Best Web Practices
The ‘perfect’ website (probably) doesn’t exist, but through a thoughtful process of design and the implementation of best-practices for the web, your website can have a powerful impact on your business, whatever the size. Design Consultation Perhaps the most important step in the process of creating a website, the design consultation is the opportunity to surface ideas. By understanding the purpose you have for your website, it is then possible to build your web presence to reflect both your business and your company culture.
Design recommendations are based on the discoveries made in the design consultation phase. Your needs and creative ideas are carefully taken into account and a costed overall recommendation is provided for your project.
Website Creation the nuts and bolts (code) of your website are then created, using current best-practices with adherence to web standards. Attention given to the technical details will make your website more visible to search engines and more easily updated in the future.
Review/Revise Throughout the project, your website goes through a process of review and revision. Often improvements are identified during the design process and are incorporated into the final design. You will be able to see the progress on your website as each element is ‘designed and refined’!
Launch The final part of creating your website is to ‘launch’ it! VK Media offers web hosting and domain name registration to get you started and will help you keep things up–to–date as you move forward.
How Much Will It Cost?
The true answer to this question is ‘As much as you are willing to spend’. Not very helpful, but true.
When talking price, a website is very similar to buying a car. The cost depends on the make and model and the features you select. Choices for a website can include the platform that it is built on, the functionality that you want/need and the extent of the content that your site will contain.
Read more on this page about some of the different variables that affect cost or skip right to the money part on our Services page.
‘Platform’ refers to the kind of underlying structure or back-end that is used to create the website. Some require a lot of technical knowledge about HTML and CSS while others have a very user-friendly back-end that allows non-technical owners to edit their site to some degree.
In general, it is less costly to build a static HTML website, especially if you use a template for the design portion. However, it can be more costly over the long haul, depending on how often the site needs to be updated since it will likely require the help of a professional.
CMS (content management systems) can require more of an initial investment, but they allow the owner to make changes on their own. The site might still need some professional tweaking now and again, but for the most part, owners are able to quickly learn how to do the most common tasks of updating.
There are different kinds of CMS on the market. Some are proprietary — usually when specialized for a specific industry — and require an ongoing monthly fee. These types of sites can have a low start-up cost, but owners should be aware of the drawbacks, which include the never-ending fee and the inability to move the site to a different server without losing all of the content or search engine juice that has been built up over time.
Open source CMS platforms include Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress. These can be installed on many different hosting providers and have the benefit of being transferable, should the need arise. Open source solutions tend to be very responsive to the market and are able to incorporate new technologies and ‘cool things’ quickly. For example, when social integration became the next big thing, sites using open source platforms had integration widgets more quickly and in more variety than proprietary platforms.
We currently build custom HTML sites, HTML sites from templates, WordPress sites with customized themes and custom WordPress sites.
Functionality refers to the way that things work on a website. Every time something responds to a click or a tap, it is functioning and requires something a little special to make that happen. Some things are very simple to create functionality for — linking text, for example — while others, such as forms and photo galleries, take added expertise.
As you can imagine, it is more time-consuming to create a website with 20 pages than with just one or two, so the amount of content the site will have is a factor in determining the cost. Another variable is the type of content; a site with many images (in a photo gallery, for example) will take longer and be more costly. Clients can save money by doing some of the work themselves, either by properly preparing images for use on the website (size, resolution) or by installing some of the content themselves. We can help you decide what will work best in your situation.
When you first decide to create a website, it is good to draw up a site map. This just means writing down what you think the main pages will be (i.e. Home, About Us, Contact Us, etc) and then briefly describing what content will go on each page. Once you have a sitemap developed, it is easier to know if you have a spot for all the different types of content that you want on your site. Having a site map can help you break the project down into bite-sized pieces that are easier to finish up and get checked off the list.
As you develop your content, keep in mind that search engines really like content. In fact, they like to see lots of relevant, unique content on your site. If showing up in search engine results is important to you, then you need to be prepared to develop content.
Your content could include text, photos, videos, blogs, and social postings (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Yes, it can be time-consuming to create, but content pays off in the long-run as long as you keep it relevant to your brand and focused on drawing the client closer to your desired end result (buying a product, contact you for services, engaging with your Facebook page, etc.)
We can help you create content that is customer-focused and optimized for search engines (SEO), using best- practices and keyword research to guide the process.
Choices, Choices, Choices — Custom Design or a Template?
When cost is one of the biggest factors in the website project, one of the most important decisions will be whether to have the site custom-designed or to use a template (which can be customized with colors and graphics).
A custom design calls for more of an initial investment but allows you full control at the outset over layout and graphics. A custom website can be streamlined to include only what you want, where you want it. If having a unique look for your site is important, a custom design is a way to go.
Using a professionally pre-made template is a great option to save a bit on the cost and still end up with a great-looking website. Not all templates are created equally and we can help you choose and customize one that will give you a great looking website and be technically elegant as well.