I’m going to share with you behind-the-scenes, the steps my team at Bingo Digital Marketing executes every web design project with new clients.
In this case study, you will learn how I start every new project:
Every new project is based on the simple 5 steps below:
- Preparing the content
- Designing the website
- Developing the website
- Website goes live
- .. and what do we do after going live?
I need to know if our services are able to solve the problem for the clients.
I have very specific questions to ask during the discovery call.
My clients usually have a specific marketing budget to work with — I will usually guide the client throughout the entire process.
Once I am on the same page with the client, then I shall start the project after receiving the deposit.
Step 1 – Interview and write content
Setting up a communication channel is the first priority with the client.
or else I scramble to check email, WhatsApp, Facebook messenger, and the important messages will get lost.
This is a crucial step.
Then, I will communicate about the creatives for the website design.
What color pallets? What your logo stands for? What sort of design do you like?
If you are clueless, I will show you a few samples of existing designs.
If you have your own existing branding, then I will collect whatever you have.
No previous brand assets? No problem, I can create one for the you.
Usually, I will fill in the missing pieces with dummy content or written content from our qualified contractors.
Step 2 – Web design and UI/UX
Based on what you need, I’ll start off by outlining the ‘sitemap‘, which is a map of the entire website illustrated in the sample below:
Then, the rough sketch of the website will be drawn on pen and paper, I call it the ‘wireframes‘.
I am using low-fidelity sketches to prevent clients from commenting on things like color and font.
At this stage, we only want to only focus on the layout of the website.
Let’s get our creative juices flowing!
If you do not have an existing brand design, I will suggest a brand-new branding kit.
or what we call a ‘visual recipe’ as shown below:
This will standardize all the designs representing the company.
Although not included in my list of services, I am happy to do this for you because this will benefit you in the long run.
(Have an extra budget for this? I can recommend you a list of designers who truly specialize in branding)
With this new ‘visual recipe‘, you can apply this to your future brand-able assets such as — social media images, letterheads, name cards, etc.
Website mockup (UI/UX)
If you’ve been agreeing with the progress so far, our designer will sketch out the website in high-fidelity mockups.
This will be the first time you see the website comes to life.
At this stage, I will include designs that fit in any screen size — desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile.
You will get unlimited revision at this stage, but this hardly happens if we get the briefing right in the beginning.
Step 3 – Web development
This is where the designs transform into a real-functioning website.
Powered by WordPress
We love to use WordPress to power our websites.
It’s the most-used content management system on the internet.
At this stage basically, we are implementing the codes, databases, functionality, and all those geeky stuff.
Common functions like these are inserted into web development:
- forms (inquiry/booking)
- links (navigation/buttons/menu)
- external functions (social media/WhatsApp/FB messenger)
- animations (mouse-over, image change colors)
These are only front-ends (which you can see)
There are many more items we need to set up at the backend which is only vital to have a functional website.
Tracking codes & analytics
We get our hands dirty occasionally with these as well:
- tracking code for Google and Facebook
Step 4 – Launching the website
Congratulations — your website is about to go live!
But before going live, the website needs approval from the client, making sure all functions are working properly.
All technical issues should be solved during the web development phase.
Domain name and web hosting
Your website is going to be accessible via your official address (yourcomapny.com)
The website will be transferred to the web hosting of our choice, we prefer SiteGround.
To have a better experience, the website will be optimized even further for loading speed too.
We have a list of checklists to make sure nothing falls through the crack.
- Making sure the proper image size is loading appropriate sizes for every device.
- HTML and CSS at minified.
- Pre-load and have the browser cache settings set up properly.
Optimize for SEO
At this stage, we will adjust a few more adjustments for “OnPage SEO“, so the website can be found on the front page of Google.
For example, if your main keyword ‘Florist Kota Kinabalu‘ , you will notice other local florists are ranking on the same page too.
If you want to appear higher than your competitors, we would recommend the client check out our SEO services.
Want immediate results? Then go for PPC (Pay Per Click) services for Google Ads.
Step 5 – Post-launch sequence
Launching your website is only the first step of your digital marketing journey.
You’ve invested so much into launching the website, why not make good use of it?
I want to update the website content
Some website needs more frequent updates, but the client wanted to do it themselves. Of course, you can!
a) Website care plan
You can subscribe to wpfix.my for a monthly care plan.
Unlimited 30-minutes tasks for only RM99 per month. The team will help keep your website updated, and help you update the latest content to your website
b) Do it yourself
Video training will be provided to guide you on how to update the website content.
This is useful if you have a tech-savvy person on your team.
Updating content won’t be difficult.
I found an issue on the website
We provide 30-days support to fix any issues found on the website.
If the issue only arises after the period, there will be additional charges for fixing.
I want to add a new feature(s) for the website
We can do that for you too! Depending on the features and complexity of the function you’re looking for, we will give you an estimated price based on our hourly rate.
You’re now a website owner — welcome to the digital world.
What to do next?
Great! Now you have a new website for your business — what’s next?
Digital Marketing: 5 Steps To Grow Online
Having a website is only the first step for online marketing success — your digital marketing journey has just begun.
Here are lists of articles we recommend you to read:
- Small Business SEO: Ranking Your Business on First Page Google
- 7 Online Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses
- How To Design A Website On A Budget For Small Businesses
You can get in touch with me and I’ll strategize a marketing plan for your business, so you know what to expect, and how much the marketing will cost.
I hope you find this article useful and have a better understanding on how our website building creation process.
Digital Marketing has completely changed the way companies compete for the audience’s attention in the last few years. With the pandemic happening, the stakes are even higher because everyone is now online.
US eCommerce sales grew by 20% in 2020, and digital ad spend for 2021 will reach $389B. This is why investing in online marketing will bring a lot of benefits for small business owners. Yes, it is affordable than traditional marketing, but the important part is it helps you build a relationship with customers and boost conversions.
Using digital marketing to promote your business will give you a much better chance of success, but what strategies should you consider? What is cost-effective, and what works? We’ve listed down seven online marketing strategies you can apply for your small business.
Strengthen Your Small Business Brand Identity
Often, small business owners focus on selling and marketing but usually forget that their company is a business and a brand. Foregoing branding means that the messages sent out can produce undesired outcomes, getting more questions than conversions.
We may be competing with big brands that have enormous resources and loyal customers, which is why we must figure out how to stand out. Brand identity expands beyond a creative logo; it combines how the brand looks, feels, and speaks to audiences. It influences how customers view the business.
So, where do we start? Research. We can’t create a unique identity if we don’t understand ourselves, our story, audience, and how we want to be portrayed. This requires time and deep thinking, so take a deep breath and be patient.
Know Who You’re Selling To
When in the process of identifying who you are as a brand, you’ll go through the process of defining a target persona. If I asked you to visualize your ideal customer? What would your answer be?
These are some of the questions you might want to ask yourselves when defining your target persona:
- What type of person is going to buy my service or product?
- Where are they located?
- How do they communicate?
- What are their interests?
- What are the problems I am solving through my service or product?
Knowing these things will help us, business owners, develop a more targeted and effective marketing strategy.
Build A Strong Presence On Social Media
How much time do we spend on social media?
We know that more and more individuals spend lots of time on their phones, just like us. That is why social media is the best platform to directly connect with the audience and build brand awareness and loyalty.
For small businesses, social media is an effective platform because it is free and because it is a great strategy to use for lead generation. Once you give content and resources that provide value to prospects and customers, they will be more likely to interact with the business.
Every successful strategy starts with a good plan, so before diving right in, set goals and objectives that follow the SMART framework. Instead of increasing page or post likes, aim to gain customers and increase conversion rate. You must be strategic and ensure that you are sharing the right content with the right people. LinkedIn won’t be my platform if I am looking for a clothing boutique online, just saying.
Utilize Search Engine Optimization
SEO has so many branches, and this might seem like a big task that only businesses with extensive resources can do, but there are areas that small business owners can utilize.
Local SEO is a must, especially for businesses with a physical address, whether a notary public office, retail store or dental clinic. There is only one goal: to get our companies on top of searches related to our business location. So, if I have a “dental clinic in South Hamptons” when users search for this term, we want our business to be listed on the top.
If keywords are integral to our SEO strategy, then on-page optimization is necessary. You can have the right keywords, but it won’t deliver results without optimizing your web pages. So, what are the basics of on-page SEO?
- Title Tags
- Meta Descriptions
- URL Optimization
- Image optimization
- Page Load Speed
- Keyword Density
Create High-Quality Content For Your Audience
How do we get our keywords across the website? Content!
Every website now has a blog section containing resources related to the business’s products and services. But it’s not just content for the sake of it. All the information you’ll have to provide should be unique, helpful, and relevant.
For example, a dental clinic can write valuable content such as “Effective Solutions To Keep Bacteria Away From Your Teeth”. W.” would this qualify as valuable? That’s because it directly addresses the dilemma of a person with tooth problems.
But remember, content doesn’t only mean articles. It can range from infographics, eBooeBooksdeo tutorials, and more.
Reach Customers Wherever They Are
Now that we have produced high-quality content, how can we promote it to reach the right audience?
Most businesses opt to advertise on Google because they want to reach the widest audience possible. But, if your key demographic uses Facebook often, you can choose it to promote your content, services, or product. As I mentioned earlier, I won’t be looking for clothes on LinkedIn, so if you’re running ads on the wrong channel, you wouldn’t be getting a return on your investment.
Google and Facebook provide valuable data to improve our ad’s performance and accurately target prospects or leads for future campaigns. We can view the date and time our ads get the most response or the device the users use the most when they interact with our ad.
These automatically-generated reports will help small business owners make a more insightful business decision, especially if we don’t have the budget to hire experts who can dedicate a lot of time monitoring and gathering data and metrics for us.
Connect With Customers Through Email Marketing
Thanks to emails, we can do business from anywhere in the world. According to HubSpot’s Email Marketing stats for 2021, 64% of small businesses utilize email marketing to reach their customers. So, who is to say it doesn’t work?
With 306 billion emails received and delivered every day, we can say that email marketing provides businesses with immense opportunities to engage with new and current audiences. If utilized correctly, email can play an essential role in building long-term and profitable relationships with customers.
Email also helps us understand our audience more because it is the closest thing we can get to communicate with our customers directly. It can also generate a lot of return for minimal investment and helps us retain customers.
Why Is Online Marketing Important For Small Businesses?
The group of potential customers we can find online is much larger than the group we can attract using traditional marketing or locally. There are various areas of Digital Marketing we could explore even when the budget is tight.
We can reach a global marketplace and interact with prospects while learning what they are looking for, their pain points, and what solutions we can offer them? In this way, we can build a relationship with our customers and become their trusted partners.
Is Online/Digital Marketing The Future?
Yes, we could say that it is the future. Online Marketing is no longer an option; it’s a necessity that sits on top of every business’ strategy. The data, ease-of-access, etc., all contributed to the success of this industry, and the future for Digital Marketing is definitely bright.
Leveraging various online marketing strategies we have mentioned above can help small businesses compete even with large corporations, bringing their brands in front of the right people.
What’s the best way to design a website on a small business budget? Luckily, options abound when it comes to domain creation, design, and distribution.
The world has gone virtual post-pandemic. Companies that were strictly brick-and-mortar operations moved to the internet. Today, a good portion of the 31 million small businesses in the U.S. have some form of online address.
You don’t have one yet; however, you’re ready to get one. Unfortunately, you don’t have a huge budget to play with. This is okay because there are several options for you to choose from to give you an active online presence.
Here are a few ways how to design a website on a budget for your small business.
For the most part, the internet is a powerful and useful tool. It helps you find items that could’ve taken days to research through the library. So, there’s no excuse not to perform extensive research on web platforms.
Review sites are the best place to start. They provide fairly accurate discussions about a company’s design tools, prices, and customer service. If they’re generally positive, then it’s a good idea to examine them further. If it’s a mix of good and bad reviews, then use your best judgment on how to proceed.
Choose Between A Site Builder Or Design Group
As you research you also want to be aware of the type of service you want to use. Is it self-service or should it be a website development group? Both have their pros and cons.
The self-service site builder gives you plenty of options to customize your virtual eCommerce location. Their drag-and-drop tools make it easy to add blogs, audio clips, and videos. However, development is limited to what they offer on the user menu.
On the other hand, the development group has subject matter experts to optimize the website’s front end (the user interface, or UI) and the back end processes (the user experience, or UX). Thus, you get a site that’s a head above many other small businesses. Yet, design group services cost more than most site-building platforms and could be out of your budget range.
Choose Between A Hosting And Building Platforms
Should you decide to pass on a development group, the next option is the type of platform you need to design the site. There are two forms of this. One is a hosting site, and the other is a creation-only platform.
Examples of hosting sites are locations like Wix and Squarespace. Not only do you have the power to build your online location but you also host the site on their servers. Though this saves a good deal of time, the downside is some difficulty relocating your website from its proprietary environment.
A good example of a site-builder platform is WordPress.org. Released in 2003, the site recently implemented its drag-and-drop menu called Guttenberg, thus making it easier to design an online location. The downside to WordPress.org is you need to find a separate hosting site for your web pages.
In your research, don’t confuse WordPress.org with WordPress.com. The latter is a hosting platform similar to Weebly or Hostgator. Additionally, where the services of WordPress.org are free, you must pay for a subscription to the .com version.
Determine How You Want To Pay
One way or another you need to move your website to a hosting platform so it becomes active. Most sites offer several options for personal use, freelancers, and small to medium-sized businesses. What you choose and how you pay depends on your budget.
If you’re just starting, we recommend a low-end plan that allows you to also host a fully qualified domain name (FQDN). In other words, your small business site should read www.widget.com instead of www.widget.wordpress.com. It provides a more professional look.
How you pay depends on the options. For instance, if you select an annual WordPress.com Premium subscription you receive a free domain for one year. However, if you select the monthly option for the same plan, then you lose the domain.
Utilize Your Own Content
Most website builders have built-in content, images, and videos to use for free. However, these choices are limited. If you need something different, then you must pay for it, and that takes a chunk out of your budget.
Bypass these options and utilize your own content. There are plenty of sites that allow you to create or download items for free. For instance, Pixabay touts over two million free images. Meanwhile, Canva allows you to create logos, banners, and other items needed to spruce up your website.
Store Items On The Cloud
Web hosting platforms tend to have packages with storage capacity. Unfortunately, when you need to create one on a budget, what they provide doesn’t fit your desires. Prevent this by utilizing Cloud storage services.
Several options in this market have more storage for little or no investment. For instance, if you subscribe to the Microsoft Office Suite of products, then you receive up to 1TB of storage on OneDrive. Meanwhile, Google offers 15GB divided between its Cloud and Mail services.
FAQs On Website Design For A Small Business Budget
Can I learn web design on my own?
It’s easy to learn web design on your own. Most site-building platforms offer drag-and-drop options to create templates, change colors & fonts, and add multimedia options. If you have the time, there are online opportunities to learn website coding for more comprehensive designs.
How does a website development team operate?
A development team goes beyond the drag-and-drop setup of a website. They utilize coding platforms like Python and PHP, among others, to enhance the site’s user interface (UI) and the background user experience (UX). In simpler terms, they make it easy to maneuver and process information.
How do web hosting services work?
Web hosting services provide shared or dedicated anchors to host websites. Not only do they provide the platform for your site but also give it an address. This allows your customers to visit the location.
Most platforms do provide free hosting services, however, the options provided are somewhat limited. You must pay a monthly or annual fee to host your own domain name or increase the level of customer service. What option you select depends on your immediate needs.
Are domain names free?
Domain names are similar to street addresses. However, like someone does to live on a certain stretch of road, you have to pay for a fully qualified domain name (FQDN). Companies like GoDaddy allow you to search for a name and claim it for a fee.
Do I need a domain name for my website?
It’s a good idea to assign a domain name to your website. One reason is it gives it a professional feel. Another is it makes your site easier to find through search engines.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is one of the oldest web design platforms. The free version, WordPress.org, allows you to design a set of pages through a combination of drag-and-drop elements and plugins. However, you must select a hosting site for something designed in WordPress.org.