Building a private equity website

 

  1. First you decide on a style - i.e. Victorian, Tudor, Craftsman, etc. The brand is like the building style - contemporary, classic, minimalistic, etc. The business name, the corporate colours, the shape of the mark and fonts all contribute to the brand and must be decided before designing and building the site.
  2. Decide on the scope and the size of the project - how will the site be used? Home many rooms are needed, and how do you make the best use of space? Can all the important content be reached within 2 clicks? If it's a basic site, are you going to add bells and whistles later on?
  3. Choose a plot of land, i.e. the hosting platform and buy your domain. Decide on the important amenities, such as contact forms, blog feeds, social widgets, videos, and image carousels. The wireframe serves as the blueprint, and is used as a guide by the designer and the developer. Write out the content you want to include, so you know how much square footage each room must be.
  4. Sketch out a visual representation that combines all the previous components, like an architectural drawing.
  5. Build your foundation, or content management system. The main ones we use are:
    • Wordpress - easy for the client to use, but a bit clunky to build. This is a good choice if the client will want to add more content later, i.e. a blog. The underlying software is continuously being improved upon by a huge network of volunteers, and is relatively easy to upgrade when new versions come out.
    • Drupal - less user friendly for the end client, but faster and easier for the developer to work with. Custom - tailored specifically to the client's needs. More expensive and time-consuming to build, but can be ideal for a large client who wants a bespoke system.
    • Static HTML
    • There are other options out there, like Joomla, that we don't typically recommend for various reasons.
  6. Frame the house by creating pages and menus.
  7. Furnish the home with rich content.
  8. Maintain the home by revisiting the design and content every few months. A well-built site can be freshened up relatively inexpensively and reduce the need for complete overhauls.

A few things to note about the process of building a website:

  • The steps are in order for a reason. We can't skip steps without repeating a bunch of work later on. Revisiting previous steps is like having your building contractor demolish walls and start over. This is the major source of budget and timeline problems.
  • Each stage requires approval from the client and general contractor (i.e. us). The sooner the client gives the go-ahead, the sooner the team can move on to the next stage. Delayed approvals are another big source of missed deadlines. Make sure the different participants have the materials they need when they need them. For example, it's important to have the content ready when it's time to populate the pages. Google values timely, relevant content. Adding fresh content regularly tells Google that the site is a good place to send visitors.