Commissioning A Web Project

So you need a website, now what?

Commissioning a web project for the first time can all be a bit daunting when faced with a wall of acronyms, jargon and double-speak that can make up the world of web development. We think it’s important to demystify the process and to talk in plain English.

Here are some questions we’ve been asked in the past. Not all websites and projects are created equal and we hope that after reading this, you’ll have a better idea for what to expect.

Do you work with other companies like ours?

Odds are we have worked with someone like you though we don’t like to put our clients in a box. We always like to make sure we’re a good fit and we don’t want you to underestimate the worth in finding an agency or freelancer that fits your personality. Chances are you’re going to be working with your choice for a long time. It’s rare that you can have a website built and handed over to you without you requiring the developer’s services again. Some web projects never really end; there is always another round of changes and updates that need to be made. That’s why we offer memberships rather than wanting to charge one-time fees. We like to keep our clients around for a long time. Plus websites function better with less people having to learn how they work and change things.

Do you specialize in making websites?

In a word, yes. Though we do offer app design, print design, photography, advertising and illustration. We like to focus all of these around your website so that we can make sure you get a good product out of us. Beware of agencies that focus on print, advertising and marketing with web on the side, this more often than not doesn’t give you good online product. Though they may give you a good overall direction for your company, to those kinds of agencies your website is not as important as it should be these days or it’s simply that they just don’t have the experience they need to make websites more important.

Who will be working on my project? Do you outsource?

We are always the creative head of any project we take on, but we do “outsource” certain aspects of some more complex projects, never a whole project. We only work with a select few and we like to think of them as partners. We simply feel we can offer a better product faster by not sitting around trying to re-invent the wheel but using the same technologies and building from there.

Read more about our partnerships

What quality guidelines do you follow?

Websites should be designed to be accessible by as broad a set of people as possible. We care about writing meaningful and valid code built to W3C Standards.

Will it run fast / be scaleable?

Did you know that Google factors page load time into its search ranking algorithm? We make sites to be fast first and foremost because it provides a better user experience. We’re careful when dealing with projected traffic numbers that are sky high, as there is fine balancing act between optimization and design. Premature optimization can have an adverse effect on the design of a website as it adds complexity and introduces bugs that consume time and money. We have some clients with speed/capacity issues and they have learned upgrading your server does not always fix the problem. We recommend to always use our servers first to better explore the issues from there.

Will it perform on Google? (other search engines are available)

Some SEO professionals use dirty tricks to get to the top of search listings. They’ll write automated scripts/bots to add links to their site and on other high-ranking sites, or pay people to do their dirty work for them. While it can be tough competing with these techniques it is definitely possible to be ranked well with an honest approach. It may take a little longer to get results, but you won’t be in danger of Google choosing to drop you from their results pages and will pay off with better customers.

Keyword analysis is an essential part of the process: Google no longer uses keywords that are simply coded into the head tag of your website. They now comb all of your content to see what you are about, this means you can better target your website copy and adverts to your prospective audience. Content is king when it comes to being ranked and continuing to update that content is essential in keeping those rankings.

Will it work on my smartphone / tablet / toaster oven?

It seems like everyone has a smartphone or tablet these days. Don’t assume you have to have another version of your website though, we optimize all websites to ensure that the non-mobile version will work on smartphones and tablets by using javascript and HTML5 for animated elements on the site. We can also offer a simple mobile plugin for WordPress sites and may be all you need in order to provide a tailored layout for various screen sizes.

What happens when there’s a bug or it goes down?

Websites will fail: understand that now and you will be prepared for it. This is not a defeatist view or an excuse, it’s realistic. We know this and rather than bury our heads in the sand we are prepared to deal with the consequences. It’s all about having the problem-solving skills, tools and the right approach to solving the root cause of the problem.

We use WiredTree as our server partner and because they have multiple server facilities to ensure your website won’t be down very long if there happens to be a natural disaster somewhere else in the world with your website.

We use Sucuri as our online security monitor. They comb our sites every 3 hours for malware, bugs and potential security problems. We know what’s happening to your site when and if it ever happens so that we can fix it faster.

We also make our own monthly backups of all websites under our membership to ensure we can put your website back if anything ever does happen to it.

Will it be tested?

We test everything first and show it to our clients before you ever see anything live on the web. There is also a user testing phase for any complex applications which we make live and monitor user activity for any bugs.

How can I update my website?

A stale website will perform poorly in search engines and doesn’t encourage repeat visitors. Whether it’s news articles, product updates or a company blog, nearly every website will have areas that need to be kept up to date. We utilise open-source CMSs like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla to easily manage the content on all of our sites. We pick the right CMS depending on the site needs. We also take care of anything you need updated through our membership so you don’t have to worry about learning how your site works, unless you want to.

Where will my website be hosted?

In the end this is your site so you can host your site and domain where ever you like. Just keep in mind the phrase “You get what you pay for”. A lot of times when we build custom plugins or forms for sites they will not work on all hosting packages. We like to use and recommend to our clients WiredTree which is included with all website memberships and we will maintain backups and server side updates for the life of your membership.

Who owns my domain name?

Any domain names purchased at our client’s request and any that are transferred to us for hosting remain the client’s property. This is your website and your domain is part of that. If you ever decide to leave our hosting package we will be happy to help you transfer your domain where ever you need.

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