Development

what do you want from your website?

Posted on January 20, 2020 at 2:11 pm

If you run a small business with a limited marketing budget it is essential that your website is cost effective and that the purpose for having a website is clear.

The first thing to consider is whether your website is attracting visitors. Your site should be well thought out and professional looking. This is a reflection of your business and will for some customers be their first contact with you. All the links should work and direct the customer to the relevant pages. There is nothing more frustrating than links that don’t work.

Your business name and contact details should be clear and accurate. A map is a useful addition to have if customers are coming to you.

Having a page for positive customer testimonials is a good strategy as they are often read by potential clients and can be invaluable to the success of your business.

If it is possible to negotiate with other related businesses to have inbound and outbound links this will indicate that you are a useful resource and it can help improve search engine results.

Social media links are an essential feature of a successful website and these should be prominently displayed on the home page.

Posted in Development

Changing your website part way through programming

Posted on September 6, 2019 at 9:20 am

If you are a business owner then you may decide that you need a website or you may already have one but want to make some big changes to it. Most web design companies will start off by taking a brief from you. From this they can usually provide a cost for the design and build of the site. If this cost is agreed, usually the next stage is to crate visuals. These are usually flat graphics that can either be printed or displayed on a computer which will show the layout of the site. You may be able to chose from a selection of designs or adapt one to ensure it fits with what you want. Only once this visual has been agreed should programming commence.

Once programming has begun, it is not a good idea to keep making changes. Small changes such as text changes or colours may be ok, but if you want to start changing the structure of the site then you may incur additional costs. This is because much of the programming work that has already been completed may have to be scrapped or drastically changed which will take time. Programmers charge out their time so the longer it takes, the more it will cost. If you are not happy with something in your design point it out prior to programming and if you do need to change it, be prepared to pay.

Posted in Development

Is your mobile website up to scratch?

Posted on May 19, 2019 at 10:44 am

A mobile version of your website is definitely something you need to consider carefully. You need to ensure that your site displays and works correctly on all mobile devices and that doesn’t limit the functionality too much.

People only ever used to use a PC or laptop to view websites but with many of us having smartphones that can access the internet, the need for a mobile-friendly website has never been greater.

You can have just one version of your site that automatically converts to a mobile version when viewed on devices with a smaller screen. This is a mobile-friendly website. If you want to go an extra step you may consider having an App for your customers to download which can be more streamlined to offer a better browsing and buying experience on mobile devices.

If you have video on your site then you should consider if they will enlarge when played or whether they are clicked to link through to Youtube for example.

It is important to keep an eye on your website traffic through to your mobile site. If you notice that there are certain pages which have a high bounce rate or that are not compelling people to take the action that you want them to, it may be because your mobile website is not working as it should.

Posted in Development

Restricting your budget too much when it comes to building a website

Posted on April 14, 2019 at 11:20 am

It is vital that when having a website built you keep in mind what the main aim of the site is. It may be that you want to sell products or services online through an ecommerce website or it may be that you want to give people information about your products and services to try and gain enquiries either in person, through enquiry forms or over the phone.
Many business owners get carried away with installing gadgets and moving banners etc., forgetting what the main purpose of the website is.
You may worry about costs and want to try and build a site as cheaply as possible and therefore end up cutting the budget down so much that you end up with a site that is not really functional or that cannot be found on the search engines.
Make a list of all the things you want your site to offer to your visitors. Go through and prioritise the It may be such things as live chat options would be nice to have but not an essential part of the site. You can speak to the programmer who is building your site and get an idea of how much these will cost. This will then allow you to see if they fit within your budget without having to compromise on something else that is important.

Posted in Development

Costing a web development project

Posted on January 26, 2019 at 2:35 pm

If you are a website developer then you may find it hard when it comes to costing new projects. Customers often want a fixed price when it comes to websites and you will be expected to provide them with a total cost. This can be tricky as you will often find they want to make changes to the design as it comes to life or build in extra functionality.
The only way you can cost a job is to meet with the client and find out as much information as possible about what they want. Check how many pages they want and what functionality will be on each page. You also need to check what changes they want to be able to make themselves. If for example they want the ability to change the header on the website through the content management system then this may need to be built in. all the little extras can very quickly add if and if you have not costed the job correctly then you may find that you are out of pocket.
It is vital that you create a proposal and detail what is included in the price you have quoted. You need to state that any additional work for will quoted for and costed separately. This then allows you to charge for added extras they may want.

Posted in Development

Adding new relevant content to your website

Posted on December 15, 2018 at 10:55 am

If you have a website then you need to ensure that you are adding new, relevant content into your site on a regular basis. This can be done in a number of ways and does not have to be part of your main pages.
Some companies choose to add a blog to their site or maybe a news section. This can be regularly updated without changing the structure of the site but will make it easy to ensure the content is relevant to your industry. Try to make each post at least 300 words long and ensure that it reads well and if possibly there are some images. It is also important to try and add call to actions to the website so if someone lands on that page straight for a search engine results page they have an easy way to navigate to the other sections of the website that may be of interest to them.
If you find that you do not have the time to write additional content then you may want to hire the services of a content writer. You may get them to do this on a weekly basis or you may ask them to write a few of them which you can then upload as and when you wish to.

Posted in Development

Giving your customers a friendly, easy to use CMS system

Posted on November 27, 2017 at 11:46 am

If you are a web programmer that designs website for clients then you should always consider what functionality your client will need in order to keep the website updated. Even if your client asks you to do all the updates to the site and does not require access to the back end, it is good to build this in any way in case they change their mind down the line and also to make updates quicker and easier for yourself.

Your client may require access to the back end system of the site to allow them to upload additional content, change or add products etc. Some developers will use an off the shelf content management system such as WordPress or Drupal and others use their own built system. There are pros and cons to using both and often it comes down to what functionality and flexibility you need. If you are using an off the shelf system, then these are usually developed in a fairly straight forward way, but if you have made changes to the templates or themes etc. then you may need to check everything still works as it should.

 

 

Posted in Development

Developing a website and using a CMS

Posted on October 19, 2017 at 9:54 am

There are a number of choices you need to make when having a website built. You may need to consider if you want you try and create a website yourself or pass the project on to an experienced web design or web agency. You will also need to consider if the site is going to be hard coded or use a CMS background, and if so, what CMS you are going to use. Hard coding of websites is not often used anymore as it makes it hard to do the updates to a website that are required for your online marketing and for your visitors.

There are a range of content management systems and you can chose from using an off the shelf one, or if your marketing agency offers, a bespoke system. IF your website is going to be quite straight forward then you may prefer to use an off the shelf system such as Drupal or WordPress. If you r website is going to require quite a lot of unique functionality and the ability to be able to add more in easily, then a you may look to use their bespoke system.

Some content management systems are free to use on a monthly basis. But you will need to get it integrated in to your website.

Posted in Development

Building your own website

Posted on August 11, 2017 at 3:56 pm

Many companies are now advertising DIY websites, allowing people of a non technical background the opportunity to build their own website. These companies usually offer websites at a very low price and the idea is that you add and remove features that are necessary to your business site.

These website can be great for people who do not want to spend a lot of money and have the time to manage the sites themselves but they are also not always as effective as you may think.

These types of sites are often created using templates which millions of other people have access to meaning that your website may look very similar to your competitors. They usually have limited functionality, meaning if you want to add something that is a little different or bespoke to your company you may not have the ability to do so. They often do not work well in terms of SEO and often are missing some of the fundamental elements that websites should be built with.

It may be that you start off with a website like this but you will need to be aware that you may have to do a lot of the advertising yourself through social media or pay per click for example, to get traffic to your site.

 

Posted in Development

Should you consider updating your website?

Posted on July 24, 2017 at 9:04 pm

All websites should be updated on a regular basis. Often a website will be updated in terms of adding news articles, blog posts or new products and services to it, but there may come a time when you need to give the whole site a bit of an overhaul.

You will need to consider advances in your industry and compare your competitor’s websites to see what they are offering. It may be that you need to add additional functionality such as online calculators, videos or social media feeds. If you have added a lot of functionality over the years then the site may start to look a little disjointed and require a bit of TLC to get it all to work together properly.

When updating a website, sometimes it is cheaper and quicker to start a new website rather than trying to amend an existing one. Speak to your current web design agency to find out which is the best option for you. Don’t forget to ensure that you have a fully function mobile version of your site and any updates are also applied to that.

 

 

Posted in Development

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