Websites are a portal to who you are and what you do. Great websites have three key ingredients, and they should be at the top of your list of needs and wants when looking for a website provider:
- Make sure it’s Open-Source.
Open-Source means that you own what you paid for. The alternative is proprietary software where the developer owns the framework. You might be able to login and do updates yourself, but you will find that if you want to move your website to another hosting provider, you can’t take that login part with you. Open-Source means that you’re not locked in to any one developer, you can take your website and move – which is especially important should anything happen to your developer such as an overseas experience, taking another job, liquidation or worst, illness/death, you don’t want to have to fund that investment all over again.
- Find a designer that suits your brand style.
Great design can be a matter of opinion, just like art. What one person finds amazing, another might think is cluttered or dull. We like to figure out two things; what you like and what your target market likes – then we match them up and create something that you are proud of and that attracts you more clients. Website designs should last two to five years, then they will need updating or refreshing – just like fashion, design changes over time and what you once found attractive might only bore you later.
- Get one with a Content Management System (CMS).
It used to be enough to just get a website up and running, something so that if someone searched for you in Google, they would find you. Then birthed the age of search engine optimisation (SEO) which has become its own business. Now you need to keep your website updated with correct content – so make sure you’ll be able to login and make changes. This will also keep your ongoing costs low, instead of having to pay a developer every time you want to make a change.
We offer WordPress websites – WordPress is Open-Source and a Content Management System, so we’ve already ticked the boxes of two ingredients in the list above. We have worked with other types of website platforms previously, so if you prefer something other than WordPress, please ask us about it.
To get started, we create a proposal with a suggested site map to meet your brief, and should you decide to work with us, we follow the process below.
We capture the personality you want to portray to your potential clients, so that when they meet you or experience your company, what you are online is what they expected. Sometimes wireframes are required – a basic layout of what will go where – but we usually move straight into design from the approved brief. We provide a proof of the design for you to approve before we move into development. Have a look through our gallery below and see how different each site is depending on the brand behind it.
Once the design is approved, we develop the site and create an online link for you to have access to. All our sites are responsive – meaning the design will adapt to whatever screen it’s being displayed on – a phone, a tablet, or a desktop computer. When on a smaller screen, it will likely use what’s called a ‘hamburger menu’ to make navigation easier for the viewer – this is a huge consideration when developing, how the viewer will find what they need to make an enquiry.
You can choose various options to add into your website. There are some that are basic, some would even consider a requirement, but it is all about what you are trying to achieve with your online presence. Our developers will use the best plug-ins to work with other functionality in your website. And where you want something custom, for example getting your website to interact with your company’s software, we can help to write the code to do so.
- Banner slideshows and photo galleries
- Social media and blog posts / news articles
- Enquiry forms, general forms, and location maps
- Product catalogues and shopping carts
- Online courses, communities, and memberships
- Payment gateways
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Google Analytics
- Email marketing solutions
- Live chat and comment interaction
- Plus hundreds more
If you provide us with the content, then we’ll put it into the new website (within reason of course). We will provide you with a basic manual in a PDF and provide an hour of training (either online or within Auckland area). You will be able to login and enter content yourself. Once you are happy with everything, it goes live.
We will always recommend that you host with the developer – should anything go wrong, they can jump in and fix it because they are familiar with the coding and style that they have developed the site with. Once you move to another hosting provider, they can no longer be responsible.
Website hosting varies depending on how much content, traffic or upload/download you have going on. Hosting is around $50 per month. In simple terms, you are paying rent for space on a secure server that should have backups and ongoing maintenance included.
Website URLs, or domain names is the address used to get to your website. This is usually looked after by another company or your IT provider. All your emails come from this domain name, so you need to be sure that you own it. We will communicate with this provider when the time comes to make the new website live.
Security Certificates (Secure Sockets Layer – SSL) are now expected from Google. If your site doesn’t have one, your site won’t rank well in search results. All our sites now come with the SSL as standard. It’s the standard technology for keeping an internet connection secure and safeguarding any sensitive data that is being sent.
Often websites are just a back-up to your referrals, marketing you’re already doing… someone recommends you, so they check you out online. Sometimes they can do more…
Once the website is up and running, it can be very easy to forget about it – leave it there and hope it does its job. However, every time you make an update to your website, search engines take notice and rearrange your site’s ranking (ranking is the order in which results appear when someone does a search). Therefore, if you want to increase the chances of your website being found, it’s best to update the content frequently. We provide services to generate content, and you can read about them here [link to content marketing page].
Websites can be tricky, especially when you are not technologically minded and have no idea if the wool is being pulled over your eyes… or not.
We have a reputation at Gilligan Sheppard where trust trumps fear. So, give us a call, fill in the form or email one of our marketing team and we’ll be more than happy to help.