10 ways to make your website more awesome.

Know your purpose

Websites can do everything from selling to teaching, and lots in between. more ▾
They can:
informsellteach
promoteorganizedistribute
collaborateaggregatecommemorate

Not all of those at once, but you get the gist. So, what will it be?

Have a plan

Websites are too large in scope not to have a strategy. more ▾

Brochures generally focus on one product or service. Websites usually tell it all—it's like doing a dozen brochures. So it's understandable how your site should become the hub for all your messaging. That's why it's key to have a Web strategy—to get your story, your message, and all the other details correct from the start: navigation, content, interaction. Our own process begins with sitting down with our client in front of a white board and mapping out all the messages and logistics as a team.

Fresh design

Successful design changes behavior—make sure your design is working. more ▾

A website is just an other form of communication, usually with the goal of being persuasive. So, how are you going to attract, keep, and impact your visitors once they find your site? How will it support your brand's personality, culture, identity, and trade dress. What typefaces, colors, images, and current trends will be most effective in getting your message across and convincing people to act? How will you keep it clean and welcoming? A good Web designer should take a holistic approach to your site so it reflects all that you want to be.

Smart tools

Make the right choices about the technology that is going into your site. more ▾

Web technology is changing almost daily and just keeping up with it feels like a full-time job. Smart new tools and fun new features can make your visitor's experience motivating and memorable. The early days of simple static sites are over. Today they are powerful, dynamic, database-driven, always changing. It now takes more than just the rudimentary coding skills you might have learned in high school. And add to it the importance of agile development and being discovered in a very competitive environment. So, what's the best way to use this technology in such a way that it enhances the message and doesn't get in the way?

Content strategy

It's a big job getting all that content on your site and keeping it fresh. more ▾

As mentioned, a website can cover a lot of topics. It's really is like doing a dozen brochures, and you know how hard it is doing just one. Developing and carrying out a content strategy for your site is key in pulling together the words and pictures to populate those menus and pages, when building it new or later when trying to keep it fresh. Our process includes time to sort out a content strategy and alleviate some of the barriers of making it happen.

Ability to edit

We give you the keys that allow you to update it yourself, easily. more ▾

In the early days of the Web, you had to go back to your designer or programmer to have changes made. Eventually tools like WYSIWYG editors and admin dashboards were introduced to allow site owners to create their own pages, edit text, and upload pictures. Unfortunately, some of those content management systems are complicated and unintuitive. We developed our own CMS, Highsite, because our clients asked for something that was easy-to-use and made sense—they know the importance of ease in keeping content fresh.

Willing to renovate

If it's been at least 2 years, your site may ready for a facelift. more ▾

Your business evolves, its focus shifts, design trends and styles change, technology advances. How does your site look next to your competitors? Does it look small, outdated? A redesign can be a complete overall or just a simple re-skinning: widening the page, adding new typefaces and content, updating photos, and tuning your SEO and analytics. All good reasons to have an audit of the health, relevance, effectiveness, and impact of your site.

Total support

Nothing more frustrating than needing help and not finding it. more ▾

Under the "websites-are-never-done" heading, websites need regular tweaking. Links will mysteriously no longer link, forms are going to the wrong person, slideshows stop working, domain names expire, or something just doesn't look right anymore. Lots of annoying things than mean you have to stop what you like doing and figure out how you're going to do something you may not be all that comfortable with. What if all it took was a quick email? We monitor our ticketing system 7 days a week to answer your questions, help you upload a photo, add a page, or style some content. And we promise to be nice about it and not get all geeky with our explanations.

Vigilant care

Help when you need it and confidence your site is up and secure. more ▾

You can find Web hosting for free, but chances are you'll be on your own. Highgate offers "managed hosting." It's a few more dollars a month, but you are basically getting a system administrator and webmaster for the same price. We maintain our servers to keep them secure and functioning by always having the latest security updates or software versions installed. And we monitor your individual site 24/7 to make sure it's up and running for your visitors and customers.

Clever marketing

If you build it, they will not necessarily come. more ▾

You wouldn't have a website if you didn't want the right people to visit, read, interact, and come back again. The reality—this doesn't happen automatically. The art and science of having your website discovered and doing what you'd like it to do is a combination of several things: design, content strategy, search engine optimization, social media, online and traditional marketing. Unless you are Amazon, there are just too many websites and too much competition to overlook any of this. We recommend that you start with a free audit of what you are doing now, and suggestions for what you should do in the future.

What is in the audit?

Great question. Even though it's free, you should know how it works and what you'll receive from us. We'd love to start with a short phone interview (optional) so we can learn a little bit about your company or organization. Then we'll follow it up with a written summary and some suggestions and recommendations. Here's what's included:

Phone interview

  • history
  • brand and culture
  • objectives
  • purpose of site

Design

  • use of Web conventions
  • style and trends
  • typography
  • support of brand
  • imagery and photos

Content

  • clarity of message
  • call to action
  • style and tone

User experience

  • menus
  • other navigation
  • search function
  • site map
  • friendliness
  • forms

Optimization

  • intro text
  • page titles
  • alt tags
  • keywords
  • repetition and uniqueness
  • description
  • Analytics
  • Webmaster

Management

  • CMS
  • logins for management accounts

Marketing

  • signups
  • contact data
  • inbound options

Social Equity

  • blog and posts
  • use of social media