Demystifying Website Design and Development

Helping You Overcome the Overwhelm

In the digital age, a professional website is crucial for any business looking to establish a strong online presence. However, creating a new website can often feel like navigating through a maze of confusing technical jargon and complex processes.

To help you feel less daunted, we’ve compiled answers to some of the most frequent queries at the start of new website design and development projects. We’ll cover topics such as responsive design, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and website maintenance, so read on to learn more.

Do I Really Need a Website for My Business?

Picture your website as an online hub where potential customers can browse your products or services and gain insight into your brand ethos and values. Your website is a crucial connection between your business and your customers. It is your 24/7 global salesperson. A website also offers a dynamic platform for customer interaction, from direct enquiries to constructive feedback. Customer testimonials can significantly enhance your business’s reputation, setting you apart from competitors.

What Does the Website Design Phase Entail?

Website design isn’t just about how your website looks. It involves creating an aesthetically pleasing layout that is user-friendly, easy to navigate and aligns with your brand’s identity. On top of this, responsive design is essential in today’s digital landscape. With more people accessing the internet via mobile devices than ever, your site must look good and function well on all screen sizes. A responsive site adjusts its layout based on the device it’s being viewed on, ensuring a seamless user experience across all platforms. In this sense, website design and development go hand in hand.

Do I Need to Know How to Code?

Website development refers to the technical side of building a website – coding and programming that make the site function as intended. There are several programming languages used in web development, including HTML (HyperText Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), JavaScript, PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor), Python, Ruby, etc. The choice depends on what you want your site to do. For example, HTML/CSS are essential for creating a basic structure and design, while languages like JavaScript, PHP, and Python are used for more complex functionality. However, depending on the platform used, there are also user-friendly interfaces you can use to update your website without needing to write code.

How Can I Attract More Visitors to My Website?

Search engine optimisation (SEO) helps your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), increasing its visibility so potential customers can easily find your site when searching for relevant keywords and driving more organic traffic. Some key SEO techniques include keyword research and optimisation, creating high-quality content that answers users’ queries, integrating relevant keywords into your website content, ensuring your site is mobile-friendly, improving page loading speed, and building high-quality backlinks from reputable sites.

How Often Should I Update My Website Content?

It’s not the case that once your website design and development project is complete, you can sit back and leave it to its own devices. Regular updates are crucial for maintaining good SEO. Search engines favour sites that are regularly updated with fresh content. Consider incorporating a blog on your website, offering practical tips, insights, or industry updates. Aim to update your site at least once a week with new blog posts or updates to existing pages. By delivering a steady stream of quality content that educates, engages, entertains, or inspires, you are more likely to attract and retain a loyal audience.

What Makes a Good Website?

Straightforward and intuitive navigation is at the heart of any good website, ensuring users can effortlessly move between different sections. It’s also vital to remember that in our fast-paced digital era, users expect websites to load swiftly; otherwise, they may lose interest and move on to the next. Hence, ensuring your website is fast and responsive can significantly enhance the user experience and keep them returning for more.

How Much Does Building a Website Cost?

Costs vary significantly depending on your specific requirements and chosen route. If you decide to build the website using an online builder, you might budget anywhere from £20 to £100 per month. But, if you require a more bespoke site or lack the time to go the DIY route, enlisting the expertise of a professional to take care of your new website design and development project could be in order. Costs range from a few hundred to several thousand pounds. When considering budget, it’s important to factor in the potential return on investment this digital asset can bring to your business.

How Long Does it Take To Build a Website?

The phrase “How long is a piece of string?” comes to mind. It’s not a one-size-fits-all answer but varies considerably based on the site’s intricacy, your chosen platform, whether you’re using a template or going for a custom design and whether you’re undertaking the task personally or seeking professional assistance.

A simple website with basic functionality could be up and running within a few weeks. A complex eCommerce site, on the other hand, might take several months. It’s essential to have a clear plan and timeline before starting the development process to avoid delays.

How Do I Maintain My Website?

A website requires regular upkeep to stay in tip-top performance, secure, and welcoming to your visitors. Begin by keeping your website’s software up-to-date. This includes your content management system, plugins, and themes. Neglecting updates might leave your site vulnerable to potential security threats and compromise functionality. Secondly, take regular backups of your website’s data. This serves as a safety net, allowing you to restore your site if anything goes wrong.

Don’t forget to monitor your website’s speed regularly. Sluggish loading times can deter visitors and negatively impact your search engine rankings. If you notice any lag, consider optimising images, enabling caching, or reducing the number of plugins. Lastly, watch for broken links, which can hinder user experience and dent your SEO efforts. Regularly run link checks to ensure all your links lead where they’re supposed to, keeping your digital pathways clear and accessible.

What Do I Do if My Website Isn’t Working Properly?

There may be times when your website is not functioning as it should. The first thing to try is refreshing your webpage or clearing your cache. However, if the gremlins on your site persist, it may indicate deeper issues such as outdated software, a server hiccup, or a coding bug. Professional website support services are equipped to delve into the workings of your site, identify the fault, and rectify it. This minimises potential downtime to your website and wards off potential security risks that could threaten your website’s integrity.

Should I Hire a Professional?

As we’ve considered, building a new website involves many components. The decision hinges on various factors, such as your skills, budget, and the intricacy of your envisioned website. Professional web designers and developers have the skills and experience necessary to bring your vision to life while ensuring all the technical details are taken care of. Investing in professional website design and development is not just about having an online presence; it’s about creating an effective digital platform to drive business growth and success.

Rigorous Digital is a Digital Marketing Agency based in Cheltenham, UK, servicing an international client base. eCommerce websites are one of our specialisms. Want more eCommerce website and marketing tips straight to your inbox? Then, sign up for Rigorous Bulletin, our monthly newsletter.

Give your customers a better experience online - join our monthly newsletter

Each month we send out a newsletter tailored to your industry.