Having a credible website is a crucial element of any firm’s marketing strategy. Ensuring an online representation of your business, to get noticed and provide customers and potential customers with information about your company is key.
Website designer and owner of Outlane-based Media29, James Boothroyd, provides his advice on how to re-develop and design your company’s website.
Responsiveness and mobile/tablet optimisation:
Google and other search engines will now penalise websites which aren’t responsive which will affect where you rank when people are searching for your services. Furthermore, with the amount of mobile users increasing, it has never been more important to ensure your future customers can easily access vital information about you on the go.
I only work with newly coded themes which are all responsive. This means they render differently on all types of devices as per their view port size (the user’s visible area of a web page). i.e. the page will look suited to the device, whether on a mobile screen, tablet or a desktop screen.
Technically, the way the code renders the page is by manoeuvring blocks of data to fit the screen instead of having to zoom in and out and move the page about. All you really need to know is that your website visitors will be able to view your site until their heart’s content, with no frustrating zooming in and out to view content.
It is important to measure how your site is working for you and there are fantastic free tools to utilise to help you assess a return on investment.
If it is not already installed, when we redevelop a website, we will install tracking software on the website which links to a Google Analytics account and provide access to these statistics via a Gmail email address.
You will then be able to log in and take a look at how your website is performing.
At Media29 we work within WordPress sites. WordPress is a database driven content management system (CMS) and so there are a number of processes to be made and more resources to be loaded which can load slower than a static HTML/CSS website.
But fear not, in order to help speed loading time up we recommend several ways: firstly, via the hosting platform; most websites are hosted on shared hosting; this is cheaper but not as fast as a virtual private server (VPS) or a dedicated server.
The benefit of shared hosting is that it tends to be around the £65.00 per year mark whilst a VPS or dedicated can run in to the hundreds of pounds per month.
If a VPS or dedicated server is out of your budget, then we can use a caching plugin. This creates a compressed version of the site, which is loaded a lot faster than the main site. It also includes a GZIP which again helps to compress the site and load faster. Both will again be appreciated by a search engine’s algorithm too.
Social links and feeds
With the rise of social media, we recommend your social media links are included on your new website. We use a Twitter feed plugin which styles the feed much nicer than Twitter’s default widget and integrates with the website seamlessly.
We use a Twitter account in order to create an application program interface (API) which ‘talks’ to the website to bring in the feed.
This is currently only available for Twitter. However, all other social media platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ will have a presence and hyperlink to the designated account/page on your website.
I recommend Mail Chimp as a useful, free, tool for managing your electronic mailing lists and generating email campaigns.
We can therefore install a plugin which uses an API to connect to your Mailchimp account to collect and store visitor’s email addresses in to a specific Mailchimp list to increase your database.
You can therefore build new email contacts into a targeted list, without doing a thing!
WordPress is one of the world’s biggest blogging platforms and the functionality is very important in your website and again, to aid your search ranking
Each theme styles the posts differently but all similarly in terms of layout and functionality. You will be able to log in to the administration side yourself and manage the blog, updating new news content which is ideal to share across your social media platforms to drive users to read full articles on your website.
Once the website is up and running it is imperative, from a security point, that the website is kept up to date and maintained, including updates of the WordPress core as well as plugins and templates.
Keeping these up to date will ensure that the website is at its most secure as WordPress and other CMS’s are targeted by ‘bots’ trying to breach the site to install malicious scripts.
I recommend installing a back-up software which takes a weekly backup of both the FTP and the database and stores it offline.
We’ll install a couple of security plugins which attempt to block out the bots attacking the website and update the necessary software when building the site.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO):
Finally, to ensure your website provides your business with maximum visibility, I suggest installing an SEO plugin on the site which you are able to utilize to achieve greater ranking in search engines such as Google. I often advise, providing a page title as well as a page description (also known as Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions) for each page.
As mentioned in the above, we will install Google Analytics tracking software and we will also submit your website to Google and Bing via their respective Webmaster tools which we have accounts for both platforms.
Think redeveloping your website costs the earth? Media29 build websites from just £700! And, why not team up with MacComms to create compelling content for you throughout the site and manage the process seamlessly?