A New Website
It’s pretty uncommon these days to find any business without some kind of web presence. If you are old school and just haven’t taken the plunge, it’s time. Maybe you think having a Facebook business page is enough, but it isn’t. Most new clients come to us because they need to upgrade their current website. Perhaps you have been putting it off and you know that it’s long overdue. It’s easy to forget about your website since it’s out of sight, out of mind. Although, this is likely the first impression that you give to potential customers.
Not knowing where to start or maybe feeling overwhelmed about the process is natural. Grateful Web Services is here to help. It’s always recommended to go with a professional who has the experience and can hold your hand throughout the process.
Unless this is a brand-new website, you most likely already own the domain name that you want to use. It’s best to keep it simple and use the name of your business. There are a lot of extensions out there like .com, .net, and .store. etc. It’s usually best to stick with the most used .com if possible. This is the industry standard and what most people expect. If this is a brand-new venture and you do not own your domain name yet, go to GoDaddy or another domain registrar and search for your desired name. Once purchased, save the username, password, and 4-digit pin. We will need this information to launch the website.
Choosing a Professional
Just like trying to be your own Realtor when selling your home, it is advisable to hire a professional. Sure, you can see if your cousin’s, boyfriend’s son is available on the side. The cost he quoted sounds affordable. If this is a side hustle, then the chances of your project getting finished promptly, or even at all, is unlikely. This is a get-what-you-pay-for scenario. Many times, these people end up coming to Grateful Web Services frustrated and out some money. Hire someone that you can build a long-term partnership and whom you have a good rapport with. Someone who returns your calls and emails. We have several businesses that have used our services for over twenty-plus years. Check out what some of our clients have to say.
Initial meeting and plan
Understanding what you need your new website to do for your business is important from the start.
- What is the purpose of your website?
- Who is your audience?
- What pages will you need?
- Who is responsible for content?
- What functionality does your website need?
- Are all requirements spelled out and accounted for in the proposal? This is a must so that there aren’t any unforeseen charges. We often hear of companies not vetting the project thoroughly and then adding extra charges. This may be an oversight or perhaps purposeful to get someone to sign the contract. A no-surprise cost policy is what we strive for. Of course, if there are new requests then we may have to add an addendum to the contract.
When do you need the new website? We try to work within a client’s timeline if it is realistic. It is better to underpromise and overdeliver. Some companies will promise a quick launch and when it can’t be achieved, it leads to disappointment and losing faith in the web company. We do our best to work within your timeline but we can only guarantee that we will do our best. Many times the main reason that a launch is delayed, is not getting all of the needed content from our client.
Once we have a logo (do you need one? If so, let us know) and basic design direction such as colors to use or not use, fonts, and the navigation (pages on your website), we can begin. An initial design will be presented to you for feedback and approval. If we need to adjust anything, we will do that and then wait for your approval. A design does not move forward until you have formally approved it. It is labor-intensive to bring the project back to the design phase after it’s been coded for development. We make sure that we have sign-off before we start development. If we need to, we can go back but this will incur extra time, which means an extra charge to do so.
This is the part that the client needs to work on and send to us. We will provide a content document to help keep you organized. This tool will spell out the content that we will need for each page. It can feel overwhelming but if you start early and tackle one page at a time, it isn’t too bad. If you want to use any of the content of the current website, just let us know. Unless you want to use our copywriting services, we will need you to supply us with the content for each page that is defined in the navigation.
SEO – Search engine optimization. We build all websites with SEO in mind. Certain design elements are important to keep within Google’s guidelines and we take that into account when building your website.
- We will do keyword research and make sure that those words are targeted words and are included in the copy.
- Streamlining the pages which are no longer necessary. We will redirect those old pages to a page on the new website. This way, if someone has an old link saved, it will still go to your website.
- Setting up a Google Analytics account to track the traffic on the website. If you already have a current Analytics account, we will review and see the behavior of your users. We can see what pages are visited more often and a lot of different data that will help define the behavior of users that come to your website.
- We offer monthly SEO tracking services. Please let us know if you want to add this to your proposal.
This is the coding process that puts your design into a working website. We integrate the approved design into the development site. Once the website is in the development phase, you will see the buttons working and the website is up and viewable but on a link that is not viewable yet to the public. This way you can track the progress but your users can’t just yet.
Before launch, we perform testing to make sure that we are ready to put the website live.
- We check every button and link to make sure they are all active and working,
- We check to make sure that forms are functioning and emails are sent to the right email address.
- We check the website in different browsers.
- We check the website in different screen sizes. It’s critical to have a mobile-friendly design separate from the desktop version.
- We check the speed. Does it load quickly? This is important to retain your visitors.
- We check to make sure that the copy is easy to understand. Not too long but long enough to be clear. Not too complex so that the average user can understand.
Grateful Web Services does offer shared hosting but if you prefer to stay with your current host, that’s okay too! We will need the username and password for your current hosting control panel. Once we have that, we will create a database and upload the website. Many times, it will show immediately in your browser. Sometimes, it takes a bit longer for the website to show. Once it’s showing, we will run through another series of checks to make sure that everything is working perfectly.
After a launch, it is customary for a client to opt-in for a maintenance plan. We can take care of any updates, changes, and WordPress updates as well as plugin updates as needed. If you decide to host with us, we do require mandatory quarterly WordPress/Plugins updates. When you sign up for a maintenance plan, updates are included. It’s super important to keep your website up to date to help against breakages or intrusions. If it’s not kept up to date, it leaves your website vulnerable.
When your new website is launched, it’s time to share it with your network of customers, colleagues, and friends. Post it on social media! Include your web address on business cards, letterhead, email signatures, and anywhere else you can post it.
Our goal is to make this process as easy as possible for you! We want you to love your website and be proud enough to show it off!
If you need clarity regarding some of the terms used in this blog. please check out this past blog called Cracking the Code