To build and operate a successful website, you need a dedicated team of experienced professionals from a range of disciplines and who understand your business goals.
The team at Cornerstone Web has been developing web-based systems for more than 15 years, and has the expertise to help make your next project a success.
Below, we've outlined the steps we undertake as part of every project we coordinate.
And if we can be of any assistance to your business with your next web-based project, please just let us know - we'd love to help!
Planning and Documentation
Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
Before we even consider getting started with graphical elements or writing a single line of HTML, we need to plan your project with you and then document that plan.
Here are some of the questions we ask:
What is the purpose of the project you're undertaking? Who is your target market? What do you want the website to achieve? Who are your competitors? What makes your business stand apart from your competitors? If you already have a website, what are the best and worst points about the current site? What is your timeframe for starting and completing the project? What is your budget for completing the project? Do you have a corporate style already established? Do you have a company logo? Who will prepare the initial content for the website? Would you like us to hire a professional copywriter for the project? Who will be updating the site to keep it current after the site goes live? Who will be responsible for promoting the website? What features do you want and need on the website? How will you measure the success of your new website?
With your objectives in mind, we will then prepare an estimation for you, outlining how we will complete your project, the functionality we will deliver, the progress and payment milestones along the way, and a delivery date on or before which we will make the completed website available for you to review.
Once you're happy with our proposal, our team swings into motion - we get started using a three-pronged approach: one team working on graphic design, one team working on functionality and (as appropriate) one team working on copywriting.
75% of users admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design.
(Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility)
How your website looks and feels to your visitors is one of the most important considerations for the success of the website.
Our graphic designers are experts in crafting fabulous-looking web pages that make a great first impression - and continue that feeling as the visitor continues to use the website. The designs are easy to read, easy to navigate and easy to see what's important on the page.
The graphic design is prepared with multiple devices in mind (responsive design) so your website can be easily viewed on a full-size PC, a tablet or a smart phone.
Design is usually an iterative process, and we involve you to ensure that the design process is efficient as it can possibly be. Starting with the envisaged structure of the website, our designers will produce wireframes showing where the key components of the page will be located, then they will flesh these out into a design concept. We generally include two overall design concepts in our estimations, and then two subsequent revisions of the concept you like best.
The end result is a design that works to help captivate your website visitors and lead them on to your desired outcomes for them on the site.
Graphic Design Conversion
More Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.
(Google's official blog)
Some estimates suggest that 65% of overall web browsing is done on either a smart phone or a tablet. Whatever the exact number, the important message here is that your website absolutely must be optimised for use on these devices.
In converting your graphic design, we ensure that each of the designs works on all major platforms, in all major browsers, and at all popular device resolutions.
We also make sure that the individual files we produce at this stage of development promote fast loading of each page, focusing on filesize, image quality and cachability.
Integration with a Content Management System
Gone are the days when businesses need to contact their web development company to update their website. Content Management Systems (CMS) are specifically designed to give you the ability to easily add new content and update existing content without the need to understand (let-alone write) a single line of HTML.
Using your newly-converted graphic design, we set up the page structure within your selected CMS, then configure menus, blogs, your online store and other modules as needed to integrate the functionality of the CMS into the look-and-feel of the website design.
As part of this content-population step, we conduct training with your key staff who will be updating the website to ensure that they know how to use the system and also to confirm that the functionality that we've deployed is exactly as it was originally agreed in the proposal/specifications documentation.
Testing, Testing, Testing
Testing is an infinite process of comparing the invisible to the ambiguous in order to avoid the unthinkable happening to the anonymous.
Testing is perhaps one of the most important steps of your entire project.
We need to confirm that everything that we've done to-date works exactly in the way it is supposed to work, that the populated pages now display as they were originally designed to display, and that visitors and staff users alike can intuitively use the website as intended.
We test as we develop, we test as we integrate, we test after we believe we're finished, and then we test again. Then we ask you to test that you're happy that everything works, and then we recommend you enlist the help of some faithful supporters of your business or organisation and ask them to use the website.
Where problems are found, we fix them - and then we test all over again. I think you get the picture...
Once you are happy that the project is ready to be shown to the world, we make the necessary changes to send the website live.
As part of this process, we can put redirects in place so that requests from your old website redirect to the appropriate pages on your new website.
Now is the time to swing the pre-prepared promotion plan into action - to trumpet your new website from the roof-tops, or at least in your regular customer correspondence, email footers, dockets and invoices and the like.
Monitoring and Updating
Once your new website is live, it is important to monitor the website and the behind-the-scene analytics (such as Google Analytics) to see how the website is performing, how search engines are going finding and indexing the content on the new site and to track the progress of the new website according to the criteria set out at the very start of the process.
Similarly, the process of keeping the website updated and current begins now also.
We'll check in with you every now-and-again just to see how everything's going. And if you need updates to functionality, design or anything else that we can assist you with in the meanwhile, please just let us know. We're always happy to help.