So, you are ready to make your business known on the Internet. Good for you! There are a number of steps you will need to take in order to achieve an active and successful online presence.

A website project involves the following stages and can take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks depending on the level of complexity, number of revisions and turnaround on approvals by the client.

Building a website is similar to building a house. First you need to figure out what your goals are:

• What is it you want to achieve?
• What is the general look and feel you want it to have? (eg. Trend setting or heritage?)
• What is your realistic budget? (Websites can range anywhere from $3,000 to $20,000)

You then hire a contractor (web agency) to plan what your house will look like with the help of a professional designer and builder (coder) who will execute on the design plans.

A designer and web developer can be the same individual if they are skilled at both design and development, or a website is designed by a Graphic Designer for branding purposes and built by a Web Developer who places the design into a web friendly HTML format so it can be accessed and achieve its purpose online.

A typical web development project goes through the following stages:

  1. Discovery: Learning what the client’s objectives are for the website, example sites the client likes and what industry peers are doing to enable best positioning.
  2. Planning: Creating action steps and a schedule for the project.
  3. Design: After reviewing industry sample sites the client likes the web designer will create a mock-up design of the home page and an inside page for client review.
  4. Approval: Once the design direction has been signed-off and approved by the client, the various pages and their design assets are sent to the developer
  5. Development: Coding involves a number of functions where the web developer builds the structure of the website in HTML 5, integrates it with a “backend” Content Management System (CMS) to allow for in-house text editing, may include moving parts such as a rotating banner, places the content and adds the finishing touches
  6. Beta Testing: Once the website is built and all finalized web copy has been added, the site is placed online with testing done to ensure any bugs are worked out.  The beta site is sent and reviewed by the client.

Going Live: Once everything is reviewed and the client is ready to publish their site, it goes live for public view. It’s a good idea for the client to conduct some sort of promotion to bring attention to the new site so there is some anticipation.

Assets You’ll Need For Your Website Development Project

Before a web project begins, it’s VERY important for the client to have the following assets ready for web services company to do their job. Without proper imagery and completed content, the design team can not complete a website project. Images and content provide the creative direction and size requirements for a company’s website.

Assets required are described as follows:

High-resolution images that best represent your business

Images that are professionally taken, have clear details and bold colors will give a client’s website the caliber of design they are looking for. Low resolution snap shots from an iPhone or that are taken from video clips will look amateur and blurry, which is not the image a company wants to portray when it’s objective for a website is to attract new business and build trust in its market expertise.

Clients may have a professional photographer take pictures of their products or service in progress, or stock photo sites that sell professional industry photos are used. Photo research is often offered by the web design company as an additional service.

The difference in quality of images between a high resolution (1MB and above) and a low resolution (1MB and below) is seen in this example.

Completed Content Delivered In One Document

Copy that describes your company, its products and services, unique value proposition, contact information and other selling features in a text based, Word document.

When the content is delivered in piece meal, it’s makes designing the website more challenging and also increases the time and budget.

As in the house analogy, when the plans are being made, you know what size a particular room is going be given its usage and what furniture will be in the room. The same goes for the amount of content and imagery that will go into a page (eg. room) on a website.

Does creating a website increase your search engine rankings?

If building a website is similar to building a house, you can look at search engine optimization as creating a map with directions for people to find that house.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to land on the first page of the search engine results involves many activities which can often be a full time job. Companies that don’t have the resources internally often outsource SEO to professionals that understand the industry’s constantly changing algorithms, which are always a moving target.

As long as you properly optimize your website with keyword rich content, keep it fresh with blog and social media conversation, you will have a good chance at capturing search traffic. If you want to ensure you are at the top of page 1 in the search results for certain keywords, you will need to hire a professional to stay on the program 24/7. We have people who are very skilled at SEO, please ask us about it.

Search Engine activities often include and are not limited to:

• Website loading speeds
• Built for a mobile environment
• Optimized keywords in body copy
• Popularity of website
• Meta and description tags
• Back links from other like-minded websites
• Social media mentions
• Blogging using keywords
• Article writing and publishing
• Submit sitemap to Google
• Use Web Master and Analytic Tools,

And more…

We hope this guide has been helpful in your understanding of what goes into building a website and having an active presence online. Please call us 604-687-2004 or email info@activ8inc.com with any questions or if you’d like to inquire about building a website for your business.