The Six Steps to Creating a Successful Web Design

The creation of a successful web presence involves much more than simply purchasing a template and populating it with content. There are many examples of this practice, which is normally associated with budget or DIY practices, that simply do not work. You could conceivably create a personal blog in this fashion but it will not perform for any meaningful web presence.

So what is involved in the creation of a successful web presence?

Designing a web presence without knowing what the client requires is impossible. Questions need to be asked around the following:

  • What does your business or organization do?
  • What is the competitive advantage you offer?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • Describe the concept, project or service this site is intended to provide or promote.
  • What is the goal of your website?
  • Who is coming to your website?
  • What is your dream for this website?
  • Is there a budget for their web presence?

We have developed a questionnaire which we complete with our clients so that we can ensure we are on the same page.

Planning, like information gathering, is a crucial step that cannot be skipped. There are three basic components to this step:

  • Create a sitemap

This is basically a list of pages and how they relate to each other in terms of hierarchy.

  • Create a SEO strategy
  • What are the search terms for your business/industry?
  • Research and review keyword volumes
  • Create a spreadsheet of keywords and key phrases
  • Audit existing content for SEO focus
  • Make a list of SEO content needs to fill gaps
  • Map keywords and phrases to existing or needed content
  • Content Review

Review all the existing content that the business has produced and plan for additional content by:

  • Reviewing existing web content
  • Reviewing hardcopy such as brochures, business cards or flyers
  • Hire or assign writers for content needs
  • Put deadlines on content completion

Armed with the content it is time to design a website by creating a wireframe. This framework includes details like header, footer, navigation and body content. The goal is to get visitors to read your content so each page must be analysed for the following:

  • What is the main goal of the page?
  • What action do we want users to take?
  • How does the design encourage users to take this action?

Other items that require attention during this step are:

  • Colors
  • Typography
  • Imagery

This is the step where the code for the actual website is created. We pay particular attention to communication in this step as the client is not really involved in the day-to-day development. The basic elements consists of:

  • Create the website on a testing server.
  • Install a theme if required.
  • Create a site backup structure
  • Translate the design to the testing site.
  • Test and optimize along the way.

The launch is normally performed by following a checklist which we have developed over the years. Some of the items that must be checked before the launch are:

  • Proofread all content
  • Test all links are working
  • Check that auto-responders work
  • Review social account profiles
  • Check for mobile responsiveness
  • Check the load speed for the site
  • Check site security setup
  • Perform a site backup
  • Ensure the site is registered with all the relevant search engines

All websites require maintenance to some degree. Items that should be considered are:

  • Updates
  • Theme and Plugin Updates
  • Backups
  • Security
  • Analytics Tracking & Reporting
  • Hosting
  • SEO
  • Adding new content
  • Updating existing content
  • Comment approval/replies,
  • Spam clean-up

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