Tuesday 30 November 2010

Do you need a website?

This is the first question to ask yourself. If you have found this blog then the chances are you think you may need a website but aren't sure. I am a big believer in the internet and how it can bring you business and increase brand awareness. But what if you don't need new business or want to improve brand awareness?

Imagine you have enough work on to fill your time and bring you the profits you want. Your business comes from word-of-mouth. You work from home, but always visit your customers. Now in this case: no, you probably don't need a website.

What if your target audience doesn't have access to a computer? Or won't use the internet? Again, you have no use for a website.

Outside of these exceptions though, I can't imagine what business wouldn't need a website. (Please add comments below if you can think of anything else!)

At the very minimum I would suggest making your contact details available online. This is almost considered common courtesy for both potential & existing customers, and while there are many directories that will list your details for you, remember you are more often than not surrounded by your competitors or companies with a very similar name. So why not make it easy for people to get in touch with you? They won't necessarily remember or comment on how easy it was, but they'll definitely remember if it took some time - or worse, they'll go elsewhere.

I can list plenty of reasons and uses for websites - but above all else, for most businesses, the key point has been made above.

Thursday 25 November 2010

How we work

Hello - yes we are still alive! Just got a bit swept up by the work we've got on.

We had an enquiry this week that asked us about how we worked on a web project, so to get us back on track with our blog, I thought this would be a good place to start.

In the beginning...

It can be very easy in these times so focused on technology to nto take the time to actually meeti with and talk to people in person. We like to start any relationship with our clients by arranging a meeting to discuss the potential project over a cup of tea. You can't beat a free-flowing conversation to get to the nitty-gritty of a project, and it just isn't the same on the telephone or in email conversations.

You can also learn a lot about the people you are working with by meeting them in person - are you going to be able to work with them? Are you on the same 'wave-length'? Is there an edge or tone of voice that doesn't translate well in emails? The clothes they wear, the notebook they write in, are all clues to the type of person you're dealing with - and for us, help us to determine the type of website you may want.

So we do try to get a meeting first of all, this isn't intended as a 'hard sell' or imposition, but is an invaluable first step. Cost (as important as it is!) isn't the be all and end all and meeting in person helps you to see that we are ethical, honest people with your best interests at heart. As cliche as it is - if your website doesn't look good or do the job you need it doesn't reflect well on us!

Proposals & Specficiations

Once we have an idea of the project and your aims we will produce a proposal for you, outlining what we will do, this can cover basic design outlines, site structure, functionality - whatever detail you need to ensure that your website will be built the way you want.

We then ask you to sign an order form & pay a deposit. This means that you are happy with the cost for what we have proposed.

Design Concepts

Then its time for the fun bit! We will produce a design for your site, based on our discussions, your branding, and examples of websites that you like and don't like. We aim to get it right first time, but in case we don't we will listen to your feedback and implement the changes you want until we get it right. You don't need to sign off the design until you're happy with it. Oen thing worth mentioning here, is that we will use stock imagery and text as placeholders if we don't have your actual content and these can be changed when we build the actual site, so at this stage you aren't signing off the whole thing! Just the outline.

We'll ask you to sign a design acceptance form and to pay for the design work (unless other arrangements have been agreed.) Paying in stages helps you to split the cost so you're not paying for it all at once, and we have identified stages so for every payment you have something 'tangible' to show for it.

Building the site

As we build the website you'll have access to it at all times so you can see how we are getting on. This means that if you see something you're not happy with you can tell us sooner rather than later. This stage will vary based on the project. We will issue updates in phases for you to test, and will start nagging you for content, if you haven't already provided it!

It is at this stage we work on the accessibility and basic search engine optimisation, so that its built stright into the code of the site.

Payment stages will be identified in the proposal, if necessary.


The sooner we get content, the sooner we can get it in the site. It can also help to influence the design of the site, for example, toning in colours with images you want to use, or making sure we have lots of space for text if you need it.

However, we can work with you to build you content if needs be. But that's a whole other blog post!


Testing is an important part of web development and, in an ideal world, should be done by as many people as possible. We test it as thoroughly as we can using a range of automated tools and manual checks. We have a number of web browsers, operating systems and devices ready for testing, but we do ask that you check too.

As hard as we try, we are not experts in every field and may mis-spell a technical term, an unusual name or abbreviation that won't be picked up by conventional spellcheckers.

When you are happy that the site is as you want it, it's time to....

Launch your site

This can be as simple as 'flicking a switch' or it can take a week or more - again this will be highlighted to you, so if you want a specific launch date we will do all we can to make sure this happens.

Your final payment will be due once the site is live and you're happy with it. We'll give you 2 weeks grace to spot any amendments needed, before any maintenance contracts or ad hoc support costs kick in.

The next steps depend on your ongoing support options.

So, there you have it. A quick run through of how we work. We are generally nice people and enjoy what we do. So give us a call to come and meet us in time for your next web project.