Five basic components that make great websites

Every web agency that you work with is different, and is likely to lean towards 2 or 3 of these areas more strongly than the others. If you’re comparing costs, quality or project outcomes – it makes sense to take this into account.

Leon CalverleyContent – what the user sees and reads when they visit – your photography, copywriting, headlines, illustrations, tables, product specs...

Technology – the engine behind the site – your CMS (Wordpress, Joomla), bespoke features, enquiry forms, back-end integration etc.

Design –the ‘pretty’ stuff, that wraps up your content – your brand, the desktop and mobile design, icons, interface design and colours.

Project management – the clever part that makes the whole thing come together – the requirements gathering, content plan, big idea, deployment and launch.

Promotion – the bit which helps your website reach its audience – SEO, PPC, remarketing, email marketing, social network advertising.

Of the five, the most misunderstood is content. It’s the ingredients in our metaphorical recipe, and it’s often overlooked in favour of ‘web design’ which is merely presentation.

You wouldn’t expect to be served cheap mincemeat in a Mayfair restaurant, would you? Similarly you cannot build a great website with second-rate content, no matter how attractive it looks.

Project management can be attributed to running the restaurant – nobody is happy with shoddy service, or a cold plate beneath that fillet mignon. On it goes – design is the presentation of the dish – you can mask a rough meal with style, but that facade crumbles when it’s tasted.

It makes sense, then, before starting a project to have an idea about what you will need – then you can compare like-for-like.

If you’re able to produce a detailed brief, covering all of the above areas then this is a bonus. Otherwise it may be prudent to employ a consultant or agency to define your requirements independently, before you begin. Although this may incur a cost, it will increase the quality of your brief – and increase the likelihood of a successful project. Leon Calverley Managing director, Door4