Web Design Donegal – What to expect
Web Design Donegal – What to expect, is a Comprehensive Guide for clients who are considering a project for Web Design in Donegal. You may be wondering what to expect when working with a web designer. It can be a daunting task deciding who is the right person for the job.
Below I break down the most important components a performance driven website needs to succeed online. Also, I delve deep into the process that exists between designer and client, and why communication is paramount when getting the most from your web designer.
Where to start with your website
Your website should be an extension of your bricks and mortar business. It should complement it’s personality, branding and identity. To be satisfied with the end result and to get the most out of me you need to tell me as much information as possible about your business. The more detailed you are the better.
I am a fan of this because it allows me to get a much better insight into what functions your website should serve. For example, you might be a musician who is concentrating on getting more gigs and performances scheduled in your yearly calendar. In this case we would need to give you a space to manage your upcoming gigs and have that information displayed on your homepage.
If you are trying to sell tickets on your website my aim will be to make this process streamlined for the user. I want to increase the likelihood of a sale.
I already have a website – can you help?
You may already have a website and be disappointed with how it was built or how it is maintained. In scenarios like this and with budget taken into consideration, I will take as much information into account as possible and provide what I deem to be the best solution to your situation.
It might be worth your while to redesign the entire website from scratch. Equally it may not and It may be wiser to make some adjustments to the site and work towards a small goal instead. Filling out a website questionnaire and having a concise, transparent conversation will dictate this decision.
I send out a questionnaire to all business owners I work with before I ever begin the project.
The questionnaire serves multiple purposes. It is used to encourage the client to reflect on their market to see how having an online presence can impact their business with genuine value. I want the client to identify what goals they have for the website in the long run.
Another is that it provides me with a deeper understanding of the business itself. There is an education at both sides of the project and I will always consider ideas from your point of view as you will know your own business better than I do. My job is to push these ideas forward with guidance in how they might present themselves online.
A website is like a car
A website in many ways is comparable to a car. When you are serious about buying one you want it to hold longevity. However, for this you realise there will a sacrifice of cost.
The tradeoff is that the car is in the garage less frequently than the cheaper option you may have initially considered. One is more expensive than the other but it has a much greater value in the long run. The more expensive option is built with more durability from the ground up and will cause you less hassle down the line.
This is the very same for web design. There are several tiers of pricing for any one project. My job is to advise you which one suits you best based on your needs, requirements and budget.
Maintenance care plan – What do I need to keep my website safe?
Continuing with the car analogy a website needs to be maintained regularly. There are many tasks involved in a well oiled website. Outlined below are the most important ones.
A website consists of groups of files and folders like those you would see on any computer.
A Backup is a clone of these files. One of the core features of my maintenance and support plans are regular and frequent website backups. I will work with you to find the best solution for your website.
Why it is important to backup your website?
Having a copy of your website stored safely and securely in a remote location is vital. Some hosting companies allow automatic backups of your website. This might be useful in a pinch however, backups often need to be configured manually within the limitations of the hosting company.
It’s important to know the backup frequency your hosting provider allows. Let’s say you are a blogger. You write a few articles a week to feed your audience. Your website hasn’t been backed up for 1 week (hosting limit) and one day disaster strikes and your website goes down, hacked and all content deleted.
Server disk space and cloud storage.
Even if you receive regular backups from your hosting provider you need to be aware of your servers disk space. This will relate to the hosting package you got set up with initially. A server that is clogged up with backups will start to affect the performance of the website over time.
I use Google Drive and Dropbox for safe storage of your website files. I keep backups for as long as is necessary. Upon request I will share the folder that contains the backup giving you easy access to all your files.
I have experienced many websites that have been hacked due to poor security and ignored software updates. It’s something that cannot be overlooked, especially if the website is dynamic and has content regularly added to it and stored in a database. Static websites are not immune either and can get hacked too if they are not monitored regularly.
How does a website get hacked?
Website hacking is common. What used to be one individual behind a computer screen hacking your site has now become a potential brute force attack from a large batch of programmed scripts (also called bots) written solely to exploit website vulnerabilities.
The biggest danger of hacking of course is losing your entire website. All your hard work, time and effort wasted instantly. There are many ways in which your website might get hacked. Take WordPress for example. It’s the world’s most popular CMS (content management system) powering a massive 34.1% of the top 10 million sites on the internet.
It is also open-source meaning anyone can extend the code, building and customizing it to suit their own website requirements. With this access to code however it is vulnerable to attack.
When a new update for the platform is released, the security issues that existed in the previous version of the software are now known by programmers who can reverse engineer it, renew their own malware injection bots based on this new information, and infiltrate any website that don’t have the latest update.
The speed at which your website loads in is now an official ranking factor for Google’s search engine. Speed optimization is included in all maintenance plans I provide.
Updates to plugins can interfere with the configurations a designer has set for improving the speed performance of a website. This is another reason why it is important to have your website regularly maintained.
There are many disciplines involved in making a website run fast. Some of these include:
Image compression and optimization
Using caching software
Correct web server configuration
Requesting less web page data
A fast website will not only keep visitors active on your website but it will gain a green tick from Google that secures your spot in an organic search.
Digital Marketing & SEO
A powerful combination for an online business is one that takes advantage of digital marketing techniques correctly and has good search engine optimization. These two definitions often considered synonymous, are in fact separate disciplines.
SEO is a specific type of Digital marketing that follows a unique set of criteria put in place by search engine providers like Google to rank your website higher.
Digital marketing can take many forms. Some of these include:
Online advertising (Google Ads)
Email marketing campaigns
Social Media Marketing
SEM – Search Engine Marketing
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
Working with me – SEO & Digital Marketing
When you work with me to improve your website’s SEO the first thing we will do is sit down and discuss your current position in the market. I want to know how your business started, how it has grown and where it is now.
If your business has already used an SEO strategy in the past I want us to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. It’s important we don’t fall into the previous pitfalls and that we try something fresh.
Creating a strategy
Together we will come up with a goal from a specific area of your business that you want to improve on. It should be specific and clear. This will allow us to measure its success more accurately. After a period of discovery I will help you define the goal and suggest ideas I believe will work in achieving it.
For example, let’s say you are running a not-for-profit charity for children with special needs and you need a new fundraising strategy. A specific goal that measures success here is an increase of monthly donations to the organisation. We need to look at the current measure (if any) taken to achieve that goal and see where it can be improved.
Identifying the problem
Let’s say that the donate button can be seen clearly at the top of the homepage but it is not being used. The problem isn’t the location of the button but more the method for converting the visitor. Users of your site are looking for something engaging and meaningful. What is necessary is both an SEO and digital marketing strategy.
Implementing the strategy
This can be done by way of a story. You could request that an individual from your organisation who benefited massively from the support they were provided to take part in a short video. They could describe in their own words there experience with the help they got.
Placing this video on a dedicated page for donations will make the visitor much more informed about your organisation. You will gain their trust by adding testimonials on this page from people who have benefited from the support your charity provides.
Also advisable here is to have a donation form that the visitor fills out before they make the transaction. You can keep the user informed on how their money is helping impact the lives of others by sending them newsletter emails. This keeps communication open between you and your donor and increases the chances of them donating again or even better providing recurring donations.
Web design is much more than the arrangement of text and images on a website. When I take on a new client I meet them one-on-one and listen intently. I want to learn as much as possible about their business. How it started and where it’s heading.
What excites me most is working with people who are passionate about evolving their business online. I want to create something great for my clients and my hope is that the want to do the same for themselves.
Running a successful business means keeping ahead of the competition and knowing your market inside out.
A good web designer knows that planning and strategy is everything. For me, I want to work with people who have a genuine desire to expand their business long term.
What I enjoy most from the web design process is seeing new digital ideas transform how the business owner sees their business. It gives them a new lease of life when they realise the new creative ways they can interact with their market and more importantly boost sales.