Branding

DIY websites – are they good enough for your business

By Mark Ainsworth

A great website development and design team, like the one here at Maxweb, is run like an Escoffier kitchen.

The recipes, cooking techniques, and approaches to team management pioneered by Georges Auguste Escoffier are still, more than 100 years since he was at his professional prime, and influenced the way that commercial kitchens are run in France and around the world. What Escoffier discovered cut down food costs, sped up service, and delivered customers with amazing food that they’d remember for a lifetime.

He was definitely onto something. Even the simplest-looking dish needs the expertise of four or five professionals overseen by a quality-obsessed manager before it reaches the customer. Sometimes, that which looks simple is deceptively complicated under the bonnet but the person enjoying it will never know just what it took to get everything right.

And the same is true with world-class websites that search engines love, visitors enjoy reading and keep coming back to, and customers keep placing orders through.

In a very serious and non-flippant way, the Maxweb team is like an Escoffier kitchen. We’re very much a team that moves in unison with shared goals for our customers but we all stick to what we’re good at. When that happens, the sum is always more than the value of the parts and great websites get built.

We all need each other to produce the result you want to see. No one person could successfully do this on their own without a slow descent into personal torture. So, who do you need to build a website and what do they need to do?

What visitors don’t really see

You might think that web design and web development are the same thing. While they do share things in common with each other, there are important differences. For a web design (and how easy it is for a visitor to navigate a site), the basics of web development need to be in place first.

When we’re approached by a client to build a website for them, depending on what they want it to do, we have to select the most appropriate technology to power it. This could be a web-based programming language such as PHP or Node, or it could be the best approach is to use and adapt open-source search-engine-friendly technologies like Drupal or WordPress. Then we have to select what to run the site on, this could be custom servers or a cloud-based solution.

All these vital decisions take place prior to formulating a design for your website that not only looks good now, but is ready for the next wave of technologies that will connect to the world wide web. Then, once we have determined the general look of the design, we decide on how to incorporate all the various front-end technologies, such as HTML CSS and JavaScript, into the mix.

Then we are ready to actually start designing. Working with the web designers (the people who make your website look and behave in a certain way), our developers build a series of templates to display the information and the images needed in the way desired. Depending on the website, there may need to be two or three templates and on others ten or twelve.

On each of these templates, we have to make sure it displays correctly on all devices. And we need to make sure it does it double-quick because Google actively penalise websites that don’t load quickly, especially on mobile.

What visitors see

Visitors will see one thing on one device and another thing on another device. Your website must look great and be easy to use however your customers and visitors are accessing it.

It’s important not to get carried away with design however. Although design is an important part of any type of sales or marketing presentation, it is still only a part. A person is swung on whether a product or service is right for them based upon the information they digest more than any other factor. Form can never rule over function – form must always take second place, because if it doesn’t, your sales and lead generation efforts will suffer.

What visitors read

Copy writing is an art form in itself. It’s hard to believe, for some, that copy writing about picnic benches or other every day topics is an art, but it is – trust us.

The Maxweb copy writer working on your project has to understand your business, understand your objectives, and understand what motivates the customer. His or her writing must successfully take into account all three competing demands on the text – plus one more.

It’s all very well have amazing prose on your website but, if Google doesn’t understand what the prose is about and it’s not written in a certain way, it won’t rank you for it.

Before it goes live

At all stages throughout the development of the website, the equivalent to our Head Chef is our MD, Mark Ainsworth. Throughout each stage of development, Mark checks to see that the part of the website being developed meets the client brief.

Before the final version of the site is presented to you, the client, rigorous testing takes place in a deliberate attempt to try to “break” your website. Our team, led by Mark, try every way to stress-test your site to discover errors in it. We then check (and make tweaks when needed) appearance and performance across different types of browsers and different devices. We make sure there are no broken links, that the pages interlink (and out-link) the way they should, that each form works perfectly, providing you with the all-important sales and marketing information you need.

And the final site will only be presented to you once it’s proven its mettle.

Save yourself this headache and this heartache. Hand over your project to Maxweb instead. Please call us on 0151 652 4777 or email info@maxwebsolutions.co.uk and ask to speak to our website development team.

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Why your business needs a website – part one

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