- What we can do for you...
- Languages, frameworks and libraries
- Managing your content
- User interface design
- Business trained
- Search engine optimisation
- How we work
- Our prices
- Next steps
1. What we can do for you...
We can undertake a wide-range of projects for you. We can build a) high performance websites with a content management system. Or b) we can build more complex web applications that create, read, update and delete data (CRUD for short). The latter being ideal for the majority of systems needed for your business.
High performance websites
Suitable for: your standard brochure-type sites
We’re proud of the extra-mile we go in ensuring that any website we build for you excels. We see many websites that are slow, buggy and illegal.
When we build a website for you we prioritise the following.
- Quick to load using the least amount of code to meet its goals. Great for competitive search result pages.
- Bespoke so you get exactly what you need
- Scalable, i.e. can cope with sudden increases in traffic
- Secure, safer from hackers than your average WordPress site
- Backed-up on every amendment to it
- Easy to use, an easy to use content management system
- Compliant with UK law - either AA or AAA
We’re happy to work with your design team to build your site. Or we can design it for you. Read about the development of Pendigital.co.uk that has been built with this approach.
Suitable for: more complex CRUD type websites. E.g. directories, e-commerce, protecting private content, private access etc.
We’re big fans of Progressive Web Applications (PWAs). What on earth are those I hear you say! PWAs are websites that perform like apps but in the browser. When you click a link to a new page, the page does not refresh. Instead, it loads the new content into another page view. It feels like you’re navigating around software rather than a website. This means PWAs are super-fast as the visitor navigates their way around your site. This keeps your web visitors happy and can boost conversion. You’ll be seeing PWAs a lot more as they’re growing in popularity.
Combining a PWA with a backend such as Google’s Firebase means that your website will be able to…
- Serve content in a dynamic way; perfect for listing, filtering and sorting products and other content
- Allow authentication of users (i.e. logging in) so that you can protect your content
- Scalable to handle sudden spikes in traffic
- Fast all around the world, using Google’s global content delivery network
- Secure, protected by Google’s infrastructure
2. Languages, frameworks, libraries and cloud services
We use the following languages, frameworks and libraries to build your web project.
Frameworks and libraries
- Angular 2+
- ASP.NET MVC
- Entity Framework
Styling libraries - Sass / CSS
- Google Firebase
To give you a little more background on specific combinations of tools we use…
Angular (Typescript, RxJS, AngularFire and Firebase)
Suitable for: Web applications / PWAs
If we’re building your business a more complex system, i.e. not a standard brochure website. Then we will be using Angular with Firebase.
Angular is a front-end developer framework. It competes with React and Vue in the race to build front-end web applications / PWAs.
Angular is also well integrated with Google’s flagship cloud offering - Firebase. The integration is through the official AngularFire library. Firebase offers your application a range of benefits.
- A global content delivery network
- User authentication
- Plus more…
Using Google’s Firebase means your system will have gone serverless. A popular term that means you’ve outsourced your server to the cloud… no need to worry about updating your server anymore. Google takes care of it for you. This means that your content is always protected with the latest cloud infrastructure.
Jekyll (Netlify, Git and GitHub)
Perfect for: For our high performance websites
Jekyll is a static site generator (SSG). SSGs are great for building secure, fast and backed-up websites. We’re passionate about the benefits that static site generators bring to your business. If we’re building you a standard website, i.e. not a complex web solution, then we’ll be using this combination.
So, what is exactly a static site generator? Think of it as a merge tool. Every time you edit your site, Jekyll merges your content with your page templates. The output is your website as a collection of static html pages.
SSGs avoid the complexity and overhead of systems like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. These database driven systems have to build each page, each time, for every page request. Each request to the database slows down the process. This means a slower website. Running a database, such as MySQL, also opens up your site for attack by hackers.
Netlify is a specialist in deploying static sites using static site generators. It has a global, super-fast content distribution network (cdn). So you can be sure that your website is fast around the globe.
The remaining part of the SSG combination is GitHub. GitHub is a repository for storing your code and content that makes up your website. Each time you edit your website, the site syncs with GitHub. This means you always have a backed-up version of your website stored elsewhere. Using this combination of tools means your site has versioning. Versioning means that you can roll back to an earlier state of your site.
3. Managing content
Advantages: Easy to use, no updates, as a service or bespoke for you
First things first. We’re not WordPress developers. It’s a great system but you can do better, your business deserves better.
Depending on what you need we’ll either provide an off-the-shelf or bespoke system. Our CMSs will not need updates in the way that WordPress does… giving you some relief and peace of mind.
We’re also experimenting with headless CMSs. These systems are separate to your website. Your website pulls the content when required, i.e. when a visitor lands on a page. The advantage of this is that you keep all your content in one place but can change your front-end. Hence avoiding migration of content in the future.
If we’re not developing a bespoke CMS for you then we will be using the following.
CloudCannon offers a wonderful editing experience. It works with your Jekyll static site generator. And ensures that all content changes sync with your GitHub repo.
CloudCannon has a global super-fast global content delivery system. This means that you can be sure that your site is fast not only in the UK but abroad also.
Works in the same as CloudCannon but with a less-frills approach. More like a rally car. But the advantage is that you get to use the Netlify content delivery network. I’m not sure who is the fastest between Netlify and CloudCannon. A test for a rainy day…
4. User interface design
Advantage: Intuitive layouts that help your web visitors navigate with ease
As web developers we’re happy to work with your design team to create your web project. We are also able to design the layout for your system if you would like us to. We have strong creative skills, applying business and developer logic to your layouts.
If we’re designing then we use Adobe XD. Adobe XD is wireframing software by Adobe that allows us to create low or high fidelity layouts. We’ve recently switched to Adobe XD.
The layouts created by Adobe XD are interactive. You will receive a link to them and then you can use your browser to navigate through each screen. It’s an excellent way to test the logical flow of your web project. We recommend that you test your screen layouts with your target audience. This will ensure issues don’t arise later in the build.
We use CSS frameworks to speed up the development process. We currently love Bulma the best due to its simplicity and modularity. Modular being important since it means that we don’t have to use it all if we don’t need it.
We often use tools to remove redundant CSS. Too often we see websites downloading unused CSS. This slows down the website and degrades the user experience.
5. Business trained
Tim has a degree in business and half of his career has been in marketing. We approach your project with the mindset of a business professional. We understand the challenges that your business faces. And our marketing skills mean that we focus on the impact of the project with your customers.
For example, we’ll focus on reducing any steps in a process that your customers must take. We’ll ensure that there are help options to guide the customer along the way. And we’ll also ensure that there are strong calls to action to avoid any confusion.
6. Search engine optimisation
Tim has strong expertise in SEO and applies his knowledge to all projects. Our focus on website performance will give your web project an enormous boost in Google.
We’ll also structure your web project from the outset in a way that will enhance your rankings. Throughout your project we’ll use the appropriate tags for your content. And ensure that your project is accessible. Accessibility is often an after thought… but SEO professionals recommend any accessibility options will enhance website performance with Google.
With regards to SEO, we will ensure the following.
- Search friendly URLs
- The navigation is indexable
- That projects are responsive with a mobile first approach
- That head tags (e.g. title and meta description) are customisable throughout
- Landing pages have options for adding rich content, including text, video, and images
- We optimize the load speed of the site
- We use canonical tags to avoid duplication
- We index all pages with Google via XML sitemaps and Googles search console
We ensure that you have the ability to put in place all SEO recommendations to your web project.
You might also find this article on website performance handy.
Ensuring your web project complies to UK law - AA or AAA
You might not know but your website has a legal duty in the UK to be accessible to at least AA level. Not only do you have a legal duty but you have a duty to your customers that may have a disability. You’ll lose disabled customers if they cannot use your website.
The majority of websites that we see produced are not AA compliant. A real bugbear for us. Simple aspects such as being navigable without a mouse. Or the effective use of semantic tags and aria labels.
We have a special accessibility focus for your web projects. It’s close to our hearts as Tim’s brother is disabled and relies on screen reader technology to help.
8. How we work
Easy to work with, following an agile approach, all aspects explained in an easy to follow manner. Training included.
We follow an agile approach where applicable to ensure that you get a final product that meets your goal. When we work with you, we recommend going through the following steps.
- Face to face meeting to introduce and discuss the project (usually via a Google hangout).
- Check feasibility of the project
- Explore the problem that the solution is addressing
- Present early solutions
- Encourage use of customer research to feed into development
- Define the product and wireframe screens
- Test wireframed screens with target audience
- Create a minimal viable product (MVP)
- Test the MVP with target audience
- Rework any findings from testing
- Train relevant staff and create documentation where necessary
Throughout working with us, we explain all aspects in an easy to understand manner. Developers can often confuse non-developers. We don’t like this approach. We like you to know and understand the tech that underpins your project.
9. Our prices
Milestone based pricing, transparent and easy to understand
We charge a flat-fee for all projects so that you know the exact cost. Before any project starts we’ll discuss your goals and cost all elements. We’ll ensure that our pricing is transparent with milestones itemized.
You will need to pay us a deposit to start the work. As we reach the defined milestones then you will need to pay us the agreed milestone cost.
10. Next steps
The best thing to do is to send us an email, or call, so that we can start discussing your project and how we can help. We’re based in the UK but can work with you wherever you are.