You need a new website that looks great on a desktop and mobile device. But looking great is just part of having a profitable website.
Often, when you search for a web designer the temptation is to start by trying to find the cheapest designer you can.
But what if choosing the wrong designer ultimately costs you money in terms of future revenue? Then he or she wasn't so cheap.
Most discount designers or even experienced designers don’t also have the deep Moon & Owl development know-how to make sure your site is not just pretty but a conversion machine.
Your Comprehensive Web Designer
Our web design and development process is proven and loved by our clients because it makes developing their website straightforward. Everyone loves having a clear roadmap we have yours!
1. Deep Pre-Design Strategic Research
Every Moon & Owl site design starts with our Get To Know You exercise. This comprehensive document allows us to get a real feel for business or organization including your site needs, style preferences, and key competitors.
We’ll also get a list of preliminary terms you’d guess people would search to find what you offer. Don’t worry; you can just make guesses and suggestions as you’ll see below.
Your site needs to be structured in a way that makes sense to the user and to search engines, where your users will find you.
This is where we are a step ahead of the competition. Before the design begins, we need to determine what keywords do people use when looking for a service or product you offer.
We use powerful tools to find out the searches phrases related to your service or product, how often these terms are searched, and how much competition exists for each keyword. We can even spy on your competitors to see what keywords they are attempting to rank on.
This strategic phase is also the time in which we’ll decide what platform on which to build your site. We have extensive experience in WordPress, Drupal, Squarespace, Shopify, and many other content management system platforms. We’ll tell you the why behind our recommendations.
We'll also determine if you need e-commerce capabilities to sell things online, a reservations system, an online forum, a blog, or other key functionalities. We’ll present a plan on how we will incorporate these into the site.
2. Sitemap Creation
A sitemap is simply an outline of your pages on your site.
Sometimes this sitemap might be quite simple.
But even if you sell a single product or service, there are several ways people will search for your offerings. Each of these search approaches needs to be accounted for in the sitemap.
Sometimes your sitemap will be complex like this Moon & Owl client.
This is one of the most important parts of web design and development where most agencies skimp. When an agency rushes or skips this process, and later you want to do some search engine optimization, an SEO specialist will then say, “Basically we’re going to have to rebuild about half the site because it isn’t built right.” Not with Moon & Owl.
(By the way, we do great SEO work and its easy on your site since we built it with that end-game in mind).
3. Content Writing
Great web writing is a like a great song lyric. You can change the musical style under the lyric, but it still works.
Many web designers will design a pretty site and then say, “Okay, email all your content.” This is completely backward.
Content drives design.
The look of your site should reinforce the purpose of the content.
Before we ever move into your design process, we craft your site's content to be an honest reflection of who you are, compelling, and convincing.
We help you craft your message with our Brand Voicing Session (we charge $1500 a la carte to clients, but its included it in your web package as an added value, because we know it's crucial.)
When you get your Brand Voicing Report, you’ll have a powerful tool to help you in all your future communication and writing. You’ll know the buzzwords to use that explain how you are different.
This Brand Voicing Report guides our writers, so your content is tight and focused.
Your site speaks to the end-users perspective. How does what you do or sell benefit them?
It sounds harsh, but no one really cares what you do. They care how you directly benefit them. Our content specialists understand this.
Even when telling your story on your About Us page, we write it in a way that points out “here is how we are going to help you.”
Your content is then professionally proofed and edited so it zings and doesn't set your high school English teacher's teeth on edge!
4. Design Matters
We start with functional design. Before we get deep into colors and font selection, we want to assign what goes where on the digital real estate.
In this phase, we wrestle with questions like:
- What is most important to the web-visitor and how is that reflected on the homepage?
- What product needs prominence or service needs to be highly featured because it is your largest moneymaker or the most crucial?
- Where is the prominent call to action?
- Do you need a large hero image field or not? Notice our site doesn’t use a large hero image. This is on purpose.
All these answers result in a wireframe, which is a black, white and gray layout of the digital real estate on your site.
This wireframe is like the frame of a home. Before and walls or interiors are added, the floorplan structure is set.
Once we get this settled, it’s time to get to the fun part – visual design. Our creative design artists bring a deep understanding of creativity and the best user experience (UX) / user interface (UI).
From the color palette to typography to the inclusion of media, nothing is left to chance. Every element of the design amplifies your message and your content.
This is the part of the website development process every client seems to love – getting their first peek at the color mock-up of their site.
The mock-up allows you to start to envisioning your new site. We’ll first present a full-color design of your homepage and sit down with you to explain why we designed things the way we did.
We can discuss things you like and want to be tweaked in the design. Sometimes we’ll say, "Yes that’s a great idea." At other times, be prepared for us to gently push back based on our rich experience and say, “Here is why this is an important element for your end-user.” You hired us for a reason, and we’ll trust one another’s input.
At each of the above stages, we include two rounds of major revisions. You’ll have two rounds of sitemap revisions and then approve a final sitemap, and repeat the process for each phase.
We do these approvals so that you won’t ever have a “bad surprise” when you see your working site. Because we’ve been in communication at each phase and you’ve given us your approval, you’ll know exactly where we are in the process and how the site is developing.
Once we get approval on the mock-up, it’s time for the "nerds" we love to get busy. They’ll start fervently coding your site, merging the approved content with the approved site design.
None of our code writing is outsourced to cheap, overseas coding companies. Your site is too important for the errors that typically occur when this is done.
Each of our developers has proven experience on large-scale site projects and works extensively with Moon & Owl.
Your site is then thoroughly tested to make sure it is working optimally.
• We do a speed loading test to make sure your site loads fast.
• If e-commerce is included, we do several test orders to make sure pricing, shipping, and checkout are flawless.
• Every contact form is completed, and we check to make sure you received it.
• Any other functional items are tested.
• All the links are crawled as well as each page to make sure everything is in place.
When our team of developers tells us the site is ready, our CEO personally checks off on every site. Nothing goes out the door until it meets his exacting standards.
Once the site is fully coded, the final reveal happens. We deliver the site to you with an easy-to-follow punch list guide where you can request final changes.
Because of our exacting process, this list is usually quite short. We go through the list and make all the final punch list changes.
You give us go live approval.
Your Site Goes Live
We then roll your site over to its final hosting location and point the URL at it.
Your site is now ready to share with the world.
But we aren’t done quite yet.
We install Google Analytics on your site and Google Search Console tools so you can see what is happening in terms of traffic on your site.
We also use some tools to help Google, Bing, and other search engines crawl your new site and index it in their listings.
We can even write a Press Release about your new site, which gets syndicated to over 200 news outlets.
Finally, we’ll schedule a morning or afternoon of training where we show you how to make changes on your site to the degree of Do-It-Yourself that you desire. We have some clients who prefer to do 99% of the site changes and others who never want to touch their site log-in. We can help on both ends of the spectrum.
Our Ongoing Role
We want you to be successful and your website to be a large part of that.
Moon & Owl can do ongoing web work for those changes you don’t want to make at an hourly rate or a discounted retainer rate. We are glad to help.
We can also offer a maintenance program to make sure the behind-the-scenes portions of your site are always updated to the newest version, fully secure, hosting speeds are maximized.
We also offer a full breadth of Search Engine Optimization services to help you climb in the search engine rankings to that coveted first-page spot.
We love designing and developing websites that are marketing machines! It would be our pleasure to assist your business, non-profit, or organization on its next website project.