The SwiftSites website design process
My 5 step web design and development process is called SWIFT and it looks like this
- Why, Who, What
How the SWIFT process works
Discovery session and audit
We’re all busy and want everything to happen yesterday. The problem is that we often tend to rush in and skip the crucial first stages of taking a step back and scanning the entire situation to see where we’re at now and where we want to end up.
With so much constantly changing online and so many tools and different opinions for websites out there, you might be confused or not even know where to start! The truth is that it doesn't matter too much at this stage.
What is more important is that we start to get an idea of where you are now and where you want to be, and why you REALLY want to do any of this in the first place.
Everyone is different and has their own personal situation. For some people the main reason to grow their business might be to provide for their family and have something to hand down to their kids. For others it might be to build something up as quickly as possible to sell so they can get some time back and enjoy the fruits of all their hard work.
This is where we jump on a call and talk about your business vision, mission, and goals so that instead of jumping in blind, we’re getting clearer on your ultimate goals so we can provide the best service and to see if we’re a good fit to work together
We’re not going to jump straight into building anything right now, in fact, we might realise we’re not going to be a good fit to work together and decide to part ways before we even begin! That’s totally fine, and will save everyone a lot of time and heartache.
Now is a good time to discuss high level ideas for how your website can be leveraged to grow your business.
Try not to get caught up in what tools might be used and what features you think you want.
Think outside the box about what you already know can be done with a website and other digital marketing tools. Remember, things are always changing rapidly so there are bound to be things you haven’t thought of, or don’t know are possible.
We’ll also have a look at what you have in place now and decide what can be reused or what needs to be created so we can get a clear idea of what we can use to save time.
2. Why, Who, What
Your audience, product, and offer
Why are you doing this?
Decide on your most important goals at this time and really think about why you want to achieve them.
- Do you really want to get more people coming to your website or do you want to make more sales?
- Do you really want more sales or do you want more money coming in?
- Do you really want more money coming in or do you want more free time to spend on other things like hanging with friends, spending time with your family or hobbies?
Maybe the answer isn’t to get more traffic to your website, but to use technology to automate some tasks and free up some of your time. The only way we’ll really know what needs to be done is to get to the bottom of your real reasons behind your goals.
Find clarity and reduce stress involved with trying to do too many things by picking one clear goal.
The majority of small businesses are too busy bragging about themselves trying to sell a list of features and maybe some vague benefits to a broad audience of customers who aren't really that interested.
Leading on from the initial discovery session, we’ll start to dig in and narrow down on who your ideal customers or audience are to be able to develop clearer and more targeted messaging and stop wasting time chasing people who don’t care.
When you really think about it, it’s fairly unlikely every human from the age of 0 - 100 is your ideal customer. Be honest about who you want to work with, who you are most likely to be able to help, who is most profitable, and forget about everyone else.
When you think about how you help a specific group of people solve their problems and make their life better, it will become so much easier to communicate more clearly with them how you can help them which in turn will make selling to them much easier and you’ll be more likely to blow them away with your service.
When you know your real goals and who your audience or customers are, you can lay out your core products and get rid of the ones that aren’t benefiting your business.
Grab a piece of paper and make a list of every single product or service you offer.
- Which of these do you love doing most?
- Which ones do you hate?
- Which ones are most valuable to your customers?
Get clear on your process and products so you can get clear on your offer.
Define your offer and ask “so what?”
Why would anyone really want this? Know exactly what it is you’re offering and why to speed up the sales process and stop customising everything for everyone.
Then we can map out your entire process and break it down into a repeatable system that can easily be packaged up and sold to your ideal customers.
You will get clarity on what it is you do and how it can be repeated over and over to save you time and provide a better service.
Logo, branding, and social proof
Once we’re all on the same page and everyone is clear on WHY you want a new website, WHO the website is for, and an overview of WHAT will be involved to make it all happen, it could be time to start designing your logo and colour scheme.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Branding is a whole other topic that could have it’s own post.
If a business is starting from scratch or wants to update their overall look, I often design logos and colour schemes for my clients as an add-on service to web design, and I believe it’s enough for most small businesses, depending on the goals.
You might be just trying to test the waters to see if a new business idea is worth pursuing. In this case a simple, clean logo design and minimal colour palette could be enough to get you going.
Some people will already have their own logo and colour scheme which can often (but not always) be used as a basis for the website design.
Your brand is one of the most important things in your business and is more than just a logo and a combination of colours.
A solid brand should also encapsulate your values and your way of doing business and can help to set you apart from (or even eliminate) your competition.
If you’re serious about your business, I highly recommend looking into hiring a branding specialist to develop a more complete brand strategy for your business.
If we agree that a straightforward logo design and colour scheme will do the job at this stage of your business, we’ll have you complete a branding discovery worksheet that will help us both figure out the best way to move forward.
Completing a discovery worksheet will help us both get a better idea of what you stand for as a brand, eliminating guesswork, and speeding up the process, so we can nail the design faster without too much back and forth.
We’ll get to work and come up with ONE logo idea as a starting point, which we can then refine based on your feedback until it’s just right.
Once everything is approved, all of the required images and a style guide will be put together and organised into a suite of assets in one place so you don’t have to think about it every time you need to find a logo file or something to do with your branding.
This will make it easy to ensure your brand looks consistent throughout your new website and also on social media, email signatures, stationery, business cards, signage, and more which will be a major factor in your businesses perceived professionalism.
The proof is in the pudding
One of the best ways to position yourself as trustworthy and professional is to have social proof in the form of (positive) reviews and testimonials from people you’ve worked with before.
The best time to ask for this is during, or straight after a project is finished so the experience is fresh in their minds, but there’s no reason you can’t ask people for a review a while afterwards.
A cool trick I use is to have a customised link that I send to my clients that goes directly to the reviews page, which makes it super quick and easy to get great Google reviews from clients. You can also do this for other review services.
You can then take these reviews and testimonials and add them to your website to show the world how impressive you are to make it easy for potential customers to understand you have a proven track record.
Design and build digital marketing tools
This is where the fun starts!
It’s time to start designing and building your website and getting everything set up the right way.
So many people get this wrong, usually as a result of lack of planning, and end up diving in too early, making it up as they go along, or scrambling to implement things at the last minute that should have been done from the start.
If you get your website and other digital marketing tools set up and configured right from the beginning, you’re more likely to build the right thing for your business, and it will save you a lot of headaches down the track when it comes to ongoing management and maintenance of your website.
It totally depends on what we spoke about earlier in the process as far as your business goals, but this part of the process could include anything from a basic website build, to a carefully crafted series of automated pages designed to educate and encourage website visitors to buy from you.
It’s entirely possible to automate much of the customer journey which can save you loads of time and money by letting the website handle it for you.
How good would it be to not have to answer the same questions over and over, or speak to people on the phone to do things that can be done automatically using your website?
What do you use to build websites?
We usually use WordPress and have done so for over ten years as it can handle almost anything you throw at it. WordPress is a popular and widely used content management system that is used to build websites, but at the end of the day, it’s just a tool.
After we’ve gone through everything on the website and you’ve approved it all, the testing begins. This will make sure everything is working as expected so that we’re not frantically trying to add forgotten features or functionality months down the track when someone realises a crucial part of the site is not working.
Now we’re ready to launch and we’ll go through a step by step process to get your new website live and out there on the world wide web, and performing as best it can so your online customers have the best experience doing business with you possible.
We check off a bunch of tasks to make sure nothing has been missed, and also put a plan in place for the ongoing management and maintenance of the website so that everything hums along smoothly.
Every precaution is taken to make sure backups are in place and to stop bad things happening to the site such as being hacked, which could result in sometimes massive losses of business.
You’re welcome to look after the ongoing management and maintenance of your website yourself, but if that’s not your thing, we also have website care plans that are designed to regularly care for your website and keep it in top shape.
Technology and software changes so often, so it’s important to keep everything backed up, updated regularly to avoid software conflicts and potential hacks, secured from pesky bots and hackers, and optimised to perform as best it can so you have the confidence that your website is always online and working for your business.
Make the most of your digital marketing and transform your business
Now that your website is live, the very first step is to make sure you’re tracking visitors so you know where they’re coming from, what they’re looking for, and how many of them there are.
This will make it possible to get insights using data into who is visiting your site and what they’re looking at so you can make better informed decisions about your website and your business.
You can also add things like a Facebook pixel, which will track traffic and enable you to create highly targeted ads based on the way your visitors use your website if that’s something you think you might want to do in future.
If you build it, will they come?
All websites designed and built by SwiftSites are search engine friendly and optimised for basic SEO (search engine optimisation), but it’s not enough to just have a website built, put it out in the world, and hope people flock to it.
One of the main reasons websites get traffic from search engines is that they have relevant content that people are searching for that is regularly added and updated.
It’s not realistic to launch a website and expect it to be ‘at the top of Google’ after a couple of weeks or even months, especially when the content is thin or not added to regularly.
If you or someone who works for you can write and post regular content aimed at your audience that explains your process in detail and how you can help them, you’ll be ahead of most of your competition.
Coming up with ideas is easy. You can do things like take questions your customers are always asking and answer them in your website content, blog posts and social media posts.
You can enhance the effectiveness of your content by doing some keyword research to find out what people are searching for and tailor your content to speak to that.
The great thing with doing this is that it shows your knowledge, expertise, and authority on your subject and gives you something you can share that explains who you help and how you can help them without having to explain it to everyone every time.
There are a lot of other tactics you can use to get more traffic to your website and get more business.
It’s a good idea to regularly brainstorm ideas and develop a plan for ongoing content creation, traffic, and lead generation so you can get focussed on what content you need to create to generate traffic and you’re not just creating content mindlessly or jumping from tactic to tactic without giving it enough time to see results.
You can also potentially shorten the time to see results by running ads to your website and then maximise results by using very specifically crafted retargeting ads to people you know have already been to your site.
As long as your offer is solid and visitors know exactly what to do when they get to your website, it’s possible to multiply the return on your investment quite a lot.
So what’s next?
Congratulations if you’ve made it this far! It sounds like a lot to take in, but I’ve only scratched the surface with what’s possible.
You might be thinking:
- Jeez that sounds like a lot of work!
- Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Yes it’s a lot of hard work and will take time and effort on your part.
The internet has a bad reputation for creating unrealistic expectations about what’s possible with next to no effort or time spent.
If you compare it to the old school way of doing business though, the potential for success is much higher and the risk is much lower compared to the days of having to find a premises to rent or buy, fitting it out, having technology and systems installed
Doing things the old way could take at least several months and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars before you’ve made a cent from your business.
The relatively low cost of entry with an online business makes it so much easier and less stressful than it used to be.
But what if I don’t know how to do any of this?
That’s where I come in. Yes you will have work to do, but I’ll be with you every step of the way to guide you through the process.
My favourite part is when we get together, start digging into what your business is all about and seeing light bulbs start going off.
It’s really cool to see ideas come up and things taking shape that can be used to not only build a great website, but also how to use all the cool technology so readily available to us nowadays to improve your business, and ultimately your life.
Also, I’m a bit of a gadget nerd so I love trying new toys 🙂
Get results faster
Do you want to get your website and digital marketing sorted once and for all and start getting better results in your business?
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions at all about the process, or how I can help.