How it all works.
We get it — it can be daunting tackling that website project. But we’re here to walk you through it. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have, steering away from industry jargon and sharing our years of experience and knowledge with you.
01. First Meeting
After an enquiry, we reach out to arrange a meeting, during which we listen and absorb your ideas, concerns, challenges and your hopes and expectations of us.
02. Project Spec
Next, we define and prioritise the project needs to create a refined budget-efficient operation list and estimated delivery time.
03. Ready. Steady. Go!
Once we’re both agreed on all the terms, we sign a contract outlining everything clearly and handling initial payments, and then Align is ready to get to work for you.
Align’s team defines and refines the project goal by researching your business, market and all those particularly you-relevant factors, in order to best understand your industry, challenges and opportunities.
Before starting final design and development, we share our ideas, wireframes or rough sketches with you to see if we are on the right track - we all want to avoid wasted time, money and effort!
Once we’ve established that strong strategic base, we finalise and share with you the visual concepts, and together we decide with which designs to forge ahead.
We start developing the website using your selection of technology. If you are not sure of the platform, we’re here to guide you through the best and most suitable systems available.
Once everything is ready to go, you sign off and then we either launch the website or provide the required design files.
We provide online video instructions and training on how to maintain/update your website content. On most projects we recommend a two-week soft launch period to catch any bugs or make any last-minute tweaks.
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Why do I need a website for my business?
A business’s online presence, regardless of industry, can have a massive impact on its success. In todays digital world, some businesses still don’t realize that a majority of their customers will visit their website before making a purchase.
Having a strong online presence, particularly a website, can be the difference between more business revenue or not. Yes, the quality of your website impacts results too, but here we are stressing the importance of making sure you have a website.
We’ve found that some clients are hesitant to get online because they feel they are not tech-savvy enough and don’t understand how to manage a website. Other times, they’re concerned about the price. The bright side is that we’re here to help you through the tech stuff, and to teach you too… without breaking the bank.
If you’re still not sure, here are the most important and valued reasons for getting a website:
Credibility & Trust
One of the main reasons you should have a website for your business is to increase your organization’s credibility. Chances are there are several providers offering a similar service to yours. One way you can stand out is by having a website that looks good and clearly communicates quality information to your consumers.
Without a website, people may question your legitimacy as a business. A website is an opportunity to make a great first impression and give people reassurance that you’re an actual, real business.
Control Your Brand
Expressing your brand to your potential customers is one of the most important things that you can do. By clearly communicating who you are, what you represent and what you stand for, you increase the chances of your customers buying from you.
This is also something that can set you apart from your competitors. Without a website, it can be incredibly challenging to do this because people can’t easily find quality and reliable information on your business.
Another valuable reason to have a website for your business, is because it can increase your chances of getting leads.
People find you online, become interested in your product or service and want to know more. They’ll know how to contact you thanks to the information on your website, which gives you the opportunity to increase your sales.
Once you’re online and have an SEO-optimized website, you have a chance of showing up in Google search results. This means that when people are searching for a product or service, there is a chance your website will show up in the results. This gives you the opportunity to drastically increase your customer base.
Saving You Time & Customer Service
Many businesses get calls from prospects or existing customers asking simple questions about location and hours of operation. If you miss a call, the customer is left unhappy. Calls can also distract your staff from focusing on the most important parts of your business. A website can reduce these calls and increase internal productivity. At the same time, it helps customers find useful information without needing to call, which ultimately provides an all-around better user experience.
Updates and Announcements
Since your website is on 24/7, it’s easy to post updates and announcements to your customers. It’s a way to keep them up to date on everything that you’re doing. When something is particularly relevant to them, it increases the chance of you being able to up-sell them.
If you plan on taking advantage of digital marketing to increase your leads and grow your business, you’ll likely want to drive traffic to a website or landing page. To do this effectively, leverage historic traffic that has been going to your website so you can target the most qualified customers and get the best ROI on your ad spend. This is something that can’t be set up retroactively, so it is best to get your website running early even if you’re not planning on running ads at the moment.
Websites have become essential to business today. We strongly recommend creating one if you haven’t done so already. You can improve it over time, but the key is to start.
Do I need a business website if I have business social media pages?
If you find yourself wondering, “do I need a website,” the answer is yes!
Many businesses to rely on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and others, as their main source of online advertisement. It’s definitely not wrong to create multiple social media accounts for your business – it’s essential that every business has social media in today’s world. Social media is a great way to reach a larger audience and work out who your main audience is. However, a social media business page should not take the place of your company’s website.
Your company cannot thrive off of a social media business page alone. You need your website to be the backbone of your company’s online presence. Here’s why:
Social media platforms have the control
It seems that within each year that passes, one or other social media platform comes up with new ways to change or morph their terms and conditions. This can (and does) happen multiple times in one year and they don’t need to ask anyone permission before doing so.
If the changes are something that you have a problem with, then your only option is to not use that platform for a business page. These large social media platforms won’t be harmed by this if this is the decision you make. They always have the control, and when using their platform, you have no other choice but to go along with it.
Social media should support your website
Even though social media platforms have control, they’re still important to have. The only difference here is that you should use them to support your website, not take its place. To do so, use your social media business page to promote your website.
You want people to access your social media page and then click over to your website where they can browse through your products or list of services and learn more about why your company is so amazing. Once you get people to visit your website, you have the opportunity of cross-selling and you can then influence them to become a customer in whatever way you see best.
You won’t have to worry about following specific terms and conditions when creating marketing content on your page. Visitors will see what you want them to see each time they visit your website and click on a specific page. This is going to be the best way to convert visitors into new clients.
Social media is a constant competition
When only using a social media business page, you’re in constant competition with a large number of other businesses. With so many businesses turning to social media, there’s more content and advertisements on the platform than one person could ever take in.
Not only do you have to compete with other businesses’ advertisements, but you also have to compete with your possible clients’ social media friends. With advertisements being thrown into their newsfeeds, they can easily be distracted from clicking your ad if their friend recently posted something more interesting.
On your website, you have a person’s full attention. You’re not in competition with anyone else. Sure, you might have to do some work to guide them there, but once you do, you’ve got it in the bag.
Your website is an important marketing tool
Your company’s website is an important part of your marketing strategy. Your website is essentially the backbone of your entire marketing campaign. Your main goal should be to use other advertising gimmicks to direct traffic back to your website.
That’s exactly what your social media’s main goal should be: get potential clients back to the website where they can convert to clients. It’s your website that provides all of the essential information about your business, like:
- Why should clients work with or buy from you?
- What are your values?
- What’s your company’s main goal?
- What type of products and services do you offer?
These are all the questions that your website should be answering. For example, your social media is where you can give a brief explanation of what your business is. However, when visitors have more questions concerning your products or services, they should be directed to your website where they can find all of the answers.
Your website builds credibility and trust
Have you ever considered working with or purchasing from a certain company but couldn’t find a website for them? Think about how this made you feel. If a business doesn’t have a website are they even credible?
Of course, they can be, but that’s not how the majority of people are going to view the situation. Without a good website, many people will see your business as being a scam, or not a credible enough business to work with.
Having a website were you can talk directly to people, showing them what your mission is, is a sure way to build trust.
Do you work internationally?
We love to, and do! With online conference tools such as Zoom, Skype and many more, it makes working with businesses anywhere in the world seamless.
What size companies do you produce web designs for?
Currently most of our client base has been start-up to small and medium businesses – they’re who we connect the most with, as we’re one of them too. We know the highs and the lows, and how important it is to work with companies who really understand what you need.
Do you create website content?
We work with some great copywriters who can either create your content or elevate the content you already have. We can totally hook you up.
Do you do digital marketing?
We are not a digital marketing agency — we specialise in design and development. We create all the necessary assets that are used in digital marketing campaigns, but we do not run or promote any campaigns. Often we work with brand strategists and marketing agencies to produce creative digital assets and tool that they then use in marketing campaigns.
Do you create imagery?
So, there are many things that can fall under imagery, so here’s how we break it down:
We’re not a photographic studio – however we can put you in touch with one if needed, or arrange to bring one onboard to work with us on your project.
Due to licensing we do not purchase these for you. What we can do is source them for you and then you can purchase them so that you retain the usage licence. Alternatively there are free resources we can tap into – however sometimes it’s not possible to find the right image, as there are more options in the paid for image libraries. This is not ideal, but with budget constraints the free image route can be a good solution to try before looking at purchasing images.
These are usually vector or hand drawn illustrations. Cost range according to the requirements.
These are usually vector based (but not restricted to), with added motion graphics. Cost range according to requirements.
This is the animation of graphic elements. These are things like animated logo, typography, infographics or animated elements.
We do not do animated shorts or features. So in that sense we are not animators – but we have partners who are, and can hook you up if needed.
Video: We create website intro videos using provided footage or stock footage. We are not filmmakers, so we do not do shoots – but if you have footage then we can edit it into something for you.
What do I do if I feel things aren’t going well?
Just talk to us — we’re here to work with and for you, but if you don’t tell us what’s bothering you then we can’t fix it.
What is Digital Design?
For us, digital design is the designing and development of anything that is created to be used and experienced online. At the moment, this is mainly the design and development of websites or social media pages for a wide range of clients.
How long does it take to build a website?
This depends on what you need. It takes longer to build a 1000 page megasite than a smaller eight page brochure website. If you let us know what you need then we can work out an estimated timeframe.
What are the payment terms for the design and development of my website?
We like to work on a 50% upfront basis with 50% payable after the website is launched or the design assets are delivered.
Do you redesign existing websites?
Absolutely – we’ve even redesign and refreshed websites we originally designed before. Businesses grow and changes – and so can your website! It’s important to approach website redesigns sensitively to make sure your reasons for redesigning are valid. This is why we will analyse your website and see where we can make effective improvements. This will ensure the project is an overall success from your ROI point of view.
Do you offer ongoing help with our new site once it's launched?
We offer 30 days support after your website has been launched. After that, if you need our help with web support and maintenance, just let us know. If not, we will leave you to it.
Will my website work across all devices?
We’ll make sure it does – in a world of multiple devices and screen sizes it should be standard that your website is responsive across them all. More people are accessing the web via small screens than ever, and the trend is likely to carry on. If your site doesn’t display or work properly on a mobile or tablet screen, you risk losing a big chunk of your potential audience. It means mobile responsive web design is essential these days. Every website we create is mobile responsive.
Can you help me rank high in Google?
A page one position in the Google search results is like gold dust. Not so long ago it was relatively easy to achieve. These days it’s a lot more challenging, and getting it wrong can affect your reputation. We are not SEO experts, but we can setup SEO tools to get you going in the right direction.
How long does it take to see results from SEO?
Google has personally answered this one for you. They say that in most cases SEO can take between 4 months to a year to help your business first implement improvements and then see potential benefit.
Can you help with my social media?
Well we can help brand your social media pages, but increasing views, likes or followers is not our things – if you need some online marketing, then we’re not for you.
How much does a website cost?
The age-old question! It completely depends on what you need, but you can rest assured we deliver the best possible value for money and it won’t break the bank. Often we’ve found that clients either have a fixed budget or that each project requires a different approach, set of skills and time. We feel that offering flexibility on pricing is good for everyone.
Why not ask for a quote? There’s no obligation and we won’t sulk if you say ‘no’!
Are there any other costs for my website?
Typically, additional costs are:
- Hosting (monthly or yearly charges)
- Stock imagery (if free options cannot be sourced)
- Plugins (if free ones cannot be sourced)
Other than that, if there is a need for an additional charge we will always talk it over with you, before implementing anything.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a free platform on which website designers and developers like us build websites. It provides all the flexibility and functionality we need so you’re easily able to keep your site up to date with new content. We love it, as do millions of business owners. We use it for all the different websites we create, from small business websites to ecommerce sites.
Can you convert my existing website into WordPress?
Yes, we can migrate your website to WordPress. However it’s important you don’t lose any search engine visibility in the process, so we’ll cover that too.
What are WordPress plugins?
WordPress plugins are bits of pre-packaged code made by developers in the WordPress community. They’re essentially add-ons that extend the functionality of a WordPress site.
Why do you use WordPress instead of Wix or Squarespace?
It’s simple really – WordPress gives us the flexibility to create whatever our clients want and or need without any restrictions.
What are WordPress plugins?
WordPress plugins are bits of pre-packaged code made by developers in the WordPress community. They’re essentially add-ons that extend the functionality of a WordPress site.
What is web hosting?
Web hosting is required in order to get your website online. It is the space that you ‘rent’ which houses your web files and allows users to access your site and the information contained on it.
Does AlignStudios host websites?
Unfortunately we do not. But we’re happy to make recommendations and help you through the process.
Can I purchase my own domain?
Go ahead. Once you’ve sorted your domain out, we can take things from there. But if you need help, feel free to ask.
What happens to the copyright of my website?
Your site is yours. You can move if you like, and we will never penalise you for it.
Why is branding important?
Branding is important because not only is it what makes a memorable impression on consumers but it allows your customers and clients to know what to expect from your company. It is a way of distinguishing yourself from the competitors and clarifying what it is you offer that makes you the better choice.
Are you brand strategists?
No, we create all the brand identity elements that are needed to put your strategy into action. But we know great people who are, and can hook you up if needed.
What are brand identity elements?
Your brand identity can be broken down into individual elements that should all be cohesive and aligned to one another. Imagine a single thread that weaves between your branding elements, intertwining them. The ones we typically focus on are:
- Logo design
- Colour pallet
What are brand guidelines?
In basic terms they are an instructional handbook containing how to apply all your brand elements to all your brand touch points to ensure consistent branding. Applying a consistent brand approach is what creates a brand identity.
An example of typical things included are:
Your Primary Colour Palette: the exact colours used in your logo including colour names and codes for different uses such as CMYK, HEX, and RGB. Think Coca-Cola red or UPS brown or Apple white.
Your Second Colour Palette: any supporting colours that can be used to add variety or interest for other components like text, lines, or other assets. Think about complementary colours that will add to your primary palette and enhance it.
Colour Variations: any colour variations of your logo that are allowed include black, white, transparent background, etc.
Tagline logos: any versions of your logo with your tagline included. Think Just Do it from Nike.
Abbreviations or acronyms of your company name: any version of your logo with a shortened version of your name. Think Coke, NCAA or TCM.
Typography: a list of the main fonts or typefaces associated with your brand as well as any secondary fonts that can be used for headlines and body copy. This should also include direction on if or when you use all caps or only lowercase for each.
Logo space requirements: will you require “padding” around your logo for certain uses? For instance, “our logo should always be surrounded by one inch of clear space on packaging.”
How will these coordinate: how will you require that all these components work together? Think about anywhere your logo and branding could be including your website, social media, stationery, advertising, and more.
Brand tone: should your brand always be speaking in a lively, fun, and energetic way? What about sophisticated, elegant, and stylish? Or perhaps bold, creative and rambunctious? (We like that last one best around here.) Brand tone is provided by your marketing / brand strategist or you.
Grammar: will you require an oxford comma in your content? Should bullet points always have punctuation? Get specific about what you’ll expect from your copywriters.
Examples of use: show instances of your logo, colours, and fonts applied to items like business cards, collaterals, advertising, packaging, T-shirts, and more. When in doubt, sample it out.
Unacceptable uses: it’s important to show examples of what not to do with your logo including what colours not to use (You can bet that Pepsi never wants to see a drop of Coke red near its logo.): never stack the logo and name, don’t make it transparent, minimum size requirements for use, etc
What is brand presence?
“Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.” Paul Rand.
We help build your brand’s presence by designing marketing materials that you can share with the world.
These include resources that are essential to promoting your brand and building your audience:
- Business Cards
- Email Design
- Social Media
- Print Materials
- Store Fronts
- Anything we can add a mark on!
What is graphic design?
Graphic design is a design process that combines text and graphics in a way that is intended to communicate a specific message… well it’s more than that, but this is at it’s core.
Where is graphic design used?
You will find graphic design in company logos, printed materials like brochures, posters, signs, greeting cards, postcards, business cards, billboards and ads. Advances in technology have brought us the digital environment complete with websites, online ads, virtual brochures and presentations, and so very much more.
What do graphic designers use to create these designs?
Graphic designers can use hand-illustrated designs as well as computer-aided designs thanks to a wide range of software with nearly endless digital design tools. The availability of software like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop have become staples of the graphic designer.
Why do I need a graphic designer?
A graphic designer does more than just put their creative skills to work. Though most graphic designers are intuitively creative already, they have generally spent time studying numerous design principles. It’s vital to understand how to use design elements to transmit the required messages and values as well as evoke a certain feeling in the viewer. As a visual communicator, they leverage these design elements and use concepts such as colour, typography, space, balance, form and lines to create their visual message.
Some graphic designers are also able to understand the more technical aspects of design required to create digital assets for a company. For example, a web designer is often able to create wireframes, workflows, and sitemaps and understand how to develop easy navigation for the user experience.
What else does a graphic designer accomplish as part of the work they produce for a client?
Besides turning their client’s vision, brand image and value proposition into a graphic display, a designer will undertake many specialty tasks as part of a graphic design project. The specialty tasks include collaborating on the concept, attending meetings about the project, paying attention to what customers are clicking on, doing presentations that explain the various potential designs, revising designs, and preparing asset files for others on the team and for client use.