Web Development Part 2 -

Part 1 - Recap

  

What NOT To Do
 
Let's first look at what not to do when building a website, regardless of whether or not you are using WordPress, Shopsite, Magento, or another tool. The most common error made is to work backwards.  Most clients are primarily focused on the end result of how the site will look and they begin there in their decision processes:
 
* They search for a theme on one of the countless online theme providers - mostly around $50 or so.
 
* They search on Google for free hosting.
 
* They install WordPress, set up the theme, and install multiple plugins to "automate" various functions so they can not worry about it.
 
* After sometime, they forget their website is there... How much more their customers?
 
* Inevitably, the website goes down because of lack of maintenance, security flaws, or they get hacked.

They do one or all of these steps without consideration to content, marketing, business strategy, or customer experience. They start backwards worrying about the decorations rather than what they want to communicate. Sure, the client only spent $500 or so, but they did not accomplish anything that benefits their company or customers. In fact, this kind of effort will often damage a business' reputation and annoy customers by wasting their time.

 

Part 2 - How much does a website really cost? Part 2

In the last article, we began looking at a misconception in the web industry that it is easy, simple, and cheap to create a quality website. Specifically, we first looked at "What NOT To Do" and then briefly discussed what is meant by "design."  In this article, we want to look at proper and informed strategies for your company's web development.

Where To Start - 
The Foundation
 
Zig Ziglar said, "If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time," and the internet is full of thousands of these kind of websites. As with any project, when building a website the very first step is planning. It is vital for a business to spend adequate time discussing and researching the website's purpose or goal, target audience, and typical customer. 

The most important consideration of every website is called conversion marketing - the moment a visitor is converted to a paying customer. Also, and often unbeknown to many business owners, "everyone" is rarely the target audience of any business, so it is crucial to take the time to identify them. Likewise, a business needs to investigate and ascertain who their typical customer is, called a persona , which will drive the voice and tone of communication with them via copy text, visuals, or media. 

This planning can, and should, happen before ever hiring a web developer, and a quality developer should insist on, or facilitate, such research before ever beginning discussions about design. None of this preparation is technical, but it is deeply foundational to every aspect of the website, and needs to be thorough.

Site and Solution Host 
 
Little consideration is giving to the host until there is a question or an issue. Make sure you choose a host that is there for you in the good times and in the not so good times. 

Wireframes

Once this groundwork has been developed, it is time to plan the layout of each page of the website using wireframes. Wireframes create a visual guide of the skeletal framework of a website; an arranging of elements to accomplish a particular purpose. Similar to framing when building a house, a wireframe usually lacks typographic style, color, or graphics; but shows overall function and layout for each page. This can be done with paper and pencil, on a whiteboard, or with inexpensive software.

The main question that needs answering while drawing wireframes is how does each element on the page persuade the persona to convert? This draws upon the initial research and planning above, but also references marketing strategy, such as the 6 key principles of influence by Robert Cialdini. Work hard to be concise and intentional in your planning so that each element conveys one of these principles of persuasion. Your visitors don't have a lot of time, so make each element on each page count.


After framing each page and laying out each element, it is time to write quality copy text. This cannot be stressed enough; the copy is the most important part of a website! Great design is eye-catching and boosts recognition, but it never drives conversion over time. If the content is not engaging, visitors will not be engaged or converted. Many businesses hire a copywriter, and many decide to do it themselves, but either way the copy must be written prior to design because content precedes design. Continuing our metaphor of building a house - the copy is the drywall, wiring, plumbing, insulation, and everything else in the walls and floor; and the design is the paint, furniture, and accessories. It would be nonsensical to pick colors and furniture without seeing the space, and even more so to begin painting without walls and only framing.
 
Not only must compelling copy precede design, it also must be consistent in tone or voice. What is the overall tenor of communication in the company - strict, formal, loose, or humorous? How does the company communicate in advertising and social media? What is the vocabulary and branding of the company? All of these questions need to be researched by the copywriter, so the desired tonality and relationship can be reached with each visitor.

Design
 
The final phase of building a website is the design. This is where everything comes together, and it often takes all personnel working together to make it work and troubleshoot issues that arise. Since the structure and organization are done, the designer is able to concentrate on the look and feel of the website.  The research, layout, and copy text provide logical guides that concentrate the creativity towards visitor engagement and conversion, making the finished product organic and persuasive without being preachy. Great design can provide credibility and recognition, but it is simply decoration without engaging content.
 
In our 3rd article, we will look at cost breakdown, expectations and realities, and some final considerations.

Reference Article by - Tomaz Zaman, renowned coder-designer 

 

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Sincerely, 

Eric Kirkhuff / CEO and Technical Sales / YourHost.com
714 842-8511 ext 115
Eric@YourHost.com

Resource - Tomaz Zaman

Did you miss Google's Announcement?

Google announced in February 2015? that they will boost rankings of mobile-friendly pages in search results worldwide.

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