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Mulligan Management Group, LLC

Part 6: How to Develop a Website

After long consideration, or perhaps due to reading parts 1-5 of this blog series, you’ve finally concluded that it is time to establish a web presence for your business or update that website that is not effectively serving your business goals.

Now what?

First, take this moment in. It is progress to recognize that change is needed. It’s the first step in achieving your goal. You’ve made the first decision, now it’s time to consider what comes next.

There are two paths forward. Jumping in and creating a website on your own or hiring a web design specialist to aid you in the process.  Whichever path you choose, the following information outlining our website building philosophy and process at Mulligan Management Group will help you navigate your way.

Key Steps in Web Design & Implementation

As with any complex project, having a process helps ensure success. Designing and building a website is no different. How well your final website accomplishes your business goals will depend on how well you, or the professional you hire, executes these key steps.

1) Establish Business Goals and Objectives for Your Website

This is the essential starting point of web design and should not be skipped or glazed over. It is the first step in our process at Mulligan Management Group. We sit down with our clients for a free initial consult where we discuss what you need your website to do for your business. Do you need a simple site that delivers basic information to your customer or do you need a site with added functionality, like lead generation? See part one of this blog series for a deeper discussion of Why you need a website.

2) Plan Web Architecture and Web Design

Once we’ve nailed down what information and functionality your website will need, now we can consider what type of architecture will best suite these needs. This is the design phase. At Mulligan Management group this is a collaborative phase where our web designer will work with you to walk through the various elements that need to be considered, including (but not limited to):

  • How many pages your website will need based on your business objectives and users’ needs
  • Where should content reside on the site (what content will go where).
  • Determining the “Call to Action”
  • Website aesthetics such as color scheme, fonts, etc.

We believe this is the most critical phase of web development, so we take our time to get it right. The wireframe that we create at this stage will become the backbone of your site. It is easy at this point to make changes and alter the architecture of the site if need dictates. So, we encourage our clients to engage and consider any additional needs, now or soon arising, as it is much more time consuming and costly to make these changes later in the process.

Check out Part 3 of this blog series to see other elements of web design that you will want to consider during this phase of the development process.

3) Choose the Best Web Platform for Your Needs

Once the overall architecture of the site has been determined, it’s time to select where the website will reside – part 4 of this 6-part series. Things to consider in this phase include:

  • Complexity of the website
  • Who will maintain the site (webmaster)
  • Technological skill set of the future webmaster

Our web designers at Mulligan Management Group base this decision on client need rather than their own personal preference. For simple websites, platforms such as Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace are good options as they are cost effective, easy to use, and easy to maintain. This is especially true for users that hope to take on future web maintenance themselves.

Other, more advanced, websites are best constructed on platforms such as WordPress, which offers greater functionality than the more basic platforms. With added functionality comes greater complexity and so you’ll want to consider the skill set the person charged with this task, or hire a professional like Mulligan Management Group to do it for you.

4) Populate Your New Website with SEO Content

A website is ultimately only as good as its content. So, once the structure is built, it’s time to fill it with quality content that will drive traffic. In other words, create web pages that can be searched or served up during a search. This step is critical which is why we work with our clients at this stage to help them choose existing content they might already have that fits the bill. Otherwise, we’ll create SEO-optimized content for them.

For our clients working through a website redesign we help them port over from their old site any content that makes sense. Some web development companies port over all content in a website redesign. While this is easier to implement, it can be counterproductive. Some content may be outdated and no longer useful to web visitors at best or rely on dead technologies (such as Adobe Flash) at worst. This will serve only to frustrate visitors to the site and possibly send them searching for another, “friendlier” site…perhaps that of your competitor.

Part 5 of this series highlights 5 content indicators that your site is out of date. Take a moment to look back to ensure that the content being used to populate your new site does does not fall into any of these traps!

5) Test New Website

Nothing is more frustrating to a website visitor than:

  • Broken Links
  • Faulty Forms
  • Inactive Buttons
  • Unused or Misdirected Navigation Elements

That’s why the final step in any web development project is to check that all the functionality that was built into the site is actively working. We will also make sure that any URL redirects from an older site (in the case of web redesigns), are working properly.

6) Add Analytics to the Website

The final step in any web design project is adding Google Analytics so that you can track the effectiveness of the site that you have designed and implemented. But remember, don’t just add the analytics…USE THEM! Make it a point to look at the analytics on a routine basis so that you can truly measure the impact of your site. If you don’t have the time or inclination to take on this task, web professionals such as Mulligan Management Group offer services to assist you.

Moving Forward 

Website Maintenance 

Wouldn’t it be awesome if building a website was a one-and-done proposition? We agree, that would be convenient. But a website should never be static; it should be a “living thing.” As such, websites require regular maintenance to stay healthy.

You can choose to take on web maintenance yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. At Mulligan Management Group we offer an hour of free training for those who opt to maintain their new website themselves or we offer Maintenance Packages for those clients who’d prefer their new website be managed professionally.

Scheduled Web Audits  (A Final Consideration)

Whew! That was a process, but well worth the effort! But now is not the time to rest on your laurels. Website functionality, technology, platforms, trends in web design and aesthetics, as well as user expectations will continue to change. You need to plan for that.

The best way to make sure that your website stays current in all these areas is to set up recurring web audits. Ideally, these would be bi-annually, but our minimum recommendation is to conduct a complete audit of your website once a year. It’s important that such audits be done by someone knowledgeable in web design, including current technologies and trends. If that is not your expertise, we recommend you hire a professional like Mulligan Management Group. I for one, am not one who tries to fix her own car.

Topics Covered in Previous Blog Posts in Our Six Part Series on Websites

In part 1 of this series we demonstrated the importance of doing a deep-dive consideration of exactly WHY your business needs a website, before simply throwing a site together.

Part 2 focused on the who of website construction, gearing your website for the needs of your audience.

Part 3 continued with “the what.” What must your website include, or not include, based on current technologies and preferences to be considered a vibrant, living website.

Part 4 looked at where your website should reside in a discussion of the various options available for web hosting.

Part 5 gave tips on determining When You Should Consider Developing or Updating a business website.

Are you Ready for Your Mulligan? 

If you find it makes sense for your business to partner with a content marketing professional, our team at Mulligan Management Group will welcome the chance to sit down with you and discuss your needs. Visit our website www.mulliganmanagementgroup.com, email us at info@mulliganmanagement.com, or call De-de at 330-472-7673.

Mulligan Management Group  www.mulliganmanagementgroup.com  is a digital marketing agency located in Hudson, Ohio. Our team of professionals helps our clients build their internet presence and expand their authority online.

Our services range from website design and development to professional content creation, to social media strategies and implementation. We also offer to consult in all functional areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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