Website Design Built for Your Business
“Your business is unique, why shouldn’t your website be too?”
At SHAW we develop custom websites that are built around your specific business from the ground up. We don’t just slap your content into a standardized template, send you on your way, and hope that it works out for you. We prefer to sit down with our clients and truly get to know how your business works, and then define exactly what your website needs to do in order for you to be successful. We approach each project as a new challenge that demands a unique solution for your business.
Developing a Website Strategy
So where do we begin? At SHAW we believe that having a well defined web strategy is absolutely critical for your success. Website design is far more than just making something look good on the internet. It is really about doing business on the web, whether that it is getting leads, selling products, making connections, providing information, or educating your visitors. Clearly defining the end goal, and identifying what you want truly want your website to do, is the origin of any successful website design.
Understanding Your Website's Audience
The next step in our process is to get a clear understanding of your target audience. Who are they? What information do they really need to know? What actions do we want them to take? At what point are they in the sales cycle? What language do they use to search?, etc. Answering a series of fundamental questions about your audience is what drives the function and form of your website design. As the famous Architect Louis Sullivan said about modernism, "Form follows function", and so it is with websites.
Creating Meaningful & Useful Web Design
At this point in our process, the mission is clear. We have defined explicitly what the site is intended to do. We know who the audience is. Now, it is time for the design. Website design is really all about understanding how to present information to a user and get them to take a desired course of action. So we approach each page by asking five important questions:
- Who is coming to this page of the website?
- Why are they coming to this page of the website?
- What is the single most important thing that they need to know?
- What is the second most important thing that they need to know?
- What action do we want then to take now?
These simple questions allow us to maintain a laser-like focus for designing every page on the website. Most often we find that websites are trying to do way too much, because it was never made clear exactly what the primary function of each page is. If you know that purchasing a product is the most import reason for a page, you design one way. If you want people to fill in a form or make a phone call, you design another way. If you want to educate and inform people, you design in a third way. This is why we find "plug and play" websites to frequently be ineffective as they cannot be designed for specific actions and be used by everyone.
"Most often we find websites are trying to do way too much"
Creating a Responsive Website Design
Today, most of our clients are seeing more than 50% of their traffic come from mobile phones and tablets. This is an incredible change from just a few years ago, and the trend towards mobile is only increasing as phones have become larger, faster, and more web friendly. This mobile movement has created a situation where web designs now need to work effectively on everything from the smallest smartphones to the largest desktop computers. No longer can you ignore mobile devices and just design for computers. Today, we develop what are called "responsive" website designs. Simply, this means that the designs will change and adapt to the specific device by changing the layouts, scaling type and images, and even displaying different content in order to create a unique experience for each device.
At SHAW we approach our responsive websites as “mobile first”. We chose to start with the mobile device since you have to be ruthlessly efficient in regards to the design. There is so little screen real estate that you have to review every element and ask yourself is it absolutely necessary in order to achieve the website's objective. As the screen real estate grows from phone to tablet to desktop, the amount of information presented can grow as well, and provide the user with the best experience possible.
Developing Quality Content for your Website
Having to create quality content for your website is simply a requirement of doing business online today. The need for content to generate online visibility has never been higher. Whether it is blogging, writing white papers, posting to social media, email marketing, producing videos, you name it, it all puts a tremendous strain on your organization to create. That is why we have a team of copywriters, photographers, illustrators, and videographers available to help you develop a continuous stream of engaging content for your audience.
Managing Your Website Content
So now you have all this content to put on the website, how do you manage it? Our clients want to be able to easily add new pages to their website and not live with the fear of screwing something up or worse, taking the site down. Maintaining your own site content should be an easy and enjoyable experience. That is why, at SHAW, we have been developing websites that have content management systems design specifically for your workflow. What this means is, we design a backend interface for you that is simple, clean, and safe for editing your content specifically. It doesn’t have any features you don’t need, and is only built for managing your content.
Plus we can customize the features available to each user that has access to your website. No more worrying about an intern messing up the homepage when she was simply trying to add copy to the blog page!
Website Support & Maintenance
Launching a website is only the beginning. We know that you are busy running your own business, and don’t want to be bothered with all the details of website maintenance and support. That is why we take care of website support and maintenance for you. It is part of our regular website design services. We run regular diagnostics and reports looking for issues before they arise. Support and maintenance services include:
- Updating server software
- Updating the xml site maps
- Monitoring server performance
- Backing up site and database
- Scanning for error conditions