A website is a powerful marketing tool for businesses. Yet businesses are overwhelmed with options while unsure of the technologies needed inside a good website. I spoke with Jason Silvestri, co-founder of LightGates Studios about his insights on web design from both the perspective as a small business owner and through his product. Jason Silvestri is a motivational brand builder that uses videography, graphics design, software technologies, social media and motivation to develop online brands that separate people & businesses from their competition.
“The importance of a well constructed web presence and brand, that goes for message and brand design, supersedes the dollar. Too many brands have gone with that generic WordPress or Tumblr template and have forgotten the importance of a unique brand. The unfortunate truth is that the only way to achieve grand brand design is to pay a respectable amount of money to achieve brand separation in a world with millions upon millions of websites” Jason explained. “What LightGate Studios has done is attempt to make website design and development more affordable for the average brand, no matter the size. The bigger the brand, the more options they have. With a new LightGate Studios website coming by July, 2011, and a variety of new services such as Social Graph Optimization(tm) and Video Production, we hope to help even the smallest of brands create a brand image that will truly be that of the experts.”
Jason stated that a logo creates “your first brand bragging rights.”
“As little as $50-$350 can get you a well constructed logo created to harness your brand image,” he said.
Going Premium on a Website:
Jason explained that paying for a premium website invites for unique design, marketing campaign investments and spokespeople, or faces, for the brand.
How LightGate Studios helps Small Businesses:
“LightGate Studios can offer services that fulfill the entire life cycle process of an online brand,” Jason said. “From design, software solution and marketing, to social media and videography, LightGate Studios is an optimal solution for most brands.”
The Website Building Process and What Businesses Need to Know:
Typically, the average, low budget, website goes through the following phases:
1) Business Requirements – People and businesses that want a new website need to not only know what they want, but also provide an in-depth description of what they want. A few meetings and brainstorming sessions make up the first phase of website development.
2) The Design – As generic as it sounds, a website needs to have a good design, which means labor and artistic ability. Thinking about a website is one thing. Bringing it to canvas is a totally different story. A person or business can explain what they want over and over again, but the sad reality is, most people do not know what another person or business is thinking. There is generally compromise when all is said and done with how a design is drafted and finally approved. It could take several proofs to meet the desired look and feel.
When someone says, “I love it!”, your work is above approach.
3) Website development – Once a website is designed, it needs to be sliced up into usable chunks of images and content so a web browser can understand it and render it to a user. Even at this stage, Search Engine Optimization should be considered. The brand itself must be well organized, and a mission statement and product/service documentation must also be present. Around all that is actual software development. For the web, it is often referred to as web application development. Web application development takes the design and website structure to the level of user interaction: widgets, contact forms, conversion tools, workflow processes, shopping carts, etc.
4) Q &A (Quality Assurance) – When all the smoke clears, a website must be run through vigorous testing to ensure everything works.
5) Go LIVE – A website must be hosted on a web server and then pushed live to the Internet where users can interaction with the platform.”
“Marketing is all about conversion. The design of a website, the features it has, and the message it presents help make it all possible. Bad design can even come in the form of bad content,” Jason said. “Grammar issues, poor quality videos, or broken message can defer a user. On a visual perspective, using ugly colors and poor styling can render a website invisible to interest by the average 10 second visitor. The message, using design, must pop out in your face.
Good design allows the ‘pop’ to get users to click another button or link.”
You’ve heard it from a web designer yourself on how to develop your website for your small business. With these mindsets in play, you’ll have enough to get you started on making your business website happen on a small business budget!