Why we build on WordPress
As a website owner or content creator, WordPress allows you to edit the pages and blog posts of your site as easily as a Word document. WordPress is the number one CMS (content management system) platform in use today. 23% of the web runs on it. Free regular update releases from WordPress keep your site safe and up to date.
Genesis provides a powerful, fast loading, secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to a higher level. Many do-it-yourself website owners are familiar with the Genesis framework. For about a hundred dollars, they purchased both a child theme and the Genesis Framework from StudioPress. A few minutes were required to upload a logo, and select some colors, and they were ready to start entering content. For an entry level blogger, just testing the waters, an off-the-shelf design can be a great place to start.
But not everyone wants a cookie cutter design solution already in use on countless thousands of other sites. For a small business, branding, consideration for targeted user personas and the company's conversion strategy generally call for a unique design.
That's where we come in. We create very affordable custom Genesis child themes for bloggers and small businesses that want their own unique layout and branding. The Genesis Framework is the "parent", and your custom "child" theme gives your website its own unique look and feel. By keeping the "design" of the site separate from the core code, both WordPress and Genesis framework can be upgraded, as new releases come out, without impacting the appearance or functionality. It's a brilliant system!
Our custom designed child themes come with 4 standard templates: home page, standard inner content page, blog archive and blog single post layouts. Our code is clean and well documented with comments. (This means any competent developer can easily make future revisions going forward.)
Responsive / mobile ready design
The internet is going mobile. Many of our client sites have mobile user traffic between 50 and 70%, and mobile users are on the increase. Search engines strive to rank only websites that provide a quality user experience for all devices on the first page of results, and responsive web design is usually the most cost effective approach to delivering that experience. All of our projects in 2015 are built responsive. Basic responsiveness includes scaling of items like image sliders and content areas, with shifting of widget panels as required, and a basic mobile menu at cell phone resolutions. (Advanced mobile menus are available for an additional cost.)
Training tutorials On a custom WordPress/Genesis project, we include tutorial videos actually created on your site. You will learn how to add and edit web pages, and blog posts. Where applicable, you will be taught how to update image slider and gallery images. We will also address updating core software and plugins, as new versions become available.
Our process and web design pricing
Discovery On a custom web design/development project, we begin by discussing your needs, goals and vision, your target market and content requirements. A sitemap is created, to map out your website's architecture. A functional specification document is prepared to set out in detail everything the website must do. We then create wireframes (simple visual layouts) of each of the page types we will be building.
Design In the design phase we produce mock-ups in Photoshop, based upon all the requirements approved in the Discovery process. Mock-ups are reviewed by you and refined/revised until approved. Upon sign-off on the design, the project is ready to move to production.
The discovery and design process can take anywhere from a few days, to a month or more, depending on the complexity of the design, the number of decision makers that must approve the work and how easy clients are to work with. The first two phases typically come in between $1,200 and $3,500 CAD. (Canadian dollar)
Production (Web development) In the production, or "code" phase of the project, the approved design is converted from the Photoshop (PSD) layouts into a functional website. We build sites on our local server. Upon completion, we provide a video walk-through of the entire site, with commentary. Upon approval, the website is completed, and it's ready for population with content. It is usually then moved to a beta location, where content can be added and edited on a live server. When the content has been entered, the new site is launched.
The development process typically takes about 10 days, for a standard 4 template Genesis/WordPress website, and starts at $2,000 CAD. Where there are more than the standard templates, add-on components like e-commerce, or special features, the process can take a bit longer, and that will affect the price.
Content Populating your pages and blog posts with content can vary greatly from project to project, and therefore is separate from the design and development process. On most ROI-centric web design projects, we are also hired as the SEO copywriters, and will provide a quote for the initial content and then release regular content, under a retainer agreement, for months or years to come. On other redesign projects, we are contracted to migrate all of the content from the former site into the new platform, and reconfigure it so it works in the new responsive design. And in other budget projects, the client will be creating and entering all of the content, so our role will only be design and development.