This might sound like a really simple question, but what really is a web designer?
Back around 20 years ago when I started creating websites things were harder, and also simpler.
Most websites way back were primarily HTML sites, so they were designed by a graphic designer and then coded into HTML, or use a HTML editor which could convert your design files into HTML code, and you uploaded the site to your web hosting, and that was about it.
You didn’t need to worry about user experience (UX), search engine optimisation (SEO), lead generation, email marketing, or content management systems. And the sites you would build would be a ‘one size fits all’ design. We didn’t have to worry about them fitting different size monitors, tablets or smartphones.
But since then web design and development has evolved a huge amount.
Have a nice looking website is now one of the least important things to think about. Understanding structure, engagement, user experience, and optimisation is critical, along with cross branding with social media, and marketing campaigns.
These days a Graphic Designer, Web Designer, needs to know much more than how to lay out a site on Photoshop. They need to understand the planning and engineering of the site so that it becomes a tool for your business, not just a pretty online advertisement.
Here is the process outlined that every web designer should follow….
STEP ONE – THE BRIEF
Every website needs to start with a client brief. This is a given. Understanding the clients needs, the target audience, the design and creation of the user experience and ultimately the main goal of the site is critical.
For example, if you were selling retirement homes, then your target audience is most likely an older age-group, so simplicity is the ket, with larger text, downloadable brochures, a click to call phone number, etc is essential. If you were selling sportwear online your target might be more active so they would possibly be more likely to order online from their mobile phone, sign up for special offers which would connect them to a sales funnel process, etc.
The design and structure of the site needs to be proven to work with a particular audience in mind, and this is where web design and web development combined plan a huge part.
STEP TWO – DESIGN
The initial concept design is determined from the brief provided by the client. These days it is easy to design sites using software that can easily be charged with the client online, allowing them to view the proposed siteplan, user experience structure, and even test the general functionality of the site without even having to build the site. They can provide feedback and even text chat in real time as you make the design modifications. This ensures a much faster design process when all parties are quite literally on the same page.
STEP THREE – DEVELOPMENT
I tend to always develop websites on a testing server which would allow the site to closely mimic the actual loading speed of the site when it goes live. For the client this is ideal as they can view and text the site prior to it going live, and for me as the developer I can ensure there are no bugs, and test the loading speed metrics, optimising it before it is uploaded to the live hosting. We are an in-house design and web agency, so we don’t outsource overseas, making communication with the client and the designer simple and instant, and we can ensure the testing servers are 100% secure and virus free when creating your site.
The population of all content such as text, images and video is done on the testing server.
We can also provide clients with full login access to their content managed website, so they get a feel for the site before it is active.
STEP FOUR – MIGRATION OF THE SITE
Once the site is ready to go live we have a fast process of migration, allowing us to transfer the site from the testing server to the live hosting in a matter of a few minutes.
We also keep a backup of every client’s website for a minimum of three years both inhouse and in our secure Cloud-based system, so in the unlikely event anything should go wrong with your site or hosting we can have it back up and running in just a couple of minutes.
STEP 5 – OPTIMISATION
Now that the site is live we integrate the website with Google Analytics and Webmaster Console, submitting your Sitemap to Google for review. We also optimise the website within a few hours of the site being submitted to ensure Google picks the site up as fast as possible and starts ranking it. The optimisation process includes a full optimisation of all graphics, text, tags, descriptions, and we also integrate a signature local search results strategy for the best possible local results.
Most web designers should also now be developing in the strategy on your website for personal voice search results using the Google Assistant. Google Voice search is tipped to be the most widely form of searching within the next 5 years.
STEP 6 – HAND OVER OF THE SITE
Upon final completion of the site we hand over full ownership of the site and all content, and provide a personal training video or PDF training guide for your site, showing you how to manage the content yourself, as well as maintain any future updates and even how to search engine optimise your new content as you add it.
All our websites come with a guarantee, as well as 12 months technical support including regular backups for free, ensuring your website provides the best possible results for your business!
We can also assist in additional WordPress Training, email marketing, and of course branding and graphic design services with our friendly local team.
So when you’re looking for a web design agency on the Sunshine Coast that provides the complete service at a nice price, Contact the Smartfish team on the Sunshine Coast