Professional Web Design or Just Web Design?

Chris McAlonan

Published: 08th February 2018

Professional Web Design or Just Web Design? Blog Article Branding and Digital Agency Belfast

A lot of ‘professionals’ offer web design services and a common mistake is to compare them based on the price they quote. This is a bad idea.

They won’t all have the same skills, experience or support teams, or produce the same standard of web design therefore pricing will vary considerably. If you consider yourself to be a professional consultant or business owner, you need a professional web design team to support you – a quick Wix website simply won’t do!

To ensure you hire a professional web design team, do your homework. Meet with at least 2 or 3 and interview them. Ask them to show you websites they’ve done in the past and explain what they think they can do for you – simply looking at previous examples of their work can often weed out amazing web design from the average, or less than average web designer!

The Professional Web Design Process

A professional web design team will take you on a journey that may look something like this:

1. Initial Consultation and Needs Analysis

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A professional web design team will spend time with you at the outset getting to understand your business in-depth. They won’t jump head first into the design and build process. They’ll discuss your needs in the initial consultation and identify any elements and support teams you already have it place (if you have an existing online presence) to identify where they can add value. Avoiding overlap and working with your existing systems and teams can save you both time and money. (If you’d like to prepare for an initial consultation, review the elements that make up a professional web design package. This will help you to identify which elements of support you are missing).

2. Web Design Strategy

A professional web design team won’t just cover the design and build of the website, they’ll look at the bigger picture – the long-term growth strategy. They will educate you on all the things you need to know about building a website – and there’s a lot! Expect to hear references to web design strategy (this happens pre-design) and website marketing (post-design and ongoing). In the latter you can expect to hear a lot of buzzwords, albeit relevant ones, like content marketing, social media marketing and email marketing, along with many acronyms like SEO, PPC, PR, UX and CRO! These relate to marketing activities that need to be put in place to drive traffic to the site once it’s live. They’ll also explore what marketing activities you are doing offline, as online and offline activities are often interconnected.

3. Web Design

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A professional web design team will draft up a sitemap to illustrate what content will go on the site and how it will be structured. They will also design some potential wireframes for the homepage, a category landing page and perhaps a product/service page to give you a clearer idea of how the website will look in practice. You will also be given the opportunity to review and provide feedback to allow subsequent tweaks to the design to be made. When you are happy to sign it off, the design process can move forward.

4. Website development

The development process is the more time consuming and technical aspect of the process. A professional web design team will explain what they are going to build, why it is necessary and ask you lots of questions to ensure that each process and feature is mapped out correctly before going ahead. A professional web developer makes very complex processes so straightforward for end users so that they don’t actually look complicated at all!

5. Website Testing

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A professional web design team will conduct a number of tests on your site prior to putting it live to address any snags in the build. Tests will include speed tests to ensure the site loads quickly – a slow site can negatively impact on the site’s ranking on Google and impatient online users won’t wait for it to open! Browser tests will be carried out to check that the website displays correctly across a number of browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome, and that the design is responsive, displaying properly for the different screen sizes of desktop pc’s, laptops, tablets and mobile phones.

6. Snag Lists

Over the first few months of your new website going live, a professional web design team will ask the business owner or website manager to provide feedback from both the in-house team of users and a sample of clients who visit the site to identify if there are any recurring problems, or minor snags that need fixed – they will then work with you to get the website working as effectively as possible – they won’t do a disappearing act – a common complaint of dissatisfied website owners who come to us for help!

7. Marketing Initiation

A professional web design team don’t just build a site and leave it there. They prove its worth. Once any snags have been addressed, they’ll provide support to enable you to start generating a return on your investment. This may include initiating email marketing campaigns, social media marketing campaigns, search engine optimisation activity and various other tactics to drive traffic to the site – without this new traffic you can’t fully assess the website’s ability to attract and engage new customers. Some web design teams may provide these services in-house or introduce you to their marketing partner who will work closely with them and you to develop, implement and monitor marketing activity.

8. Website Reporting and Analysis

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Your web design team should integrate analytical packages with the website such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console, and these will be analysed on a regular basis to determine if the website is doing what it should be doing. Data from email marketing software, social media channel insights and measurement of offline marketing performance such as footfall at your store or an event will also be analysed to determine how the website and any supporting marketing activities are impacting on overall marketing performance. This is what professional web design looks like!

Professional Web Design is Growth Driven Design

We work with business owners and marketing teams to develop a web design strategy that drives growth. We want your site to reflect the professionalism of your business, respond to your customers’ needs and fulfil your growth objectives. A professional web design strategy will set you apart from competitors.

Our approach to website design is based on research and data, rather than guesswork as this achieves better results. We’ve also successfully minimised the time required to get websites live to as little as 2 months and offer monthly support packages to make it affordable and spread your ongoing costs.

No Time? No Problem!

At Fourteen Forty we know that, as a business owner, you don’t have the time to worry about these things. That’s why many of our clients trust us to look after their websites and marketing collateral. Also, with our bi-annually reviews conducted alongside our clients, their voices are always heard and actions are taken to improve their projects.

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