I happen, from time to time, to receive requests via email or sent via the contact form from the web project of my company requesting information which, to tell the truth, leave me perplexed:
- messages such as “website creation”
- “website quote”
- even better “business software”.
The perplexity arises from the fact that I struggle to understand if the few words expressed in these cases (on average 4 or 5) are an invitation to be contacted to amicably investigate doubts and receive proposals for solutions, products and services or a symptom of a hermetic character or still fear and distrust in asking for information.
A little bad. To remove the task, I write down a series of elements that generally identify the procedure I adopt in the development of a web project , in order to direct all the somewhat abstract requests to this article:
First contact with the customer
I believe this phase is always fundamental for the start of the development of a project but also simply for the realization of a commercial proposal. Through a meeting:
- whether direct or through a Skype Call,
- the comparison is simpler and more immediate,
- in order to identify the real needs of the customer and package a tailor-made product.
Very often it happens that the ideas are confused as well as the future projection of the activity to be created.
Is a website sufficient or is a blog preferable ?
Do I need an extended e-commerce service or a purchase module to be installed on a website?
Is it preferable to request a dynamic site or a real web based software ?
Better an offline service or a cloud service ?
These are just some of the questions that, faced directly, can avoid easy evaluation errors that can derive from a telephone interview or in any case carried out in a superficial way.
Evaluation of the target
Who is the web project to be developed for? Depending on the recipients of the website and therefore the users of your product or service, the evaluation of the strategies and above all of the methods of execution may vary. Age group, gender, cultural level, standard of living, habits are therefore valuable information to be able to achieve the goal and create a truly tailor-made product.
A web project aimed at a young audience must be able to count on a graphic impact, color range, technical procedures and a style of language that are very different from a product designed for a mature audience. If aimed at professionals, it could perform specific functions through specially designed dynamic modules. If institutional, it will likely have a more full-bodied navigation tree and a more sober tone in graphics and language.
Processing of the customized graphic project and preview
Only after having understood the real needs of the client can we move on to the creation of a graphic preview. Of course I am talking about a rough preview to share, discuss and improve together with the customer in all aspects where there is a need to make customizations.
Different speech is for the design of web software (web based applications) which, unlike the more purely graphic products, requires a very thorough analysis of all the functions and the drafting of a complete and detailed flow chart.
Content collection and integration with archive photos
Quality photos are not always available for the creation and graphic population of a site or blog; not all are born photographers. Every single image provided can be reviewed and improved by the graphic department, as far as possible and the potential of the material itself. The possibility of using general photos available on the paid network can represent a temporary or definitive solution to any gaps that cannot be filled in the estimated time and costs (a photographic campaign can have variable costs).
The acquisition of photographic material in large web shopping platforms, where there are no specific needs, provides the guarantee that copyrights are protected (using images retrieved from search engines and / or wiki sites is not always advisable) and avoids an excessive waste of resources, even if in fact the exclusivity on the use of the same is not foreseen or is, otherwise, in any case expensive.
Responsive template development and dynamic modules
The next step is the creation of the template and any specific dynamic modules, if required. Personally, for web project I elaborate the structures that will host the contents through an internally created CMS, i.e. proprietary, and not using third party products available on the net.
The reason? Very simple: the ability to operate at 360 degrees within a product represents an added value in terms of security (any bugs can be solved immediately, without necessarily having to wait for updates from third parties) , assistance (any need of the customer can be cured and resolved internally and made available for other potential customers) and modularity (a product made directly, not resold or simply installed, by the company can be updated and added highly customized specific functions and modules) .
Any project is currently carried out with real responsive design, the result of careful and professional work. Too often we come across products that, on different supports, present various technical problems that do not give a satisfactory result for me. This is not necessarily a sign of lack of professionalism but it is a fairly typical problem of those who buy ready-made templates to be installed on popular platforms.
Study of the navigation tree
The best approach to web project development is one that allows immediate, or at least faster, access to the most relevant content. The information that is intended to be provided to users must be able to be on display and reachable in a few clicks. The first intent is and must be to satisfy the needs and curiosity of users, often questioning the customer’s preferences.
Creating simple (hierarchically not too extensive) , rational and quick navigation trees is a challenge not to be underestimated, also in terms of indexing on search engines, aimed at improving users’ browsing experience as much as possible.
Web page processing, eye-catching graphics and weight
Pages tailored to the content, studied in form and presentation to be:
- entice the user to consult
I like to think that each page tells a story and, as such. Can represent an object in some way complete and exhaustive. For some time we have been discussing the strategic length of a web page in order to obtain the best yield in terms of indexing. What to choose between bare pages and overflowing pages? It will be trivial but my answer is to create balanced pages.
A page is balanced when its contents satisfy what is proposed in the title of the same. If this is done, I don’t think it makes much sense to think about length and characters. Instead, what I try to take care of is the weight, trying to make the most of the presentation of the contents with the lowest possible expenditure of traffic. Benefiting users who do not have high-performance networks or high internet traffic. Better a page full of content? Yes, as long as it loads quickly.
Review and optimization of web project texts
At the end of the exhibition it is advisable to check the texts presented in the pages. What do you need to pay attention to in particular? Personally, I turn my attention to the contents inserted, in order to avoid pages:
- that have an excess of duplicate content , albeit from an original initial source (especially harmful for indexing) ;
- that show grammatical and spelling errors (it’s not nice to have a “dirty” or run-down window) ;
- too poor in information
- does it make sense to have a container if you don’t know what to fill it with? ;
- that have an excess of content in too complex hierarchies (how many levels are tolerated by a user during navigation?) .
In this way I assure users of well-designed resources. Correct in form and usable in the best way even on smaller supports such as smartphones.
First configuration for search engines (tags, microdata, w3c)
Once completed, the site must be put to the test! Well, you have to make sure that all the operations related to the “behind the scenes” of the web project have been carried out. Where users do not arrive easily, but the transit area of the search engines.
Then the verification on the correct insertion of:
- well-calibrated keywords,
- title and description parameters (fundamental for correct indexing and for a better user-side performance)
- insertion of any microdata is started .
Last but not least, the verification of any errors shown through a W3C analysis. The reporting of the site to the most popular search engines.
Preparation of the administration panel
If the customer needs a direct management of the contents of his site. For an instant insertion of information such as news and events.. Or simply for a constant update disconnected from the general assistance service, it is possible to activate an administration panel.
Through this tool, specially designed to be used by those who do not have programming knowledge. It is possible to intervene on all sensitive parts of the site by means of a simple authenticated access that can be carried out from any station with an internet connection.
In special cases, such as the activation of extraordinary services and customized dynamic modules. The administration panel can be expanded and enhanced to make the customer’s degree of freedom as wide as possible.
Of course, supervision of the correct use of the administration panel is always desirable. Especially for graphic or more specifically technical interventions.
Activation of services
Is it better a low-cost or professional hosting ? Most of the time, saving on this type of service corresponds to having a shared server available with problems of discontinuity and slowness . If our intent is to “experiment” a first experience on the web. No one forbids us to limit our expenses but if we aim to create a professional website then there is not much to discuss.
Continuity and reliability are the keywords to consolidate your business, along with speed and efficiency. It is a bit like being in city traffic. Who among us does not rail against the slow motorist. The waste of time in the columns of cars, the congested roads?
Whoever accesses your website, of whatever size it is. Will immediately notice slow loading of the pages, down periods and similar inefficiencies. The same search engines evaluate, in the indexing process. Your site also in terms of performance and efficiency (albeit alongside many other parameters).
Personally, I use servers entirely dedicated to my business, both for the web service and for the management of customer e-mails, managed internally and with traffic and bandwidth always above the actual needs.
Assistance: yes, even by phone!
In the era of call centers, the direct relationship with the customer is a value that guarantees long-term loyalty. Who hasn’t found himself bumping his head against a wall in time of need at least once? Personally, I believe that the attention paid to the customer day by day is one of the strengths that a company cannot fail to take into consideration.
An attentive and helpful approach increases customer satisfaction and feeds word of mouth:
- what we do will certainly come back just as positively.
That’s all for now. If you found this article useful, I invite you to share it or link it. For information or suggestions, you can contact me at the email address you find next to my photo.