January 1, 2016—As an agency, you often do a lot of things that you don’t “officially” talk a lot about. You do them and you do them well. Over time, maybe you’ll eventually stop doing them to focus on other things, or maybe you’ll decide to take it to the top of a mountain and proudly show the world like so …
For us this has always been website design and development—a solution we haven’t officially—and by officially I mean anywhere on our website or communication channels—talked a lot about. Now, however, we’ve climbed to the top of the mountain and we’re ready to show the world.
Here’s what you need to know about our approach, our capabilities and where we stand among other Pittsburgh website design firms.
Our Full Picture View
We’ve found that the most successful organizations in the world are doing a lot of things right. If you boil it down, however, there are five key areas to their success. These five key areas make up what we call the Full Picture.
Here are the five things that contribute to their outrageous success:
- They Understand Their Ideal Customers
- They’ve Built Compelling Brands
- They’ve Established Digital Destinations (websites)
- They’ve Researched Fully Integrated Marketing Communications Strategies
- They’re Getting the Word Out
Websites Are a Key Part of the Full Picture
Your company needs an incredible digital destination (website). In today’s day and age it’s not negotiable.
You’ll find that a website is key to just about any communications tactic you’ll put in place, central to just about any strategy you center yourselves on and that it’s vital for your overall brand identity.
One of the smartest marketing moves we ever made was by redesigning our website from a hollow one-page site into a full-on digital destination. By creating a place where visitors want to kick their shoes off and stay away, we’ve been able to fully communicate our story 24/7 (whenever someone wanted to explore us) and generate qualified leads.
Our Website Design Approach
How a Pittsburgh website design firm approaches a project should concern you. It should be something you press into, ask a lot about and understand fully before moving forward.
“Free-flowing” website projects are never a happy ending. In fact a bad approach can often look a lot like this:
Quality, on-the-mark websites come from proven processes. We’ve utilized and proven our approach over our projects:
- Discovery. Understanding your goals, who the site is being built for and the big picture.
- Mock Ups. Capturing a visual direction before putting any code in place. Before we even an ounce of development, we make sure the mock ups encapsulate what you’re looking for.
- Development. Where the rubber meets the road and the project gains digital life.
- Approval and Launch. Final approval and doing all the necessary activities to bring a site properly live.
Website Design and Development Values Are Important
A lot of people get caught talking about buzzwords and technology. One thing that’s important, however, is to communicate the values behind the people creating the digital destination.
Website Designers Don’t Behave the Same Way
When it comes to website designers, they don’t all behave the same way or necessarily believe the same things. The title of “website designer/developer” is very loose and can fluctuate a lot on an individual-by-individual basis. The major differences occur in:
- How they develop code
- What their values are (time, speed, quality, etc.)
- What they know about SEO and proper structuring
- What they know about carefully handling relaunches, constructions and redirects
There’s a lot to consider when a website is at stake. The site doesn’t only have to look and work well, it has to be easy for the end user to utilize.
Your SEO Fate is at Stake
6 Common (and darn harmful) Website Redesign Mistakes
But there’s an entire level to be considered—the search-engine-optimization angle. There are far too many things you can do wrong when either developing a website from the ground up or redesigning it.
Redesigning is a common place where website designers can really screw things up for you. Some of it is that they’re just naive, but others just do it to cut corners.
Here are a couple of common mistakes that get made during a redesign:
- URLs get changed without setting up 301 redirects. Let’s say your about page changes from yoursite.com/about-us to yoursite.com/about. You have to manually set up a redirect to show search engines to the right place and automatically send visitors to the right place. Failing to set up these redirects is a big mistake. If you don’t, you’re losing all of the SEO juice of those links and are filling the internet with broken links.
- Sometimes a No-Follow/No-Index code is put on a website during construction. Sometimes it never comes down, even when the website is launched. It’s a smart move to discourage search engines while the website is being overhauled. Sometimes, however, those discourage notices never get taken down. The long-term effects of this are pretty wretched on the SEO health of the destination.
Our Website Design and Development Values
- Visual power. At the end of the day, it has to look brand consistent and it has to make you look good. It goes beyond that, however. A website also has to encourage action at every corner—from getting people to take the next step to getting people to buy something.
- Device responsiveness. Your website has to transform per platform, whether mobile, tablet or desktop. Beyond that, it has to be compelling and easy to use on each.
- SEO. The structures have to be established in such a way that it’s easy to build SEO power when the website gets populated. This is structuring, taking care of any 301 redirects and Google activities.
- Easy to use. If the end-user (you) can’t use it, then really what’s the point? We’re not building websites for our own tinkering—we’re building them for you. When our job is done, we want your’s to be easy.
Some Work Samples
13 Traits to Look for in a Pittsburgh Website Design Company
Naturally, you’ll probably want to see some work samples to get a taste of what we’ve done and can do.
Here’s a taste of a few recent projects:
And of course, the ever-evolving sample is our website and some of the functionality we’re experimenting with here on an ever-going basis: