Our approach to websites
Let’s be honest, websites are a lot of work. You’ll find that with your first site. Our goal at Highgate is to design sites that entice the visitor, communicate the message clearly, are intuitive to navigate, and optimized for searches. Under the hood, we make them secure, reliable, and redundant, and easy to update.
There are several things we learned early on.
Whatever the medium is, Web or print, the strategy and the message must be right. Contrary to Marshall McLuhan, the medium is not always the message.
You don’t design a website like a print brochure. The latter is restricted by time and space, the former is free of those bonds, but requires brevity and clarity. Brochures tend to focus on one thing, a website is generally about everything. Having a content strategy is key.
The Web is interactive and dynamic, and the way the visitor interacts, or doesn’t, with the the site is a reflection of the brand.
They have to be promoted, marketed—if you build it, they will not necessarily come. Optimization, social media, and content all play a role.
Our website clients need to be able to edit their own content, add pages, and upload photos. We created a simple, easy-to-use database-driven content manager (CMS) that gives our clients the tools to their site fresh without always having to come to us. Our CMS also has built-in galleries, slide-shows, formbuilders, and ecomm capabilities.
Our website clients need support, so we have email ticketing system that is monitored 18/7 by our team members. Online documentation and video tutorials are there when we may not be.
Keep the development in-house for a more effective development process and more fluid communication with our clients—you can talk with the guy writing the code if you need to.
To the uninitiated, all the techie stuff can be overwhelming, so we take the burden off by handling everything you don’t want to, from domain names to hosting, backups, security, analytics, ecomm, and support.
1. Plan—We’ll want to sit down with you and find out who you are, what your brand is, what your goals are, who the audience is, what you envision, site structure, concerns and special needs, budgets, time frames, etc.
2. Proposal—All this goes into writing a proposal that clearly lays out all the details, expectations, responsibilities, roles, and pricing.
3. Design—Let the blue-skying begin. Starting with your brand and it’s identity, we wire-frame or prototype any number of ideas and directions for your feedback. Then it’s onto the next stage of making it pretty and creating a look and feel that the final site will take on.
4. Production—Gather assets: photos, logos, illustrations, and writing. Simultaneously we start in on the technical side: programming, coding, hosting, image prep—all the stuff you don’t want to do.
5. Testing—Your site will be hosting in a development environment, free from prying eyes where we can build pages, add content and put the site through the paces.
6. Going live—The big day. A lot of switches get flipped: the site is moved to a live server, domains are repointed, emails managed, analytics put in place, and a dozen other details that make sure we come out of the gate strong.
7. Updates—A website is never done, and the fresher you keep it, the more repeat visits you will get, the more value you will bring to your constituency, and the better search engine searches will be.