July 21, 2016
Regardless of the size of your business, building a website is a big undertaking. The proper strategy, platform, and process can make or break the success of any new site. At S&B, we leave no stone unturned when it comes to the website development process. From start to finish we are focused on your brand, your customers and what will make your website a success.
So what does it take to build a successful website? In this three-part series, we’ll take a look at how we tackle web projects at S&B and how we can bring success to your online presence.
Before starting any big project, it’s important to take a step back and look at the full picture. For websites, this means looking at all aspects of your business—both online and offline—and asking important questions like:
- What are your overall marketing goals and strategies?
- Is there an existing communications platform?
- What is the main goal of this website and how are we going to measure success?
- Who is your target audience and how do they behave online?
- Will the site need to be updated frequently and who will manage the updating?
Answering these questions will lay the groundwork for a successful web project and will help determine which platforms should be used. While there are a lot of options available, your considerations will likely fall into four basic buckets. Oftentimes, a site will include pieces from multiple buckets depending on the business and website goals.
Customizable Templates (i.e., WordPress/Drupal) – Don’t let “templates” scare you. There is a lot of customization that can be done through these systems. These platforms are best for small, shallow sites that don’t have complicated information or multiple page types.
Custom System – This type of website is 100% custom and built from the ground up to suit your exact business needs. It includes custom design and custom content for every area of the site.
Content Managed System – A CMS can bring a lot of flexibility to a website once it’s launched. At its core, a CMS creates a user friendly interface for non-programmers to quickly and easily modify the content of the website. While it makes managing basic website content incredibly easy, it can also help streamline and showcase complicated databases (think charts and graphs), organize products or recipes, manage sign-up and lead generation forms and keep e-commerce platforms organized and running smoothly. A CMS helps keep the site running smoothly post launch without the need for advanced coding knowledge.
E-Commerce – E-commerce can come in many shapes and sizes, but it does require more time to build and manage. There are security features and payment processing services that need to be enabled and ongoing support and management requirements that a basic website won’t have. A well designed e-commerce platform can keep online business running smoothly without constant management.
Platform selection is a crucial step in developing a website. Take your time with selection and weigh the pros and cons of each. Remember to think about where you want your website to be in the future and select a platform that will allow you to change and grow as your business will. In part two of this series, we cover the development process, and in part three we’re discussing site maintenance.
If you’re not sure which platforms are right for you, we’re happy to answer questions and offer our recommendations. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to start a conversation.