Websites are central to the digital experience of most businesses. They’re often one of the first touchpoints customers have with your brand, so it’s important that they not only look good, but also meet your customers’ needs and are reliable and easy to maintain.
The idea of launching a new website, or refreshing your existing one, sounds exciting, but it’s important to follow a structured, researched-based process before jumping into the build.
At Codex, we break the process of building new digital experiences down into three discrete phases. This allows us to manage expectations, forecast budgets, and set achievable timeframes. The three phases are:
- Design & Define
- Deliver & Refine
During the Discovery phase, we aim to understand both your business’s and your customers’ needs. We do this through discovery workshops, where we dig in to the problems that you are trying to solve and help you articulate a clear product vision. This is followed by a range of other activities including persona development, user story creation and customer journey mapping. We also start to consider the technical (non-functional) requirements of the website, which is the focus of this blog. When considering these non-functional requirements, we start with four key questions:
1. What will the website be built on?
Fortunately, the days of having to choose between the two extremes of a hand-code website in HTML and CSS or an extremely expensive, proprietary Content Management Systems (CMS) are long gone. The emergence of open source software and new web frameworks means there are now numerous low-cost options available for building websites or web applications. Some of the most popular are:
- WordPress – almost 40% of the world’s websites are powered by WordPress, and for good reason. It’s a heavily supported, incredibly powerful content management system that allows for indefinite customisation options. It’s perfect for small to medium-sized websites and businesses that require a relative amount of dynamic functionality. WordPress websites often integrate very easily with other platforms including CRMs like HubSpot, marketing tools like Mailchimp, booking engines like SimplyBook.me, and analytics services such as Google Analytics.
- Web frameworks such as React, Angular and Vue – if you’re considering building a dynamic website or web application that requires complex user interaction, it would be worth your while chatting to the Codex Digital Experience team about building a custom digital experience that suits your needs. With a custom-built solution, the sky’s the limit! All of our web development is done in-house by our team in Brisbane. We believe in the concept of ‘reliable collaboration’, which means that it’s only through working closely together that we’re able to ensure the best outcomes.
- Squarespace, Webflow, Wix and similar – popular with Australian web design agencies, and perfect for small companies wanting to establish their web presence quickly. These drag-and-drop builders allow you to create simple websites quickly and easily. For the majority of businesses, we would recommend opting for a more scalable, customisable solution such as WordPress. Although easy to use, Squarespace and similar platforms often lack the flexibility and code customisation options offered by WordPress and custom-builds.
2. Where will the website be hosted?
Website hosting can be daunting for those that don’t understand the technical lingo. DNS, TTL, cPanel, Apache, PHP, what does it all mean?! During Discovery, our team will plan the technical architecture of your website, as well as its hosting requirements. Depending on your use case, we will often recommend one of the following:
- Managed WordPress hosting – great for client-facing WordPress websites that need flexibility and security. These servers are optimised for WordPress builds, and many offer Australian-based hosting options.
- Virtual private servers – dedicated web hosting servers may come in handy if your website requires a lot of resources (such as high traffic websites).
- Customised cloud infrastructure, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) – great for large-scale custom web projects that are built on frameworks such as React, Angular and Vue. AWS and the like allow you to scale resources up and down based on real-time requirements, and offer a great deal of long-term scalability and flexibility.
Regardless of the option your digital project requires, we will always ensure that your website is built to scale, so that your customers have a consistently positive digital experience. We understand that web hosting is tricky, which is why we take the guesswork out of identifying which architecture is right for you and your project.
3. How will the website be secured?
It’s often easy to overlook the importance of security, especially when you are up against a tight deadline to launch the website and make it available to your customers. Most web hosts advertise that they’re “very secure”, and it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between real security protocols and marketing/sales speak. Along with scalability, security is at the top of the priority list when it comes to building reliable digital experiences. As part of our Discovery process, we dig deep into the security options offered by web hosts to provide you with recommendations to keep your site secure into the future. This includes multifactor authentication, malware detection and protection tools, SSL encryption and more. Many website design agencies focus on the look and feel of the website, but don’t have a deep understanding of the technical requirements needed to maintain a secure website. At Codex, our team is made up of experts with deep experience that guide you through the website design and development process to ensure a secure outcome.
4. What is your ongoing commitment to the website going to be?
Unfortunately, websites aren’t something that you can just set and forget. They need regular maintenance to ensure that everything is still running smoothly. This includes checking for platform and security upgrades, plugin updates, ensuring antivirus and backup tools are working as expected, and that there’s no suspicious login or user activity. At Codex, we believe that ongoing service level agreements shouldn’t just be focussed on the day-to-day upkeep (hygiene) of the website, but should also include room for continuous improvement of your digital experience. The digital landscape is constantly changing, and your customers’ needs may also evolve. It’s important to be proactive, not reactive, in the digital world, and our Brisbane-based website development team can help make sure that you’re always on the front foot of website updates and improvements.
Are these four questions something you have considered? If not, we strongly recommend that you get in touch with our Digital Experience team. Whether you’re looking for an experienced WordPress development agency in Brisbane, require a custom web app build, or need help redesigning your business’s digital experience, we’d love to sit down and explore how you and your business could benefit from working with us.