Your website will determine how well you will thrive in a post-COVID19 world. Let’s face it, how we do business now has changed a lot through this pandemic. We can no longer grow without moving to digital platforms. That is a reality many business owners like you just have to accept. But where do you start? And why the fuss over websites?
Websites have been seen as “important” to modern businesses for a long time but it was not until 2020 that it has become the very core of any brand’s online presence. With the adoption of eCommerce, food delivery and the global market’s inclination towards online transactions, websites are now more than just a PR-branding tool but most importantly a transactional portal for any business.
This changing role of websites compelled us to share BoomNow’s process for web development. Many make webpages casually with little thought on the bigger, strategic picture. We have followed this web build process faithfully because we understand that it’s not enough to put up virtual pages on domains. There is more to it than that. We want to build websites that encapsulate the business it is made for, allowing for better traﬃc and conversions.
Web client discovery
We want to know everything about our clients – what they do and their oﬀers, business direction and goals, short and long term plans. On top of that, we want to know more about their digital strategy and how they plan to roll out their online marketing – we consider this an integral part of web development.
Part of our process is to let them ﬁnish a know your client (KYC) document and we follow that up with an online session where we ask more questions and clarify details based on their KYC responses.
This allows us to really understand how the website needs to be built for them. This process also gives us insights on how we can spruce up existing web pages and update them to the current direction of the business. We put emphasis on this part as this is where the foundation of the website is set. We seek to answer questions like:
- What sections will be in the homepage?
- What are the key call to action (CTA) buttons
- How will user journey be designed?
- What are the important functions integrated in the website?
- What is the ideal transaction ﬂow in the website?
By being very clear with these from the very beginning, the website can be maximised for whatever the client wants to achieve now and in the future. It also allows for a better understanding of function, integrations, aesthetics, and features.
Wireframing: how it works
User Experience design or UX Design is building the structural framework of the website. It is the bare bone structure that will be the very foundation of how users will eventually interact with the website. At this stage we dwell more on the ﬂow of the buttons and pages. Often times we add initial copywriting in this stage for clients to better imagine the psychological triggers of the website and how it pushes people to do things while in inside the site.
Wireframing allows us to “play” with the ﬂow and let clients visualize what it will be like for their prospective customers as they go through the web pages. It is here that things are brainstormed, changed, moved, and then moved again to really ﬁt right into how the overall experience should be. The client need to sign on the ﬁnal wireframe before the next process is started.
Wireframing is faster to change with very minimal costs compared to making these changes when the website design is already applied or worst, when it is already coded. However it is important that after sign-oﬀ, the client does not to make huge ﬂow changes on the website as it goes into User Interface (UI) design.
Dressing it all up
With the experiential part of the website set, it is time for the aesthetics to be applied. At this point, web design is done where the pages are dressed and “prettiﬁed”. We call this stage UI Design. Often times we provide branding consultation for clients here as well, especially for businesses that have not revisited their branding for a long time. This will allow for some needed updating so the website will have a more uniﬁed, cohesive look.
Websites are now virtual store fronts and it is important that it looks the part. The overall brand presentation must be unmistakable and ﬂows seamlessly from the web pages to social media accounts and even external but brand-related pages. Again, the key here is the quality of the experience of web visitors. There must be harmony, alignment, and consistency on how things look.
BoomNow presents a mock-up for clients to go through. Brand colors are applied, placeholders have mock images/videos/copy on it, logos are also applied and the overall look for the website is set. Adjustments here will most likely be limited to design issues but the site map and overall ﬂow will remain intact.
Content joins the fray
Web content is written as early as in the UX design (wireframe) stage. At BoomNow we sometimes apply copywriting early to capture our vision for the website. Often times these are not ﬁnal wordings but these already set the messaging and tone we want for the pages to convey. We ﬁnd this a good opportunity to brainstorm with clients and get everything “assembled”.
As we prepare to present to the client the mock-up of the website, we ﬁll up all text placeholders set in the UX and UI design. At this stage we want the client to “experience” the website and give them a very clear idea how it would look and feel like as they move through the pages.
We also make sure we have set designs, images, videos and copy ready for pop-up forms, redirection pages, and even automated responses via email. Again, the idea is to make sure the client sees how everything ﬂows.
Web copy has a huge impact on usability and experience. When done right, bounce rates will be lower, page visits will be pushed up and time spent on the website will get longer. These metrics make a website better and may contribute to better conversion numbers.
As soon as the client signs oﬀ on the wireframe (UX Design), mock-up (UI Design) and content, the actual build of the website starts. This stage is one of the most time-consuming so it is often at this stage that we get clearer with the delivery date of the website as the coverage of the work is clearer.
The web build includes integration of APIs and the application of needed automations. Search engine optimization (SEO) actions are also included here. This will make the website rank better in search engines through keyword insertions and application of tags and meta descriptions among other things.
Putting in CMS plug-ins is also part of the coding stage allowing for usability of the website. Content Management System or CMS allows clients to have better control of the website as they have the ability to change content without having to “code” those changes.
Testing and launch
As the build is done, extensive testing and assessment follows. Are all the buttons working? Do they lead to the right pages? Do pop-ups work? Are the content good to go? Are the links not broken? Do the automations work? These tests are done on a local server. At this point we want to check for functionality and all the elements deemed important from the UX and UI designs.
We use multiple QA forms covering diﬀerent parts of the website to make sure that everything is checked and working. Flagged items are reviewed by our team of developers and then ﬁxes are made. We run through these again to make sure that the ﬁxes worked.
Only at this stage that we get the website live over on a server using an FTP software. As the ﬁles are deployed, another round of testing is done to make sure that all the ﬁles are installed right and that the website works perfectly.
Maintenance ad updates
At BoomNow we see the websites we build for clients both as a product and service. But looking at the strategic role of website to one’s business today, we lean more towards websites as a service, therefore, we make it a priority that we are always on top of the website’s performance.
While we deliver a tested, quality-assured webpage, we also understand that so many things can aﬀect its performance and that issues will be inevitable. We are always ready to jump in for any problems and have it ﬁxed as soon as possible.
We also make sure that we update CMS plug-ins as often as needed so that bugs won’t be a problem and the integrity and security of the site is always kept intact.
A website’s role in today’s business environment is bigger than ever. Building it demands a good, tested process that considers the strategic role of websites in growing one’s presence and accessibility online. And looking at how the world changed for the past year, it is just prudent that websites be made better than ever before.