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Website Design

6 Steps to Your New Website

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About

Website Design

Website design is more than simply producing a website in a standard format. Often the fundamental marketing principles of customer profiling, clear messaging, clear delivery, and brand development are lost in the desire to deliver the functionality of a website. Website design is a defined skill which should be employed to complement and support the building of a website and should not be sacrificed to either speed up the website build process or reduce short term costs and investment.

Piranha’s 6 Step Web Design Process
Quality web design is much more than building a website. Having a step-by-step approach allows us to fully understand our clients’ requirements, their products/services, and audiences, and helps us identify how best to proceed in order develop a successful online presence.

We have learned that our clients favour a clear, actionable plan for their web design projects. Clarifying our website design process helps communication throughout the project, ultimately leading to a happier client – and reduces the prospect of misunderstandings or inaccuracies which could delay progress.

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Step 1: Discover

The Discover phase of the web design process is all about information-gathering. This step is important because it allows us to understand more about the client’s business and industry, their target market, and customers, and most importantly the goal/aim for the website.

Often website development agencies skip the discovery and planning steps and jump right into design, but Piranha’s roots are firmly based in strategic marketing and we have proven these first two steps are critical to building the correct website for our clients’ needs.

Ideally, what we need from our clients is answers to the following questions, with as much detail as possible. Goals should be realistic and preferably based on a business plan:

  • What does the business or organisation do?
  • What sets the business or organisation apart from your competition?
  • Who are the competitors of the business?
  • Who is the ideal customer?
  • Describe the concept, project, or service this site is intended to provide or promote.
  • What is the goal of the website?
  • Who is coming to the website?
  • What is the dream for this website?
  • Is there a budget for website presence promotion?

These questions are just the starting point. We have found it incredibly beneficial to have face to face meetings with clients to allow both parties to ask further questions and discuss the finer points, past issues, and market specific anomalies.

These discussions revolve around, but are not restricted to, seven main groups: client, project, audience, brand, features and scope, e-commerce, time, and budget. Each group offers important areas of potential information that will help shape the overall web design project.

We see the Discover step of the web design process as an initial consultation with our clients, but with structure and goals that allow us to better gauge the project, estimate the scope of the project and ensure the development specification meets the client’s needs and address any specific technical issues that need to be overcome.

At this point we may suggest additional features that can help meet the client’s goals, e.g., live chat, data capture, e-mail marketing link up and integrations with other systems such as accounts etc. It is also worth discussing the importance of ongoing services for website maintenance, hosting, continued development, and digital marketing (SEO, AdWords, social media, and re-marketing etc).

Step 2: Plan

The planning step of website design and development is a critical part of the website development process. Ultimately, research and planning will help clarify objectives for the website and guide the design, so time spent at this stage of the process can pay dividends down the line. The old saying, “measure twice, cut once,” which originated from the tailoring profession was never more apt than when it comes to website and app development.

During the planning phase, we will also consider any future SEO strategies for the website. Since websites often organise a lot of information into a user-friendly format, this is when we can get a good idea of missing content before we start the design process. The planning phase also helps a client understand their role in meeting deadlines with content, so the launch process is not delayed.

The planning phase of website design includes 3 basic tasks:

1. Review of SEO Strategy

  • Client consultation on search terms for their business/industry
  • Research and review keyword volumes
  • Creation of a spreadsheet of keywords/key phrases
  • Audit of existing content for SEO focus
  • Production of a list of SEO content short-fall
  • Map keywords/key phrases to existing or required content

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3. Create the Website Sitemap
A sitemap is essential to outline the structure of the pages that will comprise a client’s new website. The site map allows us to build the design around the most important pages, plan the website navigation more efficiently and get an overall idea of the content that still needs to be produced or supplied, including written copy, images, graphics, infographics, and videos etc.

Using the ‘SEO review’ gives us insight into how we will advance future strategies so we can build a sitemap with appropriate page hierarchies and content silos. We create a bespoke document for the sitemap/site outline, which is used as a checklist to guide the project and share it with the client to help them to fulfil their obligations and understand what is needed to keep the process on track.

3. Content Review & Development
The final part of the website planning process includes an in-depth review of the website content and is the final audit of existing content (for clients with an existing website). This phase is where we plan the production of new content which can include copywriting, organising photoshoots, illustration & graphics design or acquisition and the production of video, as required. Our clients sometimes choose to supply their own content, which we review to ensure it is fit for purpose and advise on adjustments were applicable. Deadlines are put in place for content completion for all parties, to ensure we are not missing any vital elements which could delay progress at a key phase in the development process.

Step 3: Design

The third step of the web design process is to design how the website will look. This is the step that too often businesses cut straight to, which can lead to a design that misses the real ‘purpose’ of the website.

In this step, we create a website wireframe with basic web page elements such as the header, navigation, widgets, etc. The wireframe is then moved into a more realistic mock-up/visual, which the part most clients get excited about. The visual allows the client to see web pages in a flat page format which mirrors the final product, but the format means we can still amend the visual relatively easily to ensure the client is completely happy with the design.

The challenge of good web design, like all design, is balancing form and function. We utilise the information gathered in the Discover and Plan steps to shape our designs. As an established and well-respected digital website development and marketing agency we aim to have marketing intention behind every design decision.

We ensure the design accommodates the content, rather than the other way around, to maintain attention and focus on the client’s business USP’s. Content is the number one thing you want viewers to notice, it should be immediately obvious what the business is about, their markets, offering (products & services) and USP’s. The design should lead the user on a logical journey, be easy to navigate, with prominent calls to action and enough relevant information to engage and build trust enough so those calls to action are utilised.

More About User Experience Design

For each page design, we aim to answer the following questions:

  • What is the main goal of the page?
  • How does the design encourage users to take an action?
  • Is it clear to users what action they need to take?

At this stage, our web designers are also keeping in mind how the design will translate into code. Working closely with our senior developers and digital marketing manager we ensure the design will translate perfectly to produce a fully responsive website that performs flawlessly across desktop and mobile devices and is search friendly.

Finally, the design is sent to the client for approval. There may at this point be discussions over photography or key messages and this is the time to make those adjustments.

Once the client has signed off/confirmed they are happy with the design it is time to move on to the development phase/step4.

Step 4: Develop

In the Develop step, we get into the actual build of the website, translating the design to code and adding all the functionality of the website. This stage is usually the lengthiest but carrying out the earlier steps diligently helps make the development a lot more efficient.

Because this step is generally more protracted (timescales depend on the size of the website and the technical challenges it presents) and has the least client input we like to make sure clients are informed on the status of the project as we progress it.

Once the project has progressed far enough this could be facilitated by providing access to a demo site, this is particularly useful on large projects which may be phased or require approval at key stages.

The designated Account Manager or the Production Manager will keep the client up to speed with progress during the development phase. This may just be a short email ‘what we did this week’, ‘what’s next’ or simply chasing missing content. It is important to us that our clients know the status of the development project and are aware of any issues that arise and how we address them, as it gives confidence in the process over this lengthier phase.

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Step 5: Launch

Happy new website – it’s time to launch!

There are a lot of steps involved in launching a website, which for the most part our clients do not need to concern themselves with, other than perhaps facilitating the re-pointing of DNS records, or transferring of domain names to Piranha if that is what the client has opted to do.

However, we have procedures and checklists in place to make sure nothing is left to chance.

We use our own unique checklist produced by our Technical Manager that makes sure all websites are launched smoothly and without a hitch.

Step 6: Maintain

The final step of the website development is the ongoing website support. This is important for the long-term health and success of a website.

Piranha’s Website Support Packages vary widely in terms of scope and cost. Piranha provides bespoke packages structured to meet the client’s requirements and budget. Packages include a wide range of hosting, maintenance, security, continued development, and digital marketing services all scaled to meet a website’s technical requirements, business aspirations and marketing budget.

On a basic entry level, we recommend the following necessary actions. These should be considered to keep the site running smoothly and relevant:

  • Regular updates (continued development – adding new content or updating existing content)
  • Plugin updates (security applicable)
  • Standard back-up (offered with all hosting package)
  • SEO (search engine optimisation) at least minimum entry level, scalable to meet your business ambitions and budget
  • Analytics tracking and reporting (included as part of SEO packages but can be offered on its own)
  • Suitable level of hosting and security (SSL certification) for your site. We make recommendations based on the requirements of each website
  • Advanced security package and back-ups

In addition to the website’s technical requirements, we aim to structure a client’s support package on their long-term strategy for the site. To edit, update, and promote the website is crucial and a website should never really be finished if it is to stay relevant and of interest to a company’s audiences and the search engines.

 

A Smooth Website Design Process

By following the 6-steps outlined above, we can ensure the website design process goes as smoothly as possible, minimising the opportunity of delays or miscommunication between Piranha and the client. Our research and planning help us deliver a website design that is better informed and by following a checklist for development and launch, we do not miss any crucial steps.

Finally, the right support package protects our client’s investment made in building the website and with digital marketing support the right strategies can greatly improve a website’s visibility, gain search ranking positions, and target specific audiences.

We have found that ultimately, our clients are more satisfied with their experience and get better value from their website with this process in place.

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testimonials

“Piranha are excellent website designers. Nothing is too much trouble and their designs are excellent. We’d highly recommend.”

Acme Facilities Group

Why Choose Piranha as Your Website Design Partner

At Piranha Digital, we fully understand the importance of website design in the overall success of a website development or full digital marketing project. We have a dedicated website branding and design team who work closely with the account managers, website developers and you, the client, on ensuring the design of any website communicates the brand and sales messages critical in maximising return on investment. This website design team are all classically trained in brand and interface design and have an excellent understanding of CRO (conversion rate optimisation).

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  • Piranha first started designing websites in 2001 and since then we have designed and developed hundreds of websites ranging from start-up business sites to multi-site, integrated e-commerce websites with budgets ranging from £450 to £75,000.
  • We have an experienced in-house website design team able to swiftly turnaround website design concepts.
  • We specialise in both B2B and consumer website design.
  • All website design projects are supported by a strong management structure, a highly knowledgeable development team and our in-house SEO experts.
  • A strong portfolio of successful website design projects and case studies across many industry sectors showcases our capabilities.
  • We provide a one-stop solution from initial creative concept to the delivery of the website, search engine and digital marketing and full technical support.

Start Your Website Design Project with Piranha Today

Starting your website design project today with Piranha could not be easier. Simply call our head office in Lancashire on 01772 888331 or fill in one of our enquiry forms and one of our design or management team will have a chat with you about your requirements. We may be able to provide a quick quote based on the outcome of the conversation, but we would prefer to arrange a meeting to learn more about your company and what your website design requirements are.

Now is the time to start your website design project with Piranha Digital. Call us today on 01772 888331 for a free consultation and start increasing your return on investment.

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