The website-making process
Making a new website can be an intimidating task filled with unknowns, and often goes hand-in-hand with the rest of your business marketing plan.
About the process
There's a lot that goes into building a website, especially if your company is just getting started. On this page, we've broken down the process from start to finish to get you started on your road to success with your website.
This step-by-step guide should help you get started quickly and efficiently, as well as equip you with the necessary knowledge to make your own amazing websites.
Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions along the way. We're happy to point you in the right direction!
Setting up your brand
Branding is an important aspect of business marketing. Business branding is used to generate consumer interest in a company's goods and services. It creates a positive image in the consumer's mind by differentiating your company from its competitors. Branding has become increasingly important as companies compete globally with others in their industry.
There are many elements that go into how customers perceive your company, and it can mean the difference between a customer remembering your company or forgetting who you are.
Our team at Decimis can help you plan and design these important brand assets.
Identify your target market
Accurately identifying your target market and understanding their needs is one of the most important components of a successful business. If you can identify who you are targeting and how you can service them, you are well on your way to making your business a success.
By understanding who your customers are and how they behave, you can identify marketing methods, advertising campaigns and customer service strategies that will resonate with your audience. This insight will enable you to develop an effective digital marketing strategy and thrive in the online marketplace.
Your target market demographics will also directly influence your brand, including aspects like logo design and colors.
Your business logo, colors, and typography is an extension of your brand. It represents your company’s values, mission and philosophy. It also depends heavliy
Our designers will help you to identify your target audiences and use that information to design beautiful, meaningful brand assets.
Design elements that we can help you create include:
- Color palette
- Brand "voice"
- Marketing copy
- Brand imagery
Brand voice and marketing copy
Every brand has a "voice" that represents your company's personality. This voice should be used consistently across your marketing materials, including videos and written copy.
Is your brand friendly and personable? Down-to-earth and professional? Or something else altogether? Deciding your brand's voice ties in with all the other branding decisions you have made, and forms part of your brand's unique persona.
Once you've chosen your brand's voice, we can work together with a professional copywriter to develop marketing copy. "Copy" in this context refers to written snippets and paragraphs that can be used on your website, product descriptions, brochures, etc. Together with your logo and other design elements, this marketing copy will be a valuable asset for your business for years to come!
It's a good idea to make sure your brand matches your website and marketing materials. For example, if you want to use social media and want to appear professional, it's helpful to have matching colors and fonts across all your materials so that you don't confuse potential customers.
You'll also probably want physical marketing materials that match your brand, to go along with your new website and help legitimize your business brand.
Physical marketing materials
At this point you have your brand and foundational materials prepared, and you're ready to hit the ground running!
Depending on your specific business needs, we can prepare and print materials such as:
- Business cards
- Letterhead for invoices, and legal docs
- Envelopes, branded checks
Social media presence
Using your established logo and brand assets, we setup branded social media pages on the platforms that make the best strategic sense for your business.
Being active on social media helps let people know about your business, what you do and why you are a good fit for them. It gives you the opportunity to build trust with your potential clientele by letting them know who you are and what you stand for.
Once we've setup your social media pages, you can immediately begin engaging customers on social media. Our social media marketing experts are also happy to assist with this!
We offer full service social media management for small businesses. This includes management of Facebook ads, creating and posting stories on Instagram, running retargeting ads on Facebook and Twitter, uploading a variety of graphics to each site, posting to Pinterest and more.
A cornerstone strategy of modern business marketing strategy is to use your marketing channels to drive leads onto your website, where you can then qualify and convert the leads into new customers.
While your new website begins the design and development process, we can setup a branded placeholder website in the meantime. Leads from your physical and social media marketing efforts can then be directed to this page for the time being, which will work great for your first clients as you start out.
Meanwhile, we'll be hard at work setting up your full-fledged website behind-the-scenes.
Once you have your logos, branding, and marketing materials sorted out, we can proceed to the website planning phase.
We'll work together to answer questions like:
- What type of website is needed?
- How many webpages should be setup?
- Choosing a content management platform
- What budget level fits your company's current and future needs?
The answers to these questions will directly affect the website design and development phases, and strategizing together will also help reveal useful aspects of your entire business plan.
Content Management System
A content management system ("CMS") unlocks the ability for your in-house staff to freely edit your website pages and content at any time. It's freeing and powerful to have this control over your website without needing help from a developer to make straightforward wording changes, etc.
At Decimis we specialize in our highly polished CMS customizations that make content editing as easy as possible for your staff. Even popular systems like WordPress come out-of-the-box with a dizzying array of options, and we take great pride in going the extra mile to cleanup the editing experience and take the headache out of website updates.
Our new clients frequently ask about what content management system ("CMS") is right for their business. We're happy to work with your company to find the best fit for your needs. Some common frameworks we've implemented in the past are:
From large enterprises looking to expand and update their digital presence, to brand-new startups just getting started, our team at Decimis is happy to work with projects of all sizes. We have no required minimum or maximum project size, and are happy to meet your business where it's currently at.
As a general ballpark, most of our client's projects land in the $10,000 - $20,000 range. We do take on many small projects below $1,000 as well, and our largest project to-date has been in the mid six-figures.
Generally speaking, the more pages and features your website needs, the higher the expense will be. For example, simple five-page websites with a single contact form and a templated design can be built quickly for a budget in the low thousands.
When making a new website, most clients tend to focus on the Website Design phase. It's fun to imagine what your new website will look like!
Over the years, the tech industry has developed a tried-and-true method for making the best designs. It begins with interviewing prospective users from your target audience, progresses to wireframe mockups, and finally ends with a beautiful and highly functional design for your website.
Another advantage of making websites now is being able to leverage the success of decades of learning within the industry. Depending on each project's specific needs, we may be able to leverage pre-designed templates to save you time and money without sacrificing any quality for the final result.
A vital first step to creating a custom website design is to start by interviewing your customers. Users have different needs and expectations for the site design depending on a variety of factors. This is a big part of the reason why companies in the same industry tend to share similar website design patterns.
The interviews will help you to answer questions about how your website should be setup; what content should be first on the page? Where should the call to action buttons be located? How many menu items should be listed in your website header?
Our talented UI/UX designers have years of experience conducting user interviews. They'll help you to identify the important questions to ask, and how to ask them. With the right incentives, customers usually love to share their opinions and help to be a part of a website design process. It's exciting and let's them know that your business values their opinion!
The next step in the design process is making wireframes of the user interface (UI). This step is frequently combined with the user interview process to help fine-tune the website design based on user feedback.
Depending on the complexity of your website project, a UI/UX designer will create a number of wireframes that illustrate potential pages of your future website. These wireframes are usually low fidelity sketches that show where different page elements, content, images, and features will be placed on the webpage.
As with all the design stages, this step is highly collaborative and usually involves several rounds of feedback between the designers and your company.
The wireframing stage is a big time-saver as the project progresses, since it's much easier for the designer to alter a rough sketch compared to redesigning full mockups or redeveloping a built webpage.
Once the wireframes are finalized, the designers will proceed with designing a full-fidelity mockup of your website. The results of this stage are HD images that represent your full website design, including your brand colors, example content, and images.
This is an exciting checkpoint on the website-making journey, and for many clients is the first full look they have at their new website! This is when the project usually begins to feel "real" to clients since they can visualize everything coming together.
After any feedback and final alterations, the designer and client complete this stage by signing off on the final mockups. This is an important milestone since the developers will be programming the website based off of these final mockups.
Once the design is finalized, it's time to breathe life into your new website! Your branding and web design are exciting, but nothing works - and your website doesn't exist - without code to make it all interactive for your business and customers.
The development needs for a project can vary wildly, and this is usually the most time-consuming and expensive step. Fortunately, many foundational code templates and patterns do exist, which help to speed this part up.
As mentioned earlier in the Content Management System section, the CMS you choose has a big impact on the development phase of the project.
Using common CMS's like Shopify, Webflow, and WordPress can drastically speed up development time by providing out-of-the-box functionality that can then be customized according to your needs. These are a great fit for simpler projects.
For other projects with greater functionality and customization needs, the Platform Architecture planning will help set the foundation of your website's development. Our developers are well-versed in more complex CMS's such as Contentful, Sanity, and Prismic; and we also have the development capability to build you a completely custom CMS from the ground up.
This step also takes into account your website's expected traffic levels and hosting needs.
The "Backend" of a website represents the code behind-the-scenes that makes your website run. It's invisible to anyone who visits your website, but represents the critical infrastructure that supports the site.
This step can be expected to take up roughly half of the total development time for the project. In general, the backend is easy to cut corners since it isn't usually seen by customers or staff, however at Decimis we take great pride in our attention to detail on setting this part up properly. A well-built backend is like the engine of a car, so building it right the first time will increase your website's longevity and save on maintenance costs over time.
Frontend website foundation
Next up is the foundation of the frontend of the website. This includes the overall page structure and webpage styling needed to make your website match the mockups from the website design phase.
This step doesn't deal specifically with the content of each webpage, but is instead focused on building global components such as the website header, footer, and various menus. If the backend development is like building a car engine, the frontend foundation is like building the frame.
Once the backend and frontend foundation are ready, work can begin on the individual page components. A component represents a reusable page block like a Photo, Text Block, or Contact Form. Combining these components together then results in a full webpage.
The components are built to be mobile-responsive and to work well alongside any other component on the page. This step is a favorite both for our developers as well as for our clients, as this is usually the first checkpoint where you get to test a live preview of your upcoming website!
Does your business use a CRM like Salesforce? Or a newsletter service such as MailChimp? Once the rest of the website is built, we can go the extra mile and integrate third-party services directly into your website!
The sky's the limit with what's possible when it comes to integrations. We can setup automatic service call form pipelines, display upcoming business events from your Facebook page, setup a customer support live chat window, or anything else you can imagine!
Finally, the web developers will polish everything up in your new website codebase. From SEO (search engine optimization) and page loading speed, to ADA compliance (website accessibility), there are many items to be verified and checked for quality assurance before we launch your new site.
This is another step that's easy to cut corners on or skip altogether since the effects are hidden up-front. At Decimis we take great care to ensure all of these polishing steps are taken care of accurately so that you end up with a high quality website without hidden issues. We also keep you well-informed at every step along the way, and are happy to show you what's going on behind-the-scenes if you're interested!
In the meantime, while your website is being developed, we will also be working closely with you on the Content Development. A well-programmed and beautiful website is great, but without content it's just an empty shell!
Website "content" represents all the images, videos, and text that populates your website. This step is usually the most work for you and your staff, as no-one knows your company better than you!
Our team loves helping companies like yours to plan their web presence. Contact us today for a free no-commitment consultation!