A Current Website Redesign Project

CLIENT:

Buckinghamshire Gardens Trust

THE BRIEF:

Buckinghamshire Gardens Trust is keen to bolster the number of members, volunteers, event attendees and trustees. They are particularly keen to encourage younger people to get involved with their organisation. In addition, they want to increase donations and sponsorship of research projects. These research projects help to protect our county’s parks and gardens.

The board identified that a website redesign would be essential for attracting interest, building awareness and encouraging supporters. They approached a number of local web design companies for a quote and Framework Digital made the cut.

THE CHALLENGE:

Like many organisations, Buckinghamshire Gardens Trust has evolved continuously since it was founded. The current website is full of content; both current and historic. Every document has value to the organisation and to specific groups of people. Having said this, the scale of content was impeding navigation and our challenge was to resolve this.

The aim was for a clean, fresh design that would resonate with visitors. The team recognised that the process of planning for the website development would involve them making collective decisions about what content their website visitors really wanted. Such decisions have resulted in detailed discussions about what must stay and what is no longer relevant.

The organisation also required simple ways in which content could be regularly added. This had to be achieved without compromising the intuitive navigation.

In addition, there was an issue with Google Maps. It currently showed the property of one of the Board and they wanted this to be changed. An overly complex set up of emails also needed attention.

THE SOLUTION:

Framework Digital began the process of redesigning the Buckinghamshire Gardens Trust website by clarifying the logo and branding. The new design would be used on the website, newsletters, research reports and membership forms. The aim is to give consistency to all marketing.

We worked with a core team to agree on what content had to be included in the main menu. We explored a range of options on how other information could be accessible, such as links in the footer and a ‘members-only’ section. Some were embraced, whilst others were ruled out. We have only presented ideas which will be straightforward for the organisation to manage and update.

Our website design included categorisation options. This would help organise all new articles and information that would be posted and act as a filter for visitors. We also added breadcrumbs to each sub-page. This would help visitors identify where they were and to make it easier to get back to previous pages.

Clear call to actions were added to every page to encourage the desired outcomes. Our aim was to set these up in such a way as to reduce manual processes, therefore reducing the work currently being undertaken by the team.

We were able to resolve the Google Maps and email issues.

INITIAL FEEDBACK:

We arranged a planning meeting, in which our preliminary vision for the website was shared. Following this, we received this feedback:

“Thank you so very much for presenting the initial draft of the new Bucks Gardens Trust website today; it is excellent, clear and will be easy to navigate. Thank you for all the thought you have given, and are giving, to its design and construction.”

Rosemary, Bucks Garden Trust 

 

When it comes to website design, there are some core essentials that apply no matter what your industry. Whether you are updating your online presence or starting afresh, you need to ensure that the following boxes are ticked.

  • Your website pages can be found online
  • Accessing the content on your website is intuitive
  • There is sufficient differentiation between your brand and the competition

This article explains how these three points can be achieved by your web design company. Let’s begin with the search.

How do customers find what they want?

In the vast majority of cases, customers will search online to find the products and services they want. Within a split second of any request being made, the search engines have to compile a list of the most relevant web pages. Their reputation depends on providing quality results that answer the search criteria.

Let’s be clear; no matter what the search phrase, your web page is immediately up against a vast number of contenders. To stand any chance of being found online, your website has to help the search engines to see that it is a quality site. As a core requirement, you need:

  • Unique and well-defined content (plenty of opportunities to show the correlation between your offer and the search term)
  • Mobile responsive or mobile-first web design
  • Fast Loading Pages
  • An SSL Certificate if you are requesting any information from visitors

The search engines keep a score of your website, it knows if a web page is regularly updated, visited and referred to online.

There are more than 100 factors that are calculated by the search engines to determine the correlation between a search query and the results displayed. It all happens in the split of second and 3.5 billion per day worldwide. Over time, your web pages will gain the authority, necessary to move up the ranks.

Please note, if you have an existing domain name, stick with it. The length of time that you have had an active website domain counts in your favour.

What are your Customers Looking For?

When it comes to website design, it doesn’t really matter whether you offer an exclusive range of luxury products or a vast selection of essential services. The top priority is providing a positive customer experience. At a basic level, your web pages should:

  • Be accessible on their device of choice
  • Be quick to load
  • Communicate what you offer at first glance (no matter which page they land on)
  • Be intuitive to navigate

As a business, you need to have a clear idea of what your customers want. What are their priorities? How can you meet their expectations? On this point, consider the company values as well as what you sell. The customer’s priorities could be finding a local company who actively supports the community, a business with strong eco-credentials or a company who has achieved a specific standard/membership.
Also, consider how your website content can be of value to them. Can you provide practical advice, inspiration, case studies or other useful information?

Maybe view your website as a Customer Service Representative, rather than as a Salesman. Prospect clients would certainly appreciate that approach and it may be in keeping with the style of your organisation.

How to Differentiate your Website from the Competition

If you are planning a new website design, it is useful to check out your online competition. This is not to copy what they are doing. Your goal should be to see what your brand is up against and ensure that your web pages are strong enough to compete. Can you spot gaps and offer anything that the competition is missing?

When it comes to standing apart, your website essentials are to:

  • Use unique branding and content (original copy and custom photos)
  • Be personable, with the aim of connecting with the customer
  • Focus on the positive outcomes of using your products and services
  • Ensure that your website has a straightforward CRM, so you can quickly add fresh content with confidence.

Yes, it will cost more to engage a professional photographer or copywriter, but original, quality content will reap rewards.

Website Essentials in Summary

In 2020, every business needs to be found online. As the competition has never been higher, you can not afford to cut corners or promote anything other than your brand at its best. To deliver a quality experience, your website design must:

  • Meet the core requirements of the search engines
  • Be easy for customers to access, navigate and identify with
  • Accurately reflect your brand
  • Be original
  • Be regularly updated

If your website can be found and if it offers a great customer experience, it can be your strongest sales tool. For further information or to request a meeting to discuss your website project please call 01296 320820 or email office@frameworkdigital.co.uk

 

Making your website mobile-friendly is no longer optional, priortising design for mobile devices is the next step.

SSL Certificate for Small Business Website

If you have a business website, you may have heard the phrase SSL Certificate, but what is it and is it something that you require?

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL Certificate is a means of proving to your customers that your website is secure.

Have you spotted the padlock icon that is visible in the URL bar when you open up a website. Maybe you’ve noticed the ‘https:’ that appears at the start of the website URL? These are the visible icons that indicate that an SSL certificate has been issued and installed. They tell visitors that this is a safe site to browse and help to establish trust in your brand.

In 2018, the ‘not secure’ message was added to all sites without an SSL Certificate. This is more visible than the padlock. The aim is to communicate that any information shared on this website is not encrypted and could be intercepted. Seeing the ‘not secure’ message does prevent some people from clicking onto a website. If you are reliant on generating leads through your website, then removing this potential sticking point is worthwhile.

Does Every Business Website Need an SSL Certificate?

If you walked up to a stranger and asked for their home address or bank details, they may be a little reticent about giving you this information. It is no different online.

Are you inviting visitors to sign up to a newsletter, make online purchases or complete an enquiry form? If you request any information on your website, then you need to show that you can be trusted to keep that information private. As such, an SSL Certificate is strongly advised. It indicates that your site is low risk and trustworthy. It is also one of many factors affecting the position of web pages in the listings. We’ll come back to that.

If your web pages do not include features that require visitors to provide information, an SSL Certificate is not vital, although it is good practice.

How does an SSL Certificate Affect Google Rankings?

Google rankings are determined by a great number of factors. Very few people know the algorithm, but we can be certain that it aims to provide the best results for every search. From the browser’s perspective, a secure site is favourable to a ‘not secure’ site. As such, this influences Google rankings. Take a look for yourself: the top listings for any search are typically ‘https:’ websites.’

How much does an SSL Certificate Cost?

Before you can make an informed decision, you need to know the cost of an SSL Certificate. There is not a single answer, as there are four different options and costs can be as little as a few pounds or up to around £500. It depends on the option you select and if you pay for installation services. The options are:

Domain Validated (DV SSL Certificate)

This basic level simply involves a check to ensure that the applicant has the right to use a specific domain name. It’s quick to process and involves minimal paperwork and can cost around £5 per year.

Organisational Validated (OV SSL Certificate)

Framework Digital would advise most SMEs to purchase this level. It involves some level of vetting, to prove that the business is legitimate. Some paperwork is required, but the process isn’t overly complicated. We can support the application, installation and configuration of the SSL Certificate when issued, and notify Google, for £120 per year. Contact Framework Digital if you would like further information.

Extended Validation (EV SSL Certificate)

The full package is ideal for e-commerce sites and businesses where client confidence and privacy is a priority. It includes checks on the exclusive right of the applicant to use the domain name, as well as thorough vetting of the organisation. The checks follow clearly defined guidelines to check that the business exists legally, physically and operationally and this information is audited on an annual basis. In addition to the padlock, EV SSL includes a green bar in the URL tab to indicate enhanced levels of security. Expect to pay around £500 a year for an EV SSL Certificate.

Wildcard SSL Certificates

These are a variation on DV SSL/OV/EV SSL, as one certificate covers the main domain and subdomains with a single application. It is a more cost-effective option for national chains, global brand and franchises, but pricing varies depending on the nature of the business.

SSL Certificate Renewal

An SSL certificate requires annual renewal. If a web design company or digital agency has been involved in the purchase and installation of the SSL Certificate, they should inform you when this is due to expire. You may want to keep your own records too.

Points for Consideration

Some agencies offer a free or low-cost SSL Certificate as part of the website design project. If this is something that you have been offered please check:
• That they are offering the SSL security level that is appropriate to your business
• What the SSL renewal fee will be
• Whether you are tied into them providing your SSL Renewal

When the SSL Certificate is installed and Google will re-index the website. This can temporarily affect the position of your web pages in the listings, but they will bounce back up.

Our Five-point Summary

  1. SSL certificates help to build trust in the digital world.
  2. If your business is serious about privacy, data protection and being a trusted brand, then they are highly recommended.
  3. There are different types of SSL Certificates, so ensure that you get the right level for your online operations.
  4. SSL Certificates are renewed annually, so this is not one one-off payment.
  5. Secure websites are viewed favourably by Google and are therefore more likely to be in the top listings.

DIY website is an option but not everyone who can write is a novelist.

This article is about our web design and development process that we suggest to follow when rethinking a web design project.