How we put a dynamic websites together
23rd May, 2017
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In this age of dynamic websites and constantly changing websites we thought we’d give the briefest overview of how we actually put a website together.

In days go by – we’d mock up some screenshots in Photoshop and show them to a client, usually a Homepage, Product Page and if the client was lucky an About Page or two.  It wasn’t really us being lazy – there really is little point in designing a whole website in Photoshop.  This worked and in the early 2000’s most clients coming to us were wanting brand new websites.

These days with the advent of WordPress, Magento, Fyneworks and a myriad of other ‘platforms’ we’ve had to change our approach to web design.  It’s far more often a matter of changing something that already exists.  You could say what is the point in re-inventing the wheel a website these days has a banner, some links, a category page, a product page and so on.  It’s true and despite our best efforts to introduce new concept, most clients required a tried and tested approach.

So – what do we do… First up we break down our websites as follows:

  • Static Pages – these are the About Us, Contact Us and simple pages that we know won’t be changed very much in the future.  Privacy, Terms and Conditions for example.  These pages form the back bone of any website.
  • Product & Category Pages – if the client is an Ecommerce website, then these come next – it’s vital to get a Product Page to sell and to ensure all the ingredients are in the right place, photos, prices, descriptions, Add to Basket buttons and so on. Again these are pages that won’t change that often once made – but they are almost invariably at the core of the database.
  • News and Blog Pages – these pages fall in the realm of ‘marketing’ and generate the Interest in the website – get these pages looking good and we have the bones of a successful website.  Yes – news stories will almost certainly follow a format or be template driven, but they are the heart of the character of the website (or at least the should be).
  • Home Page – if not designed last, this page is certainly built last and there is a good reason for that – The home page is a collection of bits and pieces of the rest – almost entirely dynamic it will list latest products, news and things that are going on.  It is therefore 100% right that it should be made up from the rest of the website.

First Impressions

Designing the Homepage last also makes sense from the ‘look feel’ aspect as well… If we get the boring About Us pages looking good the design of those pages will reflect to the next section… The Products and Categories will use the right colours and fonts and so on, the News and Blogs will take the design inspiration from all that has gone before. And finally the Home page as a representative of the whole will just fall into place with probably no design impetus at all.

It all makes for a much more logic method to making a website look great.  My heart actually sinks these days when clients ask me to design a Homepage or want to show me a single mock up they have had done.  First impression count right… but first impressions have to represent the whole and if you have a glorious Homepage with little behind it – then it’s just a big switch off.

Take Home

The real take home however, is that the Homepage become dynamic a page you never have to edit, as you add new products – the Homepage can be automatically updated, as new Stories are added – so your workload is reduced, the correct parts of the website are updated automatically.  And that is the key – reducing your workload to the barest minimum.

In this way your energies are directed to what counts, new stuff… rather than spending 3 hours updating 6 sections of the website – you do as I am doing here on this Blog, Tiltle, Content, Photo and everything is updated automatically.

Conclusions

In essence that is how we put together modern dynamic websites from scratch – we concentrate on the easy pages first and build up to that all important and stunning attention grabbing Homepage.  The beauty is this approach works across disciplines and platforms, we can apply the process to a basic HTML website as much as we can to WordPress, Magento or any other platform based website a client wishes to use.  it makes us extremely flexible.

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