Web design services and deliverables can be overwhelming.
When you are looking for web design services (design agency), you need to know what it is you need.
It may seem easy, but it’s not. This is because a lot of the time web design packages are recommended.
We do not offer web design packages, however.
This is because the last thing you want is a predefined package.
When looking for a new website you may be thinking, do I need a brochure website? An e-commerce website? A WordPress website? A responsive website? And do I need UX and UI design?
If you have any of the above questions, or are in a place to have a web project started, read on.
The Different Types of Website
Brochure websites work to show your customers exactly what your business is about. Brochure websites are a simple website solution that pushes your business online, without any added complication.
Ecommerce websites allow your customers to buy from your business whenever it’s convenient. It’s important that your ecommerce website sells, without creating friction or complications for your visitors.
Specifically for ecommerce, the main options for your website are Woocommerce or Shopify.
There are other ecommerce options available, but there is a reason that these two giants of Ecommerce dwarf all others in terms of existing user base and usability.
Check out our post outlining the key differences between Woocommerce and Shopify for more information.
WordPress is the world’s most popular platform and powers over 15% of the world’s top websites. WordPress allows you to easily update your site, changing content, images, adding blog posts and more.
With the growing popularity of mobile and tablet browsing, it’s important that your website always looks good. Mobile responsive websites adapt to your device, giving your visitors the best website experience.
For any website to be effective, you need to have covered the following steps in the web design services journey.
These steps are:
- Website discovery session
- Marketplace research
- Competitor research/analysis
- Website design and development
- Partnership and relationship development
That final area, Partnership and relationship development, is an area a lot of designers skimp out on, or even miss out.
The partnership we have with our clients here at Canny is the key to the success of our projects.
We like to be in regular contact with the people we work with, just so we’re in the loop and so are you with everything going on.
This allows for a level of flexibility and reactivity that larger or less communications focussed teams simply couldn’t achieve, and is always good for your business.
If you feel like you’re ready to talk about your project, why not fill in our web design brief template to get the ball rolling?
Web design services are very very easy to find. When searching you will be presented with an endless list of web design services.
This is the stage where you might find yourself asking the questions just outlined.
Again, these questions may be: do I need a brochure website? An e-commerce website? A WordPress website? A responsive website? And do I need UX and UI design?
You may need a WordPress website with e-commerce or just a WordPress website. You may also just need a brochure website or even a single landing page site. So, which is it?
In short, you will definitely need a content managed site (WordPress). We use this in all of our sites. You will also need UI and UX design in any type of website. The harder part is deciding the right type of website for your business.
This is where your Website Discover Session comes in.
Website Discovery Session
Your website discovery session is designed to help you and us.
Simply put, they are designed to gain a solid foundation of what’s what.
This means a good understanding is developed of your business, the primary goals and objectives of your website project, what actions you want your visitors to take and more!
The partnership we have with our clients is the key to the success of your projects. Your discovery session gives us a great insight into your business and helps to get that ball rolling.
Firstly, you will answer a questionnaire that will help us gain insight into your project.
At this stage, getting the goals and objectives is to build the solid foundation we need to get your project rolling.
It will also allow us to see your marketplace and competitors that you are facing.
We will also talk about your ideal client and build a customer persona.
Near the end of the website discovery session, we will look over the visual styles.
This will help us identify what is the best type of website will work best for you, and what will not work for you.
As a matter of fact, we have ran discovery sessions in London, Tokyo, Toronto and more. We carry out these sessions both physically and virtually – it’s important that everyone involved in the project is well, involved!
Who Needs a Discovery Session? Everyone.
You just can’t skimp on this stage at all. Without it, you’re doomed. The Discovery Session helps loop everyone in, and makes sure everyone understands the project.
There are two levels to Marketplace Research. It gives you a top-level view of the market that you operate in.
For example: if you were in the business of photography, you’d need a photography website. So, we’d be looking at:
- Photography website and the photography industry in general – we’d ask questions such as: what’s trending? What’s working? Who you’re up against and how do you compare against them?
- The actual geographical area in which you operate or are going to operate – again asking questions such as: what’s popular, what you’re up against and how do you compare against them?
At this stage, it is very important to gain insights to at both an industry (photography in this example) and geographical level.
Once this research has been carried out, it is time to start reaching out to your potential clients/customers. This is when you start to develop insights into customer/client preferences and behaviour (truly understanding your target market).
Who Needs Help with Marketplace Research? SMEs and larger.
Always good to have an idea of the market you’re entering. But a full comprehensive report can probably be reserved for larger companies.
Carrying out a competitor analysis is paramount in the success of your business. It is essential in order for you to grow your business. Some of the elements carried out there include:
- SWOT analysis
- Look into the future
- Competitor inspiration
- Determine your USP
- Use your competition to be competitive
You want to ask yourself:
- Who are your competitors?
- What are they doing well in?
- What are they doing not so good in?
- Do you like how they are?
- What do they offer compared to you?
- Why would your clients choose them over you?
Using a SWOT analysis will be very helpful when looking into your competitors.
It is very easy to compare website (especially photography websites). You can look at how the websites are structured, see the visuals and get a feel of the overall user experience.
Once the comparisons have been carried out you will know what might work and what might not. You will also see current trends, you could even look into future trends and plan ahead to get ahead of the competition.
At this stage, you will learn the direction you want to take and identify what your USP is.
Everyone.From the smallest owner operated businesses, to the corporate giants of the world, you’ve got to know what you’re up against to succeed.
To identify your target audience, and consider how these core audiences use websites, we will build customer personas (sometimes referred to as avatars).
This will give a better idea of how you should build your website, what a typical user journey will look like for your ideal customers, what demographics you should be targeting, and even what sort of language and tone you should use on your site.
These personas help guide the design of your website and can even help you decide which type of website would be most suitable for you and your business.
To get an idea of what sort of thing goes into creating a customer persona, and how in-depth we go with our research, check out our customer persona worksheet.
Web Design Services
The very first step into having a website made is the wireframing. A wireframe will show how elements are laid out on the web page and how the site navigation will work.
The wireframe is free from design and colours. It is there to focus on the layout and navigation only. It is paramount in order to get your website structure just right.
The next step is the mock-up.
Your website mockup will have the layout and navigation from the wireframe, but with your brand colours, logo and content.
It will mimic the real-life version of your website.
From here you can easily make any changes before the website is developed. Once everything is good to go, it can be brought to life with code.
This isn’t the post to talk in-depth about your website’s structure so here’s a post on this very topic.
Your website is your 24/7 online front of your brand. So it’s important that the design and functionality are in line with your business and brand.
Who Needs Help with Website Design and Development? Again, everyone.
The website is the area of your business that most people try and skimp, and end up using some website design software or out of the box web package to build their own.
Don’t do that!
Considering your website is often the first port of call for many of your potential customers, that’s a crazy idea!
Bring in a web design agency to help. Alongside your brand identity, I can’t state how important your website is.
Website Design and Development
Your website is the place where you want to spend most of your business branding and marketing budget.
For your website to work properly, you need to have a solid digital marketing plan. This is because your website is a huge portal for sales and enquiries.
As a matter of fact, when working with a professional agency that focuses on long term relationships you will get a digital marketing plan.
This will be part of your deliverables.
The “plan” you get is part of your website deliverables.
Some of the things you get in a digital marketing plan might include:
- Social media
- Customer reviews and testimonials
- Content strategy
- email marketing/newsletter
Be sure to check out the post above to see what a full digital marketing plan consists of.
We have already mentioned that your website is your brand, but you need to have a solid brand all throughout your business.
We have also stated that you need to have a solid marketing plan in place.
But, you also need your overall brand to work for you. This means you need a brand strategy, this post is not focused on your branding strategy.
The most obvious deliverable is your actual website.
To get a good idea of what you will get, here is what could be included in a typical business website:
- Homepage/landing page
- Contains sections that you will have throughout the website
- About page
- Contact page
- What you do page
- Services page
Each of these pages will have good content that is driven by your digital marketing plan.
It shouldn’t just be any old content just to “fill up the webpage”. It needs to be meaningful and relevant.
UX and UI Design
If you’re looking to build complex web app or software product, then you’ll want to consider in-depth user experience and interaction design. Without consideration, you run the risk of alienating or disappointing customers.
You can only either have a brochure website or an Ecommerce site, but both of these types of websites we design and develop use WordPress and have user experience and user interaction in mind.
One final point. Every website we output is fully responsive. This is always a surprise to us, but we always find poorly designed “responsive” websites.
We see things from horizontal scrolling navigation to elements not even falling in place properly on small screens.
You probably have even noticed this yourself, and it is completely shocking as to how people get away with this nowadays.
This is down to inexperienced people setting up their own websites (using builders).
Check out our work to see some good examples of what can be achieved with good design.
Website Development Services
The actual technical nitty-gritty of web development is obviously a key part of any web project.
Website build and development
This involves taking the sitemap and web design files created earlier, and using a mix of coding languages to bring them to life in the form of an all singing, all dancing, fully fledged website.
Most websites are made up of several key languages. Let’s think of it like a house:
HTML stands for hypertext markup language and is used to construct the building blocks of your page. This is the foundation and main structure of your house.
CSS is the language used to style your website up and getting it looking perfectly on-brand. This is the paint, wallpaper, and carpets you add to your house.
Website Domain Name
Your website domain name is extremely important, it’s seen by customers/clients and search engines. It’s also part of your brand.
We are saying this now and will say it again later, don’t just pick a random name if the one you want is not available, put some thought into it.
In short, your domain name will:
- Improve your marketing and visibility
- Build online and offline credibility
- Get more traffic to your website
- Increase your search engine ranking
This isn’t the post to get into this sort of stuff, so here’s a neat post on online marketing.
Your domain name needs to match your business name, it will be used on:
- Social media
- Business cards
- Search engines
- All URLs (on your website)
You want to make sure you start looking for a domain name as soon as possible!
Who Needs Help with Website Domain Naming? Well, everyone website needs a domain name. It’s important you secure something relevant and meaningful to your brand and the information you provide through your website.
Check out our post on How to Name Your Business Brand if you’re stuck with finding a good domain name.
Canny also offers a website hosting service, once your website is live and operational. You can pickup hosting options for peanuts, but with Canny you know you’re in good hands, and in the hands of people who understand your website back to front.
We’re the ones who built it, after all!
‘Cheap’ or free hosting options often serve slower website times, have unprofessional
looking URLs, adverts from 3rd party providers on your site, and worse.
The web is littered with horror stories about bad hosting, if you care to look for them!
With Canny you’re in safe hands, and can rely on an end to end hosting solution, which manages everything from plugin updates, security, and general functionality to faster loading pages, xml sitemap management and even network reporting.
If you’re part of the marketing department, or a startup founder, it’s more likely than not that you’re short on time.
Using Canny for hosting buys you back all of the time you’d otherwise spend trying to sort out the multitude of technical issues that can crop up at any time.
Our packages start from £50 per month, and save you hours and hours of headaches.
If you’re not hugely technical, or you don’t want to devote all of your time trying to fix server issues or fight cyberattacks, this is a no-brainer.
Other things to consider
There are always additional considerations that fall outside of any obvious remit in projects like these.
At Canny, we cover all bases for you, and often find that something we provide as standard hasn’t even been considered by the client!
Here are some examples of the added value extras you get with Canny.
SSL certificates add a bit of extra security to your website. It gets you that little padlock icon in your URL and lets visitors browse your new site with confidence.
This also has an influence on your ‘findability’, as Google prefers to serve SSL certified websites in their search engine results.
For any Ecommerce or commercial offering site generally, it’s vital to integrate a trusted payment provider so consumers can buy with confidence and trust.
At Canny we tend to use paypal as our go-to on web payment provider, as it is a well established, high profile and secure brand. If you would prefer a different or more flexible payment option on your site we can integrate lots of options, including Stripe payments.
Video and imagery
Integrating video and more dynamic elements to your website can be tricky if you try to go it alone.
At Canny, we consider serving multimedia assets from all angles from day one- if it’s going to effect load speeds, where it should sit on the page from a UX/UI point of view, what is going to be the most impactful, autoplay options etc.
We also offer services to create original video content in partnership with our clients, so you get professional, clean looking video that fits seamlessly into your site.
Partnership and Relationship Development
The partnership we have with our clients is the key to the success of your projects.
It applies to every project we do.
The partnership you build with an agency is priceless. An agency will be a nice little extra to your business. Your go-to when you have problems and your trusted resource partner.
Developing a good relationship with one another will allow your business to grow even more so.
We at Canny focus on long term relationships.
This means that we support you every step of the way, beyond the delivery of the website, to ensure success. Some agencies view website projects as a ‘once it’s done, it’s done’ sort of deal, as they have met the criteria of their contract.
At Canny, we believe sustainable support and partnership is the best way for everyone involved to get exactly what they want out of any project, whether it be content based, design and branding based, or web development based project.
Where can budget be saved when building a website?
Building a website from scratch is a difficult thing to do.
Your website is often the first experience a customer has of you, and so it shouldn’t be skimped on at all.
You can save budget by not having an all singing, all dancing website, but even then you’re presenting yourself with false savings.
You should view your website not as a cost or initial outlay, but as an investment that will pay for itself ten times over the course of your business life cycle. The true answer to the question “where can budget be saved when building a website?” is:
Elsewhere in your advertising or branding budget.
Don’t go cheap on the website, because it will harm you and your profit margins in the long run.
It’s as simple as that.
Hopefully, this blog post has given you a solid idea of what goes into web design services and what you get out of it.
Remember that your business, branding and website all fall into one – your website is part of your brand (not an afterthought) and your brand shows through your business.
You simply need to work with the right agency in order to grant your business the best possible success.