.
In order to create a workable design that resembles your finished website as closely as possible, we will populate our design templates with real content. If you already have plenty of content - e.g. blog posts, product copy, marketing copy, photography, illustration, video, etc - we will use this in our layouts to demonstrate what your content will look like in the new design.
If you don't yet have any content for your website, we will include a content creation phase in our quote. During this phase, we can provide support for the creation of a wide range of different types of content, optimised for web and search. Note that if you would like more long-term support for content creation, one of our online marketing retainers will cover this. We can provide regular blog articles, content updates, photography, video, and more.
Website build phase
Let’s do it!
Set up the platform
The chosen platform is uploaded to the hosting service. The type of service can vary depending on the project requirements and can include options such as shared hosting, a dedicated server or a content delivery network (CDN).
Create pages on site populate content
Pages are added to the web platform and the content is added. During this stage, we will ensure the content is optimised for search, page speed, etc.
If there is a requirement for extra website functionality such as member's areas or CRM integrations we will add them in at this stage. Sometimes we may just need to connect up your existing services, but if bespoke website development is needed we will code and integrate that too.
Browser testing is used to ensure that the website displays correctly in different web browsers across different devices. We also employ web accessibility testing so users with disabilities can access the content unhindered. Forms and scripts are tested to ensure that they behave as required.
Run free my beauty!
Set site live
Once we are happy that the build fulfills the brief and is completed, we will set the website live. This involves ‘pre-flight checks’ before updating the DNS record to reflect the new location of the website.
Sometimes websites can behave differently on different hosting platforms, so we test the site again on the live hosting environment to ensure quality.
Training and onboarding
We never set a website live without ensuring our customers are fully versed in the operation of their content management system (CMS) or control panel. We provide training and onboarding so that everyone is clear with how the technology works.
30-day support period
Your quote includes 30 days of support just in case there are any teething problems with your new website in the first month of use.
The needs and habits of your visitors will change over time so it's important to continually refine the content and features of your site to keep up-to-date. This could include anything from making keyword tweaks to improve SEO to building landing pages for your PPC campaigns. Your technical requirements may also evolve over time.
While this activity is not included in your website project quote, we can help with the continuous improvement of your website under a retainer agreement.
Maintenance and updates
Technology is constantly changing and new vulnerabilities emerge so it’s important to factor in platform updates and technical changes to keep your website up-to-date and safe. We offer maintenance plans and support contracts to cover this.
Who wrote this?
He / him. A dev guru, Russ has been playing with tech and building websites for longer than most of us can remember. He loves to weave together intricate systems in the background that create a seamless and beautifully functioning user experience. As our Financial Director, Russ is also in charge of important things like sending out invoices and buying selotape. A fan of real ales, three-course lunches, and networking events in exotic locations, you are just as likely to find him listening to heavy metal in a muddy field as you are hobnobbing with ecommerce execs in Singapore.