Every business has or needs a website. When it's time for a business to replace their existing website or build a new one it's time to seek out a reliable web design team. Smart move since the majority of businesses don't have a in house web team to tackle a project this complex.
Every website created should follow a process. When you engage with your agency of choice you should be familiar with their process and what happens at each stage. The more information you know about the process the more understanding you'll be as things develop in each part of the process.
A website doesn't happen overnight so when an estimate is provided to you with a timeline to create a new website you may find yourself surprised at the amount of work that goes into a build.
Here is our web design process at ICS and why it works so well.
Research starts with the first point of contact you have with a member of our team. We start with an exploratory call to learn more about the business, your goals and needs. This call leaves us discovering if we are a good fit to work together or not. Once determined a good fit, the exploratory call helps create a project outline so the agency can determine the technical specs which in result creates a timeline.
Before phase 2 begins we like to conduct competitive research to see what others are doing in the industry so we can incorporate what works and avoid what doesn't in the clients website. This goes hand in hand with several team meetings and constant communication internally to ensure everyone is clear of their tasks and deliverables.
This is where the fun begin and things start to take place. Understanding your site structure is the best place to start. We like to review your provided or desired content and resources so we can create a website sitemap for approval. Now that our site structure is created our design team can begin to start to begin created a homepage design. With user experience and usability in mind our creative team checks all of the boxes to create something unique and custom to your brand. (No templates here!)
At this point we are only creating an image and not an interactive website we deliver this mock up in our prototyping tool, MarvelApp. This allows the client to see what the website would look like without jumping the gun and coding the design. While reviewing the mockup it's important that we as the agency clearly define how the website will function with the different types of transitions and interactive features. Once approved, we move on to inner page designs with a homepage base as a starting point to complete unique designs for all key pages of the website.
After approval of all of the inner pages, it's off to stage three!
This is where the design becomes real. Our web team goes behind the scenes to take the approved designs and turn them into a functioning website.
Ensuring that the website meets all relevant web standards and accessibility for the particular framework chosen for your site. At ICS, we build on Wordpress, HubSpot and BigCommerce. Each platform has different benefits, so this is why the exploratory call is so important to help determine the right framework for your site. We only work with websites that allow the user to update their website through a Content Management System (CMS).
While all of this is going on we are constantly keeping in mind the site's performance. Site speed is of the utmost importance for the user and for ranking in search engines. We take advantage of tools like GTMetrix.com to easily find issues with site speed.
Now that the site is built, fast and ready for action we can start to input your content. Content is either provided to us or created by us depending on the scope of work. We make content search engine friendly, optimize images and test on mobile and desktop. This is all completed during our quality assurance. This involves us testing the website on multiple devices and browsers. Our job is basically to try and break the site and see what issues we can find so your audience can't find them.
The website is tested and ready for the world! We transfer your website from our development server to our live server. This is where the website no longer has a weird domain name but is now under your custom url, example: www.yourwebsite.com. At ICS we only launch websites with additional security with an SSL, firewall and monitoring. This ensure hacks don't happen and your information and site is safe. Now that the site is live, you become very important to the websites success, we ask you to do quality assurance of your own to ensure that the site is exactly how you want it to be and function. Testing all contact forms on your site, reviewing all links to make sure they are live and go to the right destination.
Once this is good we can insert the proper web analytics like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, HubSpot, Facebook pixels and more. This is only done on the live server to ensure the stats pulled are accurate.
Regardless of how complex the website is, we create training and documentation on how to use your new website. This will come in the form of custom training videos, video tutorials built into the backend of the website and in person training if required.
On-Going Maintenance and Support.
Unfortunately a lot of people feel that when their website is live that they are on their own when in reality this should be just the beginning. If you're ready to make a splash online than your relationship with your web design agency is just beginning. Having a soundboard to bounce new ideas off and answer questions about updates is crucial to your success.