Ecommerce Website Development.
The power of online.
Retail online is booming; year-on-year online sales continue to grow both as total value but also as a percentage of total retail sales. Shops that have stood for centuries are struggling whereas retailers who have embraced an online first mentality have had astonishing results, just ask the world’s richest man Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Online shopping is big business, so it is no surprise that many businesses have taken to building their brand both entirely online and as part of their in-store business offering..
The challenge with so many brands competing online, how do you stand out? That is where we come in.
When it comes to building an ecommerce website, you first need to consider what platform you want it built on. A platform is essentially a content management system (CMS) that has been developed to allow flexibility and editing capabilities without the need of a developer. If it wasn’t for the use of a CMS, we would need developers to change all aspects of our websites which just isn’t practical or scalable. There are many platforms to choose from, some you may have heard of many such as Shopify, Magento and Wix. We choose two of these platforms to build our websites; the first is WordPress and its famous WooCommerce plugin.
Whilst WordPress had its origins as a blogging CMS, powering 35% of all websites, it has been expanded to cater for an almost limitless type and style of website. This is partly due to the nature of WordPress being an open source platform, which means that anyone with the skillset can build functionality for it. Having such a high market share and being established for a long period of time, the likelihood of their not already being a plugin or theme for your requirements is minimal.
Themes & Plugins.
This leads nicely onto themes and plugins, which we should probably begin with explaining. Themes and plugins are the building blocks to any website built on WordPress. Themes are how the website looks, you can choose a variety of free and paid themes which will dictate how the website looks, these can also be developed bespoke for your website if you have specific requirements. Plugins are essentially add-ons that give your website additional functionality such as the ability to take payments, have contact forms and implement a booking system; if you have a requirement the chances are there is a plugin already developed to serve your needs.
So where do we Norfolk Agency come in? Well, as with all software there are elements to be mindful of:
- WordPress gets updated often and to ensure your plugins and theme work with the latest version of WordPress you are reliant on the developer to update them. If they do not then the plugin and/or theme may no longer work and also become a security risk to your website for hackers to penetrate
- With so many options, it is also unlikely that your particular choice of plugins and theme have all been tested together so you can find one conflict with the other which stops the website from working so you need to test them all with each update they have. An update from one plugin can stop another plugin from working and break your website without realising, we have seen this happen
- Plugins and themes are fantastic and how they work is to load certain code on your website, the more code you have and the type of build can slow your website down which can impact your website ranking and the experience you give your customers
Shopify is the other platform we build in, which is becoming increasingly more popular with clients who want a new ecommerce website. Whilst it is not as flexible as WordPress, it is more robust and seamless for creating an online store, and arguably easier to manage a store in than WooCommerce.
There are themes, paid and free, that again can be used to changed the style of the website. We have experience in creating themes both from scratch or manipulating existing themes which can be a great option if a theme exists that is similar to your requirements.
Our approach to website development always begins with an audit. We audit your existing website through a number of tools to learn how it is currently performing from an SEO perspective, how well the content is ranking and also from a conversion perspective. With any new website it is important to ensure the website results improve. This is why we are marketers first, it is not just how the website looks but how it performs, after all, the purpose of a website is to get more customers and sales right?
The next step is to get our designers to provide 3 homepage styles for you to choose from that all match the original discovery document you’ve completed, the audit we’ve conducted and the conversations we’ve had. Once you have chosen a design, we expand that design to include templates for the other required pages and await your feedback.
After all the designs are agreed, we build it! Now we feel it important that you are not tied to us for every change you may wish to make in the future. We build using a very user friendly interface that allows you to change text, images and some style without needing a developer. When it is all built, you can add the text and images and we make your website live!
We feel that working in this way allows you not only to have a stylish website but also an SEO and marketing first website. This enables you to get the most out of your website visitors and means you can easily perform future website optimisations yourself with data backing your decisions.
Get in touch to take your website to the next level.
Ready to increase your revenue?
Once a website has been developed and is ready to be deployed on the world wide web, you need to host it with a server that is connected to the internet so that users can view it. We are open with our hosting and maintenance packages in that you pay per hour for the amount of maintenance you require on the website, which we can help you define, and then a small amount to cover our hosting costs.