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What is your design process?

We go through different phases depending on the given project and objectives. The design process is usually a subset of a wider design, development and quality assurance process. However, in general we have a standardised design process that looks something like this:

  1. Scope and planning – scoping your requirements based on business and customer needs.
  2. Sketching / wireframes – taking the planning forwards to identify structure and content.
  3. Production / prototype – implementing design and scrutinising it through a couple of layers.
  4. Iteration – we will amend any designs based on feedback (we mostly offer two rounds of iterations here).
  5. Sign-off / go-live – you will sign-off the work once you are happy with it.
  6. Delivery – we will provide final files (if it is print design) or will send the design live (if it is website design).

That’s it! Simple, but also clear and communicative.

Do you specialise in any industries?

No! We specialise in businesses who really, genuinely care about their customer/client experience or who are focused on innovation.

Because of the amount of research we put into each project we take on, we need to work with businesses who are serious about their brand, their difference in their marketplace and their customers’ experiences with them. That requirement then help us to invest our time in striving to achieve growth for a business that we in turn care about ourselves.

Do you use the 3-click navigation rule, or checkout rule?

Frankly, no! We focus on the target customer and aim to achieve best alignment with them.

The 3-click rule is often counter-productive to good user experiences. Such rules are popularised by marketing checklists and actually result in problematic navigation systems. They often result in overburdened navigation systems where the designers / developers have thrown everything into the navigation to ensure that they adhere to any such ‘rules’. Please see this article from the well researched and respected Nielsen Norman Group which explains why the 3-click rule is a ‘myth’.

Instead we strongly advise anyone creating a website to conduct research into who the target users are and to mould the user experience around those customer segments.

We perform strategy workshops prior to most of our branding or website projects where we identify the best user path.

Quality Testing

We go through extensive checklists to make sure the quality assurance process is as watertight as we can make it. Our quality testing covers the following main areas:

  1. Internal design approval – we will oversee any work created by our internal team at a director level and will make sure that our quality stamp is consistent.
  2. Website prototypes – we do extensive checks on all of our prototypes to ensure that any functionality works and we achieve a strong base to work from for the final website design and build.
  3. Website go-live testing – performed prior to; and after launching a website, our go-live checklists are probably some of the most extensive in our industry, having been honed through using WordPress and other content management systems since 2007. As of last count in 2019 we had an 87-point checklist just for website go-live and by the time you read this, that checklist is probably even more.

In spite of the above testing procedures, we cannot guarantee that our work is entirely error free and you will need to test yourselves. However, you can rest assured that we go as far as we possibly can in ensuring a consistently high standard of delivery every time.

We do not publish our go-live checklists (particularly those involving WordPress) as they are our intellectual property and honed from many years in the trenches using these systems.

Use of Templates

If you have chosen to have ‘semi-bespoke’ design services from us, we will use templates to drive the structure and look of the website, adjusting and adapting the templates for your brand. The templates will often be full pages to maximise cost / resource efficiencies and you will need to work within those page structures.

If you have chosen a ‘fully-bespoke’ design service, we will still occasionally use template infrastructure to help us achieve a particular part of a page, design or structure on a website, depending on how much we need to reduce costs for you. In this instance, we will only use ‘partials’ (small sub-elements of a page) when using templates to reduce the workload. For fully bespoke design services we never use full page templates because the content and structure needs to reflect the nature of your business and target customers directly.

How can I generate leads for my business through my website?

This is a large topic and one that covers all sorts of marketing strategies.

There are lots of different methods and strategies that can be used to generate leads and there is no one-size fits all solution. Some kinds of strategies work in certain circumstances that fail in others and it completely depends on what you are looking to achieve, what your brand is and crucially who your target customer is that determines the best approach.

We can discuss a marketing strategy with you and identify the best approach through our strategy workshops that we run separately or integrated in with a website project.

What is web hosting?

Every website is composed of a number of files including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP not to mention the text content and images. All of these files need to be ‘hosted’ somewhere to be delivered to your web browser when you type in a domain name. Web hosting is provided by a computer in a data centre that houses all of the files of your website on a hard drive. Whenever you type in the domain name or web address to a website, that computer ‘serves’ the files to your web browsers.

Hosting is best provided by companies who specialise in this and is normally charged on a monthly or annual basis. Web hosting can cost between £5 per month all the way up to £10,000 per month depending on the size of your website, what it needs to do and how many visitors it gets per day.

What is a domain name?

A domain name is a website address or identification on the internet whereby a user can find a website location. For example: theseedmill.co.uk is the domain name for our company. No one else can have this name whilst it is registered to us. Because we registered theseedmill.co.uk to our business, it is ours for as long as we continue to pay and annual fee to keep it registered in our name.

Every domain name is hosted by a DNS provider (Domain Name Server) and an annual fee will normally apply to keep that domain name running. This is usually inexpensive (varying from £10 to £50 per year) and a lot of businesses like to own numerous domain names related to their business.

Do you provide email hosting?

We are not specialists in email hosting and we encourage you to utilise a good IT provider in order to help you with this.

Due to the variety of email clients and IT setups, we also cannot assist with the setup of email clients and (again) strongly recommend that you receive assistance from an IT company if you need help with this.

Can you help me with my social media?

Yes, we can. We do not write all content for you unless you want us to use our copywriting resources.

We can help you to setup your social media accounts and with your overall strategy based on your business goals and your ideal customer.

We can also help you create a long term strategy for your social media presence.

Do you write content for websites?

We work with professional copywriters in order to achieve a high standard of written content on websites. Of course you can provide us with the content as well, but we encourage you to ensure that your content is of a professional standard, whether your write it yourself or use the services of a copywriter.

Do you provide WordPress training?

Yes, we can provide training for your website content management system and strategy workshops to help you build a plan to create an effective online presence.

As standard we offer a limited amount of training as part of any website design and build process, however, we can also provide additional training at an agreed cost.

Do I need to have web hosting to have a website?

Yes, as with a domain name, you cannot have a website without web hosting. As with domain names, we are not a web hosting company, however, we can either work with your existing provider, or we can manage your web hosting for your for you. We offer a number of website care packages where we can manage your website hosting and software for you.

Do I need to have a domain name to have a website?

Yes, you do. Whilst we are not a domain hosting company, we can help you with this to purchase your own domain name, or we can manage one for you as an agreed part of any project.

Do you do eCommerce websites?

Yes, we do. However, any kind of eCommerce website involves a lot of extra work over other types of website. eCommerce carries a number of considerations for a business to have to think about before committing to an action plan to build such a website. We can help you with this, but be prepared to have a budget of over £3,000 if you want to have an eCommerce website on WordPress (which will then allow you to fully own your content).

Please see our web design page for rough costs and functionality that we provide.

What are wireframes and prototypes?

Wireframes. In simple terms, a wireframe is a simplified, black and white version of your website designed to plan out the content of the website, prior to moving forwards with time-expensive design elements. Wireframes are a very important part of a bespoke design process as they reduce the amount of iterations at the design stage. Wireframes are quick to iterate on and to get the content and structure of the website right before moving into design.

Prototypes. Prototypes are mockup websites and follow on from a wireframe or planning process. They can communicate designs and the functionality and features of your website as they will work in the web browser. Interactive prototypes focus on factors such design and navigation as well as information layout & architecture. They are engineered to make sure the website visitor’s experience (user experience or ‘UX’) is optimal.

What is information architecture?

Information architecture describes how the different pages of a website are related to one another. This is normally illustrated visually through a sitemap showing linkages between the various pages and how they site in the website tree or hierarchy.

Why do you always use WordPress?

Well, firstly we don’t always use WordPress! It may be that Drupal, ProcessWire or Webflow are better suited towards your aims. However, WordPress is one of the key content management systems that we use and it is the CMS (content management system) we have specialised in since 2007. We have created plugins and themes for it and as a result we know it very well indeed. We can make a very good judgement as to whether it will be effective in each specific case.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is by far the most popular content management system available and powers over 35% of all websites on the internet. As you can probably imagine that is an install base of millions of websites. WordPress is also open source and as a result is contributed to by tens of thousands of developers all over the world as it grows from strength to strength. It reaches far and wide, allowing us to tap into that strength and collective intelligence in order to arrive at better solutions more cost effectively. WordPress is also driven by a philosophy of ‘democratising the web’ and aims to provide extremely advanced CMS tools which are still extremely simple to use, perfect for most types of websites.

In essence WordPress allows us to develop extremely customisable and flexible websites to modern standards using web development and design best practices. It can help a business scale from a small one person sole trader all the way to a large corporate. All it takes is time and expertise in dealing with the software and a good business idea.

We have been using WordPress since 2007 and have built both plugins and themes for the system. To this day we find it to be the most flexible and yet still user friendly content management system available.

Do I need a content management system?

This completely depends on your requirements on your website, your budget and how often you need to be able to update your website. Generally speaking we don’t tend to deal with websites that are not content managed in some way, largely because most businesses need to be able to add and amend their own content.

What is a content management system (CMS)?

Content management systems (such as WordPress) allow you to amend and adjust the content and images on your website without any technical skills. Depending on your content management system setup, you will be able to add/amend and edit your pages on your website without having to pay web companies such as us to do this for you. In the long run a content management system will save you money (even though your website will inevitably be more expensive to build initially).

Can you integrate my third-party system into my website?

If you ask us to integrate a third-party system, we can do this and we can integrate most systems that have API’s or well-documented integration points. However, we cannot be made responsible for the quality of your third-party system, nor how that platform operates, we will only provide the integration to your website unless otherwise specified.

You will be expected to have researched and understood your system to the best of your knowledge. If you are asking for it to be integrated, it will be understood that you know how it operates and have vetted this system for its quality and impact on your business.

Will my website be available for mobile devices?

Simply, yes, it will. All of the modern websites we build (within the past 2 years) are mobile responsive websites. They use modern responsive web design techniques to ensure that your website displays optimally on iPhone (or smartphones in general), iPad (or tablets in general), desktops and other devices such as interactive TV’s (a growing market).

How much does a website cost?

Generally, we start from £1,800 for smaller websites. However, larger websites can range anywhere from £2,000 all the way up to £40,000+. Like the cost of a car, it all depends on what you want to achieve and the value that you want your website to provide. There are so many factors influencing the cost of a website that unless you know exactly what it is that you need (or more importantly what is it that your target customer needs) we must discuss and research the best approach with you prior to giving a quote or estimate.

A good starting point is for us to book a half-day workshop in with you to determine your target customers and brand strategy. If you can You can always use the questions we ask to simply understand the level of information you will need to know before deciding whether a website project is worth pursuing right now for you at this stage.

See our blog post on website costs which gives some basic estimates on expected costs for varying project sizes.

How long does it take to build a website?

Your average high quality website can take around 4 weeks to build from start to finish. However, this can vary enormously depending on a number of factors such as the size of the project, how much content and imagery you have ready to hand and your expectations of the sort of impact that you want your website to deliver. Again, we can guide you and advise you on all of this. We always aim to provide clear and realistic turnaround times as early as we can in the process.

I don’t know much about websites, how do I go about planning and supporting one?

Don’t worry, we offer website care plans and website strategy workshops to help you both plan and move forward with a website that works for your business. We can advise you on the best approach and the most effective way forward for your particular business and circumstances.