Looking for a shiny, brand new website or maybe to just knock the dust off that turn-of-the-millennium clunker?
Yes, we “do” that… and much more…
More Than A Website
Websites have changed since we built our first one back in 2009. Flashy images and video are nice but it takes a bit more than that to rise above the clutter of the modern internet.
Because we are a marketing agency (not just web developers) we take the rest of your marketing (current and planned) into consideration when we design your site. That means we design your site to seamlessly integrate with the rest of your marketing assets such as third-party ecommerce, email, analytics and landing page platforms, digital ad accounts and everything else that connects to your site.
Your new website will not only be well-branded, eye-catching, easily navigable and mobile-friendly. It will also have a clear purpose for each page and uncluttered, SEO-proofed content that will make it easy for viewers to get your message and more likely that search engines and AI assistants will find you.
We’ll “refresh” your existing site or deliver a brand new marketing platform. Either way, your website will be designed from the ground-up to perform due to 3 key differences from your average website:
Our branding process digs deep to assemble the right combination of 6 principle elements:
It’s been our experience that even well-established brands are often missing several of these key elements. Even if you already have a solid brand in-place, there’s probably quite a bit of fine-tuning to be done. If you’re just getting started or just haven’t ever done much branding work, this will give you a comprehensive guide for how to maintain a consistent, cohesive brand as your business grows.
Most web developers treat SEO as an afterthought (if they consider it at all).
Our approach is different.
We’ll work with you to visualize, develop and integrate the constituent elements of your marketing strategy. Your working funnel will show the interconnectivity of the traffic sources, web pages, email flows, offline events and all the other ways you’ll use to get your message to your avatar. This will serve as a planning tool for your website at first. Later on, the funnel will function as the roadmap for your entire marketing plan.
Content Management Systems (CMS)
There’s no one way to build a website.
That said, it pays over time to focus on a few core Content Management Systems. While we do assist, from time to time, with the simpler DIY builders like SquareSpace, Weebly, and Wix, we haven’t focused our attention on these platforms because they’re designed for out-of-the-box, ease of use over customization. What-you-see-is-what-you-get with those builders and we find them somewhat limiting.
This is why we typically build websites using one of 3 platforms:
1. Most business owners building informational sites use WordPress.
2. Most business owners running e-commerce sites are switching to Shopify.
3. Design-focused marketing departments might find Webflow too good to pass up.
There is enough to learn and keep on top of with these systems that we never feel like we’re halted in our ongoing professional development. The reality is, the more widely adopted a CMS, the more that CMS is likely to change over time through user testing and its own internal software evolution. This is why a platform like WordPress, which was originally built with the very basic intent of providing a Tumblr-esque solution for bloggers, has grown into a sophisticated, ubiquitous medium. Because WordPress is an open-source platform, developers are constantly creating new plugins, so the WordPress ecosystem is always growing more complicated and more capable.
Another reason we default to these platforms is to provide you the freedom to have your site managed by any web administrator with the requisite skills, unlike “custom” built websites where you’re locked into using the original developers.
We offer managed web hosting services but can host your new website on almost any service you prefer. There are a lot of web hosting companies out there, with lots of different packages and features to choose from. Though there are always exceptions to any set of rules, we generally encourage clients to rank hosting based on 3 fundamental considerations:
Will this hosting company continue to meet our needs as our business grows?
There is something to be said for simplicity, or the “less is more approach”…except when it comes to hosting companies! Some complexity in a hosting company offerings will give you an idea of whether or not that company has the capability to host ALL of your online assets in one centralized location.
Here are some questions to ask before you leap into a yearly hosting plan:
Is domain registration offered?
We often take on clients who have either forgotten or never knew where their domain name is registered. Often, it’s with a different company from the one hosting their website(s). The problem with this, besides having to keep track of another invoice and set of login credentials, is that every time you want to change email providers, launch a redesign, create a subdomain or do any number of things associated with your domain, you have to go through a completely separate company that has nothing to do with your site. For this reason, we recommend keeping both your domain and web hosting with the same company, within the same account.
Are there packages that can be added as my business grows?
How much bandwidth, memory, and CPU usage your server allows can have a big impact on the user experience of your site. You may not need much space or memory now, but you’ll want to make sure there are both personal and business plans available that offer greater backend leverage of resources to support growing traffic over time. There should always be multiple options for hosting above and beyond what you’re currently using for your website(s).
Are Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) available?
Speed is vitally important for websites these days but business owners also tend to desire a highly engaging site with lots of great (big) pictures and video. Those elements take up space and slow down your site. CDNs are a great way to get the right balance of high-resolution imagery and speed, regardless of hosting package. CDNs allow for a static version of your site to be surfed up on a global network of servers that allow people to access your content more quickly. You may feel as though you don’t need this right now, but in time you might feel differently. Make sure you have options!
Are there options for increased security?
Straight up: if the hosting company you’re considering doesn’t offer encryption through SSL certificates, they simply aren’t worth your time. In this day and age, EVERYONE should have encryption. In fact, Google now lowers your rankings if you don’t. A good hosting company will have either in-house security monitoring or a partnership with another company that does. This may involve malware protection and monitoring, firewalls and CDNs for security.
Can I access the server space my website is on through a personal or business account?
From our point of view, this is extremely important.
Your website and domain name are proprietary to your business. YOU, and only you, should own access to the server space where your website resides. YOU, and only you, should own and maintain access to your domain.
The reason that this is so important to us is that we have, on way too many occasions, taken the reigns from a previous agency or web development company that operates by placing hundreds of websites and domains onto a single account that only they have access to. This is a cost-saving tactic for the web company but no good for the client and a giant red flag for us.
What does personal access to the server mean?
You should have a username and password for a portal somewhere that allows you to gain full access to the place where your website is installed and the DNS settings for your domain(s). You should not have to deal with a middleman to get to your domain or website.
Do I have a team of professionals to call/text/email should my website experience problems?
If your site goes down mysteriously at 9pm on a Sunday night, you’re going to want to call or email someone to get started working on the problem NOW. If you have to wait until regular business hours before you can put in a support ticket, then wait another day before someone looks at the problem, that’s a lot of downtime. Downtime translates into lower rankings on search engines and a general, pervasive feeling of unprofessionalism among your customers. For ecommerce businesses, downtime = lost revenue.
Business hours for non-critical items are fine, but for critical web support, you should have access to support at all hours of the day and night.
Taking all the above into consideration, our hosting service of choice is SiteGround.
We won’t just hand over the keys your new site & leave you in the dark!
Once we publish the site, we’ll provide you and your team with personalized training on how to make routine edits and maintain the site’s health. We also offer several webadmin packages if you prefer to have us take care of this for you.