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21st March, 2021

From code to content. The complete guide to business website essentials

93ft have been custom building beautiful, bespoke websites for businesses for over 16 years. But what, actually, makes a really great website?

A website that not only looks and feels incredible, but performs well and delivers a great return on investment (ROI)? Here’s the 93ft guide to the 12 essential aspects your business’ site needs.

12. Custom Design and Build

Every single 93ft website is 100% bespoke. 

We don’t make websites from templates, or use off-the-shelf designs.

We design, develop and deliver world class bespoke websites that are tailor made for your brand - we never mould a website template into something it doesn’t want to be. Instead, your site is grown from the ground up, along with your brand, to produce a site that is 100% you.

Bespoke development means less room for error. 

Our code ensures the pages of your website stay on brand, look how they’re intended to look and perform how they’re intended to perform. 

93ft websites are made using open source code, meaning they can operate independently to us. This gives you and your website the confidence and freedom to enhance your website into the future, without being reliant on 93ft to do so. Or any other third party website platform.

11. Cyber Security

Think cyber security is just for banks and giant multinationals? In fact, 43% of all cyber attacks are aimed at small - medium businesses

The implications of a security breach are vast and far reaching; ranging from identity theft - yours, your employees’ and your customers’ - to being blacklisted by search engines, loss of revenue to loss of reputation.

Third party websites are hacked daily. A study of over 40,000 WordPress websites showed that more than 70% are vulnerable to cyber attack (that’s just one of the reasons we’re so passionate about using open source code rather than relying on third party platforms). 

All 93ft websites are created with superior security built in. We use a unique custom built system that uses all the latest technology to protect you, your customers and your business.

10. Website Functionality

Your business and your brand are unique. What you need from your website is different from what other businesses need from theirs - even ones in your industry. 

93ft websites are highly adaptable - because they’re built from scratch for you. 

Because we’re not limited by a third party platform, we can provide the very specific functions our customers need right from the start, and as part of site updates - so your website grows with your business.  

None of this means our websites are overly complicated or difficult for you to use, though. Our sites and content management systems (CMS) are built using PHP and MySQL - the same core technology as WordPress. 

Application programming interfaces (APIs) such as booking widgets have endless customisation options in our bespoke developments. So if you need additional APIs we write the code - simple and straightforward, without the need to develop and publish plugins. 

Bespoke websites give you all the functionality you need - and none of the clutter you don’t.

9. Unique Branding

Your website has to be recognisably yours - your readers need to know they’re on your site. Colour, typography, logo - the visual representation of your branding is your brand identity. It builds trust and brand awareness, helps you form and maintain connections with your audience, and compete for customer loyalty. 

And that means strong, coherent branding across your site and beyond. 

93ft’s brand design team works side-by-side with our web development team. It’s not a case of creating one aspect and moulding the other to fit - your brand and your website grow organically together.

A bespoke website means the design and behaviour of your site is custom made for your business and your brand. Work with 93ft to develop your brands online behaviour and the digital experience it provides your audience.

These are some of the hidden secrets of building a successful website. Unlike templates - which usually demand you make sacrifices in what you want to achieve - a bespoke design allows for a site which is 100% you and your brand.

We can also find powerful and relevant domain names for your business. We secure hard to obtain domains to protect your brand - leading to increased equity in the long term.

Think of your favourite brand. What do you love about them? Great brands simply aren’t stumbled upon - they’re designed.

8. Digital Content

Power your website up with the right images, video and most importantly… words!

It’s all too easy to see copy as an after-thought - something you get round to after everything else is taken care of - but a stunning website with subpar copy won’t cut it. 

Great copy tells a story; it inspires, evokes desire and joy. It compels action. Great copy speaks directly to your target audience so they feel understood. It creates a lasting bond, so you’re the one they come back to time after time. 

Great copy answers questions and addresses objections to a sale before the reader even realises they have them. It differentiates between your product and the rest, turning yours into the must have. 

When 47% of buyers view three to five pieces of content before entering into the sales process, content marketing is a crucial element in every business’ toolkit. We create a focused content strategy that positions you as the expert in your field, starts conversations, keeps you top of mind, drives conversions and helps you get found on Google (more on that later).

Film and photography are powerful tools in your content marketing strategy. Our team can create bespoke video and images for your business, or provide the creative direction to your team.

7. Value of Design

What’s the difference between a website that’s been put together - and a site that’s been designed?

In short, design means giving the brand, the product, the service, the consideration it deserves. Clarity, confidence, impact - all attributes that good design brings to any business looking to market itself better.

Understanding and harnessing the power of design enhances customer experience, strengthens brand loyalty and drives sales.

Brilliant and effective website design incorporates a range of factors from colour and contrast to typography and film. 

The site has to look amazing, and also directly affect visitor behaviour. A Hubspot A/B test showed that something as seemingly simple as the colour of a button can drive a massive 21% increase in conversions.

You don’t have to choose between form and function. 

93ft uses our combined decades of design experience to create a website which gets your message across, engages your visitors and, always, focuses on your business’ goals.

6. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) 

SEO is how your website gets found. Without it, you might as well not have a website at all. 

It’s a commonly held myth that third party platforms such as Wordpress perform better in the search engines than bespoke sites. With the correct approach, optimal use of the tools in our platform, and a focused strategy of relevant and valuable content, we’ve proven that reaching your SEO goals is totally achievable. 

93ft starts from the beginning with your SEO (as we do with everything else). We make sure your site is super fast loading and easily crawlable. We let the search engines know what they can and can’t index. We get the technical stuff spot on.

We set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console and make sure you know how to use them. We’ll help you identify the factors that count.

We do keyword research that identifies the exact terms you need to target - then we make sure each page is perfectly optimised for those terms. 

But Google rewards sites that are created with humans in mind, and an effective SEO strategy doesn’t have to mean a lack of creativity. Our copywriters craft copy and content that speaks to hearts and minds - and gets you found.

5. Responsive Designs

Websites are often created for desktop, then adapted for mobile - an approach which misses the fact that around 50% of world wide web traffic is via mobile, and 79% of smartphone users make online purchases using their mobile device

When the majority of your customers use mobile, it pays not to neglect them. 

93ft develop responsive and mobile first designs to deliver the best experience on mobile devices, and ensure smooth and speedy browsing. This is great for your customers - and a key factor for improving your Google page result ranking.

We factor the likely viewing practices of your audience into our design process - then recommend refining your website after your launch to further optimise the sites performance based on the actual data captured within Google Analytics.

4. Updatable Content

Regularly updated websites perform better in everything from security to SEO. 

As part of 93ft’s aftercare packages, anything on your website that needs updating regularly will be editable in the CMS by us or by you - whichever works best for your business.

We look at your site’s ongoing needs, along with your opportunities for growth, and design and develop the appropriate updates. 

As part of your content marketing strategy, we help you plan, create and consistently schedule content that keeps your audience happy as well as the search engines.

3. User Experience (UX)

User experience, if you want to get technical, “describes the ergonomics of human-system interaction”. 

Simply put, UX incorporates all the factors affecting how a user (which just means a site visitor, or a person using your app) perceives your website, such as visual design, information architecture, communications and copywriting. It’s about the emotions users feel as they browse your site or use your app, their responses (physical and psychological), and their resulting behaviours.

Navigation and information architecture - how a site is laid out to enable the user to easily find their way around and get the information they need - is integral to website design and development. 

93ft uses site mapping, content inventory and consumer research to create blueprints for a site which delivers the best digital experience for your visitors.

2. Aftercare

Working with a team that supports you and your business means we don’t close our doors even after your site is delivered. 

93ft can provide site performance and insight reviews every 6-months - to look at the health of your website, identify necessary updates and discuss opportunities for growth. Available without charge to all our digital clients. 

We make sure that you’re as happy with your site 3 years later, as you were the day you signed off on it.

1. Return on Investment (ROI)

A new website can be a big investment - so how do you calculate the value it adds to your business?

Calculating ROI starts with collecting the data. We’ll install Google Analytics on your site - a powerful and free tool provided by the world’s biggest search engine - and we’ll show you exactly how to use it to track visitors and measure the revenue your new site generates.

Understand your sales funnel. Once you know how many visitors your website attracts, you’ll need to understand how they move through your sales funnel. How many site visitors become enquiries, and of those, what’s the percentage who end up as customers?

Calculate your customer lifetime value. How much revenue can you expect from one customer over the course of their interaction with your business?

Have firmly established goals. At your 93ft strategy meeting, we’ll work with you to pin down your goals - that way you’ll know when you’ve exceeded them.

Monitor your search engine rankings. Improvements in SEO don’t happen overnight, but with a properly optimised website including the technical foundations, and a strong content strategy, you will start to move up the rankings. Our focused strategy and content marketing packages will help you get to Page 1.

Questions to ask your web developer

An impressive portfolio is one factor to take into consideration when choosing the web developer for your business’ new site - but nothing beats an honest conversation. 

Here’s 10 questions your prospective web developer should be able to answer without breaking a sweat. 

1. Have you worked on projects like mine before?
It’s not essential, but when a company has experience in your industry it shows you they know how to get results for a business like yours. If you need an e-commerce site and they’ve never built one before, do you want to be their guinea pig?

2. How long does it take?
Ideally, this won’t be a one word answer. If a company says they’ll develop your site or build your brand in a week - does that give you the reassurance that they’ll spend the time and creative energy necessary to design something truly tailored to your needs? 

3. What services do you provide?
Are they a one stop shop for everything from writing original code to writing original copy, logo design and social media content, film production and SEO - or do you need to look elsewhere for some of the elements you need? 

4. Will I be able to edit my site myself?
If a company makes you rely on them for everything from blog posts to security updates - it can start to feel like you’re being held hostage. Is it possible to manage certain activities yourself and be shown how with the support of a team behind you?

5. Do you offer a content marketing package?
Content marketing - blogging, email marketing and social media - generates 3 times more leads than paid ads, improves visitor engagement and boosts your search engine rankings - so it’s worth investigating what your web development company can do. 

6. What are your plans for site security?
What security systems do they include? Have they fixed hacked sites before? How will they protect your business, staff and customers from cyber attack?

7. Do you use templates or custom design your sites
Will they choose a template and mould your needs to fit? Or can they create something bespoke and individual to your business?

8. What aftercare do you provide?
Just as you don’t want to be overly reliant on your developer after the site is delivered - neither do you want them to leave you high and dry. Make sure you know what their aftercare includes, who you can turn to if you need help and how much you’ll be expected to pay for routine updates. 

9. Will my current site go down while my new site is being developed?
Transitioning from your old site to the new and improved version should be seamless. How will your developers ensure your customers have a smooth journey from old site to new? Will switching affect my position in the search engines?

10. How will you decide what my website needs?
In order to create a website that delivers, your developers should define not just what you want, but what you really need.

How? By working collaboratively with you right from the beginning, by developing a strong and focused strategy that helps you achieve your goals (and formulate ambitious new ones), and by challenging the status quo to help you see opportunities for growth you’d never even considered.

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