Web Design Agency Services for Oxfordshire and Beyond

Our team of web designers and developers create bespoke, hand crafted websites, built with your business goals and customers’ needs as their number one priority.

We understand that your website is the cornerstone of your digital marketing strategy, and our digital design team have decades of experience and know-how of what works and what doesn’t, and can provide expert guidance on where new opportunities can be found.

Understanding how Google works, and being able to interpret data reports from multiple sources is an essential part of making your website work for you business.  Our in-house team includes digital marketing professionals with Google Certified expertise in both Google Analytics, and Mobile Site Development. Utilising their expert knowledge can help you navigate the complexities of Google Analytics, gain new insights about your site’s performance, and learn what users are doing and looking for on your website.

Creating an effective mobile UX for your website is a priority for us and our expert team of web designers are guided by Google’s best practises for creating, managing and optimising your mobile website, helping you to achieve the best mobile experience for visitors.

Brands are expected to communicate with and engage with their customers in more ways than ever before. Every screen, from a smartphone to a smart TV, is a potential stage for interacting with your customers.

Maintaining a consistency in quality and style across these platforms is vital. Done well, it instills trust in your brand and helps create a recognisable identity. Our digital designers help you utilise every relevant touch point you have with your customers, whilst delivering a consistent brand experience.

For most businesses the core of a good digital strategy is a well designed and well built website. A website can be an extremely valuable business tool, finding you new customers and helping keep your existing ones happy. Our digital designers and developers work side-by-side to create a website that is tailored to your business. Our digital design team are also Google Certified, ensuring compliance with Google best practices and skilled in recognising opportunities for improving your website.

We can also assist you with your digital marketing efforts. Using industry leading software, we design build and send email campaigns, promoting your business and products to new and existing customers. Emails are designed to be on-brand and consistent will all your marketing materials.

Planning your website (sections and functionality)

First consider the sections you will need in your site, e.g. about, products, services etc. Then consider the functionality you will require, e.g. e-commerce, intelligent forms, database lookups, etc. Sketching out the sections and functionality required will help us recommend the correct platform for your website. Creating a clear brief that focuses on establishing what is required from the website is key to a successful outcome.

Planning your website (choosing a platform)

There are three main types of website platform.

  1. SaaS (software as a service) websites
  2. Off the shelf hosted applications
  3. Fully bespoke hosted applications

SaaS WEBSITES

SaaS (software as a service) websites. Examples include Squarespace, WIX, GoDaddy and many more. This model is based around a subscription to a service. You pay a monthly or annual fee in exchange for a hosted website.

The advantage of this service is the low cost of entry and the potential speed of build and launch. Disadvantages (depending on your point of view) include the fact that you never own your site, functionality can be limited (out of the box), and there is a limitation on the number of available templates.

Of the SaaS solutions available, we would recommend Squarespace which offers a good range templates, an easy to use CMS (content management system) and good support. MicroGraphix offers a Squarespace development service.

Whilst these platforms promise ease of use and their demo sites may look great (normally due to lack of content and use of great high-quality photography) they still require careful planning and good quality content (text and imagery) to be successful.

Off the shelf hosted applications

Off the shelf hosted applications. Applications include Craft CMS, Wordpress, Drupal and many more.

Sites using this model are self-contained, the off the shelf hosted software application is installed on a hosted or cloud server. The application provides a built-in database that can be populated via an admin section to deliver pages via templates to a website.

Advantages of the hosted application, compared to a SaaS solution, include greater flexibility as you can choose the hosting provider and the application, and to a far greater extent the design and the functionality of the site. They offer customisable templates which can be easily updated via the systems’ CMS. Because much of the functionality is working ‘out-of-the-box’ hosted application websites can offer a cost-effective way to produce an easily updatable semi-bespoke website.

The disadvantage of hosted applications is that they still have limitations as far as customisability and functionality are concerned. If the proposed website has a very complicated structure or requires unique functionality, it can be like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

MicroGraphix use and recommend Craft CMS as we feel it provides excellent customisation options, security and an easy to use CMS. It is also very efficient, its pages load very quickly, and it does not need any special hosting.

Fully bespoke hosted applications

As discussed above, if a website needs a very complicated structure, or requires unique functionality, often the only way to achieve this is to engage a programmer and developer to build the site from scratch. Programmers and developers can use a programming language, commonly PHP or .NET to create dynamic pages and applications.

The prime advantage, of course, is that the site will work in the way you want it to. Additionally, because the database design does not have any unnecessary code in it, it will be faster in operation compared to an off the shelf system that has bloated code to allow for a variety of database design needs.

The disadvantage can be the time taken, and therefore money spent, to create the website or web application from scratch.

Website content

When planning your website, consider both the structure and the content that will be required to engage effectively with users. What products or services do you wish to promote, and how will people find your website?

It is generally acknowledged that many consumers are now turned off by traditional push marketing techniques. They are much more likely to be drawn to products or services by quality and ‘valuable to them’ content that might be found due to sharing, or search engine results. The marketing technique that takes advantage of this consumer behaviour is known as ‘inbound marketing’ - drawing customers in rather than just pushing the brand.

The commonly used phrase ‘Content is King’ is very apt when it comes to websites! High quality, unique content can help in multiple ways. It can attract visitors via search results, and encourage sharing of content that could deliver more potential customers to your website. Additionally, it can give your customers the confidence they need to buy from your business and help build brand engagement/loyalty. Websites that are regularly updated with quality content also perform stronger on search engine rankings (particularly if other sites link to that content). Content should be considered before any design work is done, to ensure your site is structured and focussed to attract visitors from your target markets.

Website design

Your website design and navigation should reflect the purpose of the site and its target audience. We feel it’s important not to ‘overdesign’ a website as this may lead to poor navigation, ineffectual presentation of content, and slow performance on mobile devices, which can all potentially negatively affect search engine visibility. Our view is that the content should do the talking. This does not mean the site needs to be dull, but it means the content provides ‘eye candy’ as well as communicating your information and building a desire for your product or service.

One of the major considerations that should be in mind when thinking about the design of your website is how well it will work on a mobile device (smartphone or tablet). Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach to web design which makes web pages render well on a variety of devices and window or screen sizes. Recent work also considers the viewer proximity as part of the viewing context as an extension for RWD. Good content, design and performance are necessary across all devices to ensure usability and user satisfaction.

Website hosting

Website hosting is often overlooked when commissioning a website build. However, its importance to the success of your website should not be underestimated. Unreliable or slow website hosting can result in lost customers (if they cannot reach your site), reduced customer satisfaction (if pages load slowly), and poor search engine visibility (if your site cannot be crawled by the search engines efficiently your ranking may suffer).

Following a period of ‘learning the hard way’, and much research, we now have our own high specification web server (exclusive to MicroGraphix clients) hosted by Rackspace, one of the world’s leading web hosting providers. In addition to exceptional reliability and performance, we can be confident that the server is expertly maintained to ensure the smooth running of our clients’ websites.

Talk to us about your next digital design project by calling 01869 250806.

Examples of our wide variety of Web Design projects:

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01869 250 806 enquiries@micrographix.co.uk

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