Our Website Design Process

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Get a website you can truly call your own:

Our aim is to make the entire process as painless as possible. Building a website that works and fits with your business goals means figuring out exactly how your business ticks, so finding out what you want to achieve will mean we can provide the best possible final product. If you’re not already online, talk to us first. Our experience is at your disposal.

…we listen to what you need, and not only make sure you get the right website for your business, but also provide sound advice for online success. Prompt, communicative, successful.

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Website Design Process

We believe in the basic principle that if you’re getting us to create your website design and build the content, it means you need our help.
From the moment you ask us to start building, to the moment it goes live on the web, you’ll know exactly where things are at, how long everything will take, and what date to expect your website to be handed over ready to go. You’ll have a dedicated project manager helping you through the process, and well make sure that you get the best possible advice throughout. We’re experts at what we do, and we don’t expect you to take over a half-done empty template. Each of our website packages includes a pre and post live SEO checklist that ensure the launch transition runs smoothly.
It’s in our interest to make sure you have a great experience with Forge Online, so that you can show others just how successful your Forge Online website project has become.

Website design Auckland - by Forge Online

Website Design & Build Process Steps in Brief

Discover Your Project Goals & Objectives. The first step is meeting with you to get a clear picture of your project goals and objectives. We then will build a project outline with you. Once you are happy we understand your project, we can then proceed to the next step.
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Once our project outline is established we begin with a website wireframe, sitemap, and site outline. Our designers build a design concept that embodies the goals you’ve outlined, while also making sure the site is functional and representative  of the front-end look & feel you require.
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After our design concept is approved, we will begin construction. We set up a project plan including project milestones that are well planned and coordinated. We then configure the servers, installing the CMS and building your site.
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Before your website is officially launched, we run it through rigorous testing to ensure cross-browser compatibility, functionality, responsiveness and usability. We then transition to the go live phase.
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We offer quality ongoing support services, telephone support, technical tips and assistance with content changes, plus we can supply extra services such as Google Analytics management, SEO Campaigns, Social Media Marketing, and Email Direct Marketing Campaigns. The internet is always evolving, and we’re there every step to help you.
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Website design Auckland - by Forge Online
Phase 1 - Planning Your Website

This is the foundation onto which we start planning out how your website design might look, what functions you require, and what other add-on features you might need to make your website design project successful. At Forge Online, we understand that your website will be a business tool that you’ll use to deliver leads or sales for your business. If you have specific business goals for your website, this is the time to share that information with our team so that we can advise you on how to best implement an online strategy to achieve them.

You’ll meet with our in-house project manager who will take you through a briefing document. On the basis of the notes we record, we reflect that back to you in a reverse brief for sign-off and approval to proceed to the design phase. Your project won’t progress unless we have your sign-off, but you should see this document only as a guide for use to proceed. You don’t have to have your text content exactly right, or your photos picture perfect, as these are things that can be changed very easily during or after the build process.

If your project has been identified as having specific technical requirements, like say: needing a booking calendar, on-page calculator or special membership section, we will also record notes during the same or a separate briefing meeting on how your specialised function should work and what it should look like. Many complex functions already exist and can be purchased as add-ons, but custom ones made or modified especially for you will be at standard hourly rates for development. You will be provided with an overview of works and estimate of costs. Often, there are relatively low cost workarounds possible, and you should be open to considering these if they can significantly reduce your development costs. There will be a separate cost and project approval process for custom development work.

This is also a good time to start thinking about your overall digital marketing strategy, if you haven’t already done so. You might want to consider how people will find your website, what sort of marketing strategies you’ll use from day 1, and how you plan to convert website visitors into business. We have an organic search specialist in-house who can provide extra services for Google search and gaining rank through SEO, plus you could look at paid advertising channels like Google Adwords to drive immediate traffic to your website once launched, and you may need to develop Social Media exposure as well. Talk to us about these options, because if you are not investing in an SEO, Adwords or Social Media campaign alongside your website design project, you’ll need to implement those yourself. Your website design and build does not include any of these campaigns by default.

If you already purchased extended SEO services outside of our 2 hour pre-launch and post launch checks, and depending on number of hours purchased, our SEO specialist will review your plan as well and advise if there are any issues anticipated with the briefing document.

What you will need to provide during this phase:

1. Your business branding guidelines. This may consist of just a logo file, but may also include your overall design guidelines that you’ve applied to your other marketing collateral. When providing a logo digital file, please ensure it has the right format and size and is ready to use and can be sampled to different sizes. For all other marketing collateral, we’ll need clear instruction on how it’s supposed to be applied to your website design. Check with our project manager for guidelines of file sizes and types.

2. A selection of at least 3 website designs that you like, and reasons why you like them. Elements you should look at are in relation to the use of colours, shapes, style and placement on images etc, but not specific texts or images. If your brand image relies heavily on the quality or content of photos, you will need to supply them. These can have a very large impact on how your website design draft might look. For most first drafts of any website design, we use placeholder text and images, unless you have provided them at this stage with clear guidelines on how we can use them.

3. Your approval is required in writing (email is fine) for the reverse brief. We just want to make sure that we go in the right direction, and that we accurately captured your intentions.

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Website design Auckland - by Forge Online
Phase 2 - Website Design

We’ll take note of what you’ve said about the three websites you liked, and combine that with any text and images you have already supplied. Together with your logo and/or brand guidelines, we’ll assemble a custom website design for your project. There are a limited number of revisions we can make as included in your website design project, so when you receive your first draft website design from us you should think carefully about what elements you don’t like and why. If you didn’t supply text or images ahead of your website design being created, then your design will contain placeholder images and texts that might seem distracting or give a false impression of how your design might end up looking once finished. The first impression of a design draft can rely very heavily on the images used, so if we didn’t use images that look right to you, you may need to guide us further on what you prefer, or you will need to supply your own photography work. If you don’t have any, let us know. We can recommend a few photographers you could use, or you may want to commission your own.

For our design phase, we don’t make multiple designs for your selection, but we will provide two revisions within your website design package price. If you would like extended design services, we would be very happy to discuss your needs. Extra design time can be purchased at standard hourly rates, and we have brand development specialists in-house if you require help to establish your logo and brand image.

If you already purchased extended SEO services outside of our 2 hour pre-launch and post launch checks, and depending on number of hours purchased, our SEO specialist will review your design as well and advise if there are any issues anticipated with the layout.

What we recommend you provide during this phase:

1. Your own photos, so that you can get the best idea of what your finished home page might look like. At this stage, we only need home page images, unless you are investing in the design of extra landing pages for other parts of your website. Extended design is available at standard hourly rates.

2. Your own texts, so that we can avoid using “Lorem Ipsum” placeholder text in your design draft. It’s always best if you have your own home page content prepared, and have supplied that to us before we start your first design draft. Website design is primarily about ‘look and feel’, the actual content of text and images is separate from that. Again, we won’t need text for other pages just yet, unless you’ve commissioned us to design extra landing pages. Extended design is available at standard hourly rates.

3. Your approval is required in writing (email is fine) for the design draft, or your clear guidance on what you need changed for a second draft. We just want to make sure that go in the right direction, and that we accurately portrayed your intentions.

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Website design Auckland - by Forge Online
Phase 3 - Website Construction

Once we have your approval for a design of the home page, we start constructing the website’s framework. That includes installing the current version of the CMS we will use, and any functions that where included such as slide show applications, ecommerce applications and security systems. These may not be apparent in the build until you provide the rest of the content for your website because many functions that the CMS will be equipped to manage can’t display anything unless it contains at least some content. The initial stage of development is called ‘skinning’. That’s the process by which your custom design is applied to the website framework. It includes the logo, header, and use of colours, style of buttons, footer content, and links to base pages, but not content writing or supply of images. Constructing a website is a little bit like building a house. This is the phase where the framework is built, walls erected, and outside façade is applied including paint-work (colour selections). It doesn’t yet include the furniture, carpets, appliances and any other fittings, fixtures or interior décor which are not typically supplied by the builder.

If you purchased extended SEO services outside of our 2 hour pre-launch and post launch checks, and depending on number of hours purchased, this is where our SEO specialist starts getting involved in your build process and will guide you on what kind of text content you need to provide.

What we recommend you provide during this phase:

1. This is the best time to send us your website content, which includes text, images and videos. If you want us to create any of these for you, please discuss your needs with your Forge Online project manager. Extended content services are available at standard hourly rates.

2. Any details such as contact phone numbers, email addresses, and any instructions around how your content may need to be arranged. If you prefer Forge Online to make choices around content placement, you can leave that to us, up until the limit of your included content loading hours. We will place content per our experience around best practices, but this may not match your expectations, so stay in touch with your project manager and ask questions if you need anything clarified. The content loading process cannot take place without you supplying the information, so timing for the project may depend on how soon you can provide what is needed.

At the end of the construction phase, your website design will have been applied to the framework, but may not have much of your own content in it yet. You’ll be provided with a URL link to view the construction online, which will be viewable to anyone you share the link with. Because content relies on you as the source, the next phase is very important for you to work closely with the Forge Online project manager to co-ordinate tasks.

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Website design Auckland - by Forge Online
Phase 4 - Website Content Loading by Forge Online

Your website may include a fixed number of hours for Forge Online to add your text, images, and videos or file attachments to the website build. Usually, the pages we prioritise will be common landing pages such as Home, About Us, Contact Us, Product landing page, Services landing page (5 pages). We rely almost entirely on content you provide, unless you have asked us to supply copywriting and photography services, available by quotation. These elements are not part of the design, which was completed at Phase 2, or those applied to your website framework at Phase 3. For some clients who have more content to be loaded but have not purchased extra content loading time, the next phase will be for you to complete. If you need help getting through the work, please let us know how we can help. Extra content loading time is available from Forge Online at standard hourly rates.

Again, content loading can be compared to building a house: At this stage the outer shell is complete, walls painted, doors placed, plumbing & electricity supplied, and we’re starting to add furniture, toilet and kitchen etc, within the package purchased. The package may not cover all of the interior fittings or décor. We recommend the essential elements be added first. You can always get a new couch, bed or TV later, and to the outside world, the home will appear near complete.

If you already purchased extended SEO services outside of our 2 hour pre-launch and post launch checks, and depending on number of hours purchased, our SEO specialist will assist with editing reviewing and texts to make them more likely to rank in Google and will apply them to the website according to best practice.

What you must provide during this phase:

1. All content you need us to load including texts, images and videos. Content loading time for Forge Online to upload your content is not open-ended, so coordinate with your Forge Online project manager around which parts of the content are your priority. When we run out of time included by your website design package, we will hand over the balance of the content loading tasks to you. If you are not familiar with the CMS, you can attend Phase 7 CMS training at our office ahead of the Go-Live phase. The content loading process cannot take place without you supplying the information, so timing for the project may depend on how soon you can provide what is needed.

2. Please advise us of any connected services that you currently have in your website, such as Google Analytics or Google Search Console. These won’t be detected and transferred automatically. If you have purchased additional products or services for your website, or need to connect third-party features such as Google Calendar, accounting APIs or MailChimp, we will need full administrative access to those systems. Connection to third-party systems are not covered by our warranty, and are normally not included in website design packages, so extra charges may apply and you will be liable for any associated costs in connection, support or user licenses.

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Website design Auckland - by Forge Online
Phase 5 - Website Content Loading by Client

This is the stage where we will provide you with the keys to the new website. You will be able to log in as an Administrator of the website, add pages and text or image content, as much as you like. Forge Online does not apply any restriction on volume of text content that you can add, and you can create as many additional pages, products and blog posts etc as you like. We do however have a fair use policy in place, so we recommend that any images or videos you upload will not exceed a total of 1GB of disc space at any time. If you think you will need more than this, please discuss your needs with our project manager. Extra space can be purchased and is billed per Gigabyte You must also advise us if you anticipate that your website will attract a large amount of traffic, so that we can discuss extended bandwidth, or else your website might perform badly under large traffic loads. Please note that timing will be up to you here and we won’t launch your website unless instructed. If the content is presentable and at least as good as or better than your old website, we strongly recommend you don’t delay in letting us set the new website live so that the new website design can start winning business as soon as possible.

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Website design Auckland - by Forge Online
Phase 6 - Website Go-Live

Once you’ve given us the signal to set your website live, we will apply the pre-launch SEO checks. We’ll need at least 24 hours’ notice for setting a website live. The SEO checks are designed to make sure the transition to live is as smooth as possible for Google search and is a 1 hour checklist. It doesn’t include extended SEO tasks such as optimisation of your pages or content, so if you haven’t purchased this as an extra, we recommend you get advice on how this might affect your website and how you can apply SEO to improve your current rank position. If you previously invested in SEO and need to preserve particular aspects, you will also need to purchase additional SEO time for our specialist to transfer and re-apply working aspects, unless you can apply the SEO yourself. Our SEO specialist can also advise you on how to best preserve and build on the rank of your website in Google, and you may want request some SEO consultation time at standard hourly rates.

Once live, there are several submissions actioned by our SEO specialist that get your website into Google as quickly as possible. These don’t guarantee rank in any way, but they do help Google to recognise that your website has just been refreshed.

Most web companies do not do any pre-live or post-live SEO tasks on a website for the launch phase, but at Forge Online, we believe this service is essential. If you purchased SEO time to cover extra tasks during the go-live process, our in-house specialist will provide extra hands-on work at this point to kick your website off to the best possible start, well beyond the fundamentals.

Liken this phase to installing a driveway, paving a pathway to the door and opening up your home to guests. So long as your essential services are ready and main areas of your home like your lounge and dining area have furniture, you can easily host guests to your site. You might well have an empty space in the kitchen waiting for your new dishwasher, but it doesn’t affect your guest’s experience in any significant way.

What you must provide during this phase:

1. Your domain name administrative access is required. This is not the login for your old website. It’s the admin panel for whoever has sold you the domain name itself. This may be suppliers like Spark, Vodafone, Domains4less, Domainz, 1stDomains etc. and may or may not be the current host of your website. Check with our FAQ about this. If you’re still not sure who this is referring to, let us know and we can help you track it down. Alternatively, you can call your domain name provider and request that they make the changes required. Check with your Forge Online project manager. The change-over in settings can be confusing if you are not familiar with it, so we’d be glad to help as much as we can. Note that we do not host email services. We don’t have admin authority with your domain provider, so we can’t action the process without your involvement.

2. We will need your written approval to launch your website. An email will be fine.

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Phase 7 - Website User-Training

Once your new website design has gone live, and if you haven’t already attended training in the earlier phases, we suggest that you come to see us for some training on how to operate your new Open Source website. Part of the beauty of what you have purchased is that there will be literally thousands of excellent learning resources available for it. We’ll show you how you can add or change pages, add or change texts, add or change images, and we’ll connect you with extra training resources. If you’d like to change much more than text, image or videos but don’t already know how, feel free to call our Support helpline for assistance on 09 302 0447. We can usually action minor changes at no cost to you, but if you require more substantial work done, our web developers are available at standard hourly rates. You can also reach us on support@forge.co.nz or use our Contact Form. Support hours are 8:30am to 5:30pm Mon-Fri excluding public holidays. If you would like to receive extra training at any time, please discuss your needs with our project manager.

Phase 8 - Website Further Content Additions

This is the post-live content loading phase. You may have chosen to set your website live before all of the text, images or video content was uploaded or added to the site. If you would like Forge Online to assist you in adding further content, you will need to provide collated information and provide clear instruction on how to apply your content into the website. Our extended content loading time is billable on standard hourly rates, and are subject to scheduling in our workflow.

Phase 9 - Driving Website Traffic & Business

Once your website is live and you’re satisfied that it’s ready to get lots of visitors and customers, you might want to consider different ways that you can achieve that. Driving traffic through paid advertising is a great way to get visitors to your website quickly. SEO services applied to your website will help you build long-term success that lasts even after your SEO work is complete.

Forge Online can offer the following additional services to drive traffic:

  1. Holistic digital marketing strategy development (recommended)
  2. SEO services including on-page and off-page optimisation
  3. Google Adwords Display and Search Network paid advertising
  4. Re-marketing through Google or Facebook
  5. Social Media Marketing
  6. Email Direct Marketing

Call for a no-obligation consultation:

PH 09 302 0447

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Most business owners start a website project with a goal in mind, but end up with a website that can’t achieve what they were really after. At Forge, we’ve discovered that almost every business owner wants their website to get found in Google search, but changes to Google’s website content guidelines since 2013 have meant that many older websites are losing rank fast. We know how to create websites that work for organic search. Ask us for advice when planning your new site.

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