The Website Design Process

Its all about meeting the needs of others.  It all starts with your need for a website designed to most effectively connect your customers, clients and readers with the products, services and information they need.  Having their needs meet through your website will in turn cause your need for greater exposure, leading to more business, to be met. 

WNC Web Designs can help meet your needs by partnering with you in the designing, building and maintenance of your special and unique website.  You can then meet your customer's needs by providing them with easy access to the information and products they are looking for via your well designed website.

The following questions should help you in understanding some of the more important steps needed in the design of your special website. (click on each question)

  • Domain Name

  • Website Hosting

  • Website Designing & Building

    • Do it yourself: The cost of your time
    • Hiring a web master: $25 to $100 per hour
    • Typical simple 1 page website:
      • ~$400 - Design & build (text & images)
      • ~$600 - Design & build (text & images & Google maps & videos)
    • Typical simple 4 page website:
      • ~$600 to design & build (navigation & text & images & Contact Us form)
      • ~$800 to design & build (as above plus Google maps & videos)
      • ~$1,000 to design & build (as above plus image carousels, pop-ups, accordions)
    • Extras
      • Add $400 for Blog
      • Add $400 for Events Calendar
      • Add $100 for using buttons for internal and external web page links
  • Website Content Management System (CMS)

    • CMS Market Share (current)
    • Most of the best CMSs are free and open source
    • Most of the best CMSs can be installed for free by many Hosting Sites
    • Most popular CMSs based on number of pages on the web:
      • #1 WordPress
      • #2 Joomla!
      • #3 Drupal
    • Concete5 CMS (our favorite)
      • Free
      • 517% CMS market share increase from 2010 to 2011 Link
      • Highest rated CMS for Product Preference: 17.9% vs WordPress 7.9% in 2011 Link
      • User friendly for website owners (for building and maintaining website)
      • Many free Themes & Add-Ons
        • Top Themes - $30 to $50
        • Great Add-Ons - Free to $100 (most in $20 range)
  • Website Maintenance

    • Do it yourself: The cost of your time
    • Hiring a web master: $25 to $100 per hour

 

First Year Bottom Line Cost Estimates
1 Page Website with Domain Name & Hosting (low end) $492
1 Page Website with Domain Name & Hosting (high end) $692
4 Page Website with Domain Name & Hosting (low end) $692
4 Page Website with Domain Name & Hosting (high end) $1092
4 Page Website with Domain Name & Hosting (high end plus blog, events & buttons) $1992

 

 

The cost estimates provided above, to design & build a website, are based on your being able to provide us with thorough and documented answers to the eight additional questions which follow this question. Additional costs will be added if you want us to do this research for you.

Take the time to seriously brainstorm all the ways you can imagine how an online presence could help your business or project. List out all the objectives that you have for your enterprise and consider how a website could help you meet those objectives.

Example Objectives:

  1. Increase exposure for your business to greater numbers of buyers or users of you products or services.
  2. Increase your credibility as an expert in your field.
  3. If you are selling products or services then a website may give you more exposure than you would have without one - possibly making it more convenient and less costly for your customers or clients to obtain the products or services they are looking for.
  4. The web is an advertising medium that can reduce or do away with physically printed marketing documents - instead you can use a website to allow interested viewers to simply download a PDF document which looks exactly like the printed document - then they can print it themselves if they so desire. If your website takes off you could cut back or even eliminate the whole process and expense of printing and distributing paper documents.
  5. If you typically receive a lot of customer questions of a repeating nature you can save yourself a lot of phone or face time with customers by simply creating a FAQ (frequently-asked-questions) web page which provides your viewers with answers to questions you typically have to deal with over and over again.
  6. Multiply your online exposure by using existing listings in online directories which cover your industry - use these listings to point viewers to your website. The more links to your website from other sources the better - this will increase your Google ranking.

When you have a good sized list of objectives start ranking them in order of importance. Then, next to each objective, list the other means which you could use to meet the same objective. Compare the costs for each way of meeting a particular objective.

If you find, after going through this exercise, that having a website meets many of your important objectives at a cost to benefit ratio that makes sense then you should seriously consider getting yourself online with a website presence.

The other reason you have gone through this exercise is to determine what your most important objectives are - then you can make these objectives obvious to visitors of your website when they first arrive. This is done by placing these objectives in strategic locations on the opening web page. Using specific terminology and special highlighting methods can make this happen.

People may visit your website for reasons other than the ones you had when creating it. People often visit websites to get a third party source of information which will help then make a decision, find how-to-tips, obtain coupons or search your site for related subject matter or links to other related sites.

More important than meeting your objectives, your website will be most effective at meeting those objectives if you actually place an emphasis on helping your visitor meet their objectives first and foremost. The emphasis should be on "How can I best help my visitor obtain what they are looking for or need?" So the real trick is to be able to meet your own objectives by primarily focusing on how to meet your visitors objectives. To do this your site should focus more on the use of the word "you" rather than the word "we". For example, saying "You can relax, knowing we have helps hundreds like you for over 20 years" is more engaging than "We have been in business for over 20 years".

While making plans regarding the type of information you want to make available on your site, also consider how much effort you are willing to expend maintaining it. Static, unchanging, websites usually don't invite repeat visits. Consistently having out of date information on your website is one of the fastest ways to kill visitor traffic to your website. On the other hand, constantly updating a website can take a lot of time and expense - time and expense that can only be justified if it is necessary to retain your current visitors and increasing the arrival of new visitors. You have to think of ways to keep your site "fresh" and "alive" with minimal maintenance. One possible way is to keep highly volatile information, like prices or schedules, available in PDF files or as easily updateable database records which can be accessed automatically by a web page and converted to an easily read format.

You will need to outline the important demographic characteristics of your current and desired customers or clients. Consider their age, gender, education level, profession, likes, dislikes, hobbies, etc. Consider what it is that motivates them. Consider that you may have multiple audiences each with different needs and motivations. Each of these groups may be drawn to different areas of your website.

Audience analysis will help you in making website design decisions such as fonts, colors, graphics, pictures, overall themes, localized styles and use of specialized presentation components like videos. Your audience's level of education will effect the reading level of the text you create. The computer technology your audience uses may effect the display of your website - desktop vs handheld vs smart phone (our "responsive" website designs display equally well on all three).

Avoid excessive "flashy" special effects if it doesn't contribute to the positive experience of your visitor - too many pictures, graphics or special effects can slow down the load time of a web page and annoy your visitor, prompting them to leave your website for one that responds more quickly. The key is to keep them engaged once they find your website.

If your current logo and branding is working well for you then you can use them on your website as well.  If you don't have any logo or a branding strategy or if you want to change the ones you already have, start by making a list of adjectives which best describe your enterprise.  Examples: conservative, progressive, sophisticated, cutting-edge, leading-edge, classic, reliable, elegant, dependable, exciting, trendy, fun, high tech, down-to-earth.

Investigate the websites of your competition to see what you like and dislike and try and determine what audiences they are trying to attract.  See what other sites have that works or doesn't work for you based on your personal style and tastes. 

Your site should ultimately express your own personal sense of style, perception of your target audience(s) and the branding you have chosen.  Really knowing your target audience(s) will help you determine the appropriate theme of your website.  WNC Web Designs can help you with the psychology of colors, shapes, images, graphics to create the theme that works best for you and your audience.

For effective marketing, online or otherwise, you need to know why your customers buy your products or services as opposed to those of your competitors.  Is it lower cost, longer hours, customer support, value-added services or whatever?  Can your website capitalize on these reasons in a prominent way, both visually and by inviting text copy? If not, you could easily be lost in the myriad of websites competing for your potential customers’ attention.

What would you Google to find similar products or services?

It does you little good to have a Web site if people can’t easily find it—and search engines are the most common way new users will discover yours. If you haven’t already written an “elevator speech” (a concise and compelling description of what you do), now is the time to do it and highlight its key points. Brainstorm other possible keywords and phrases for your organization. Don’t forget to consider geographic terms, since many people prefer to deal with local organizations. Some typical phrases might include “small business accountants in Longmont, Colorado” and “Pug dog breeders along Colorado Front Range.” Try searching these keyword phrases to see if you find your competitors’ websites; if not, determine what keyword phrases they are using and consider them as well. A website designer and builder can help you determine what phrases are best for your needs and make sure your site’s language—both the text on the page and the hidden meta tags—conveys these phrases to optimize your search engine ranking (how high your site appears on the list of pages that are displayed after querying a search engine). A well-crafted website is different from other print publications your organization may now be using for informational or promotional purposes. To be successful, your Web site must effectively blend elements from at least four types of documents: a rigorous business plan, a clear product or service fact sheet, a compelling advertisement and targeted Yellow Pages listings. Creating a successful and cost-effective website does take effort, but the good news is that once you’ve answered the questions above, some of the toughest part of your work is already done!

Having a list of website addresses which you can share with WNC Web Designs will help us greatly in the design of your website. The best combination of competitor websites which you can provide us with would be:

  1. a website that most closely resembles the website that you would like to have - this can even be from a different industry if you really like the look and feel it portrays.
  2. a website that, although it is looks professional and is well designed, is far from the type of website you would like to have.
  3. the website that you feel belongs to the enterprise which holds the largest share of the market in terms of viewership or sales or both.

 

Next stop: Building