We became a web design company by accident. A happy accident.
Back when Salween Group was first started, the founder and her small team were producing some very cool thought leadership content for one of the company’s first clients, a well-known regional conglomerate.
The initial remit with them was international public relations and media outreach, getting the client’s C-suite team on-air in media appearances and speaking on panel discussions at events.
As that quality content was being generated and getting broadcast and published on news sites, the next logical step was to help their marketing team get it up on the client’s website.
But they didn’t have a website for their brand.
They did have websites for their business units in banking, real estate, and healthcare, but the brand itself, the holding company, was not represented in the digital space. They found the process too painful.
After some discussion about the challenges they had faced with previous website projects, they placed their trust in us and became our first web design client, a move that changed their world view, and ours.
We consider a brand’s website to be its most important digital marketing asset.
Web design and development has since become a cornerstone of our integrated offering, putting a brand’s most important online asset, its website, at the centre of our content and digital marketing efforts.
Through the years and through dozens of client engagements, we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. We have refined our web design and development offer to address the major pain points affecting our clients.
Do any of these sound familiar?
- “We hired a team to design our site 18 months ago. It looked great at the time, but it no longer represents who we are as a company. Now we have to start from scratch again.”
- “We don’t have the time or the resources to update our site.”
- “The IT department runs our site, and it will require a mountain of paperwork and heaps of time to get it updated.”
- “One of our team created our website in Wix/Squarespace/Shopify, and it looks just like everybody else’s website and can’t be changed.”
- “We have to pay a developer to update our site, and that was not budgeted.”
Managed Web Services
We break that cycle of marketing mediocrity and pain by offering websites as a managed service. Specifically, managed web services using WordPress. Here is how it works.
Managed web services are usually a component of our retainer. We design, develop, host, and maintain your website for a fixed monthly fee.
Need changes? We change it.
Need additional pages? We add them.
Need some landing pages for your upcoming marketing campaigns? You got it.
Need a completely new design? No problem.
And with our Content Studio, we are also able to keep your site fresh with new copywriting, images, infographics, and video. That strengthens your marketing by providing engaging content for your users and boosting your rankings in search engines.
All of that is managed by us as part of a transparent marketing strategy to help you meet your business goals and objectives. And that gives you back the most important commodity you have – time.
What is WordPress and Why Should I Care?
WordPress is what is known as a content management system, or CMS. It is the backend software of a website that, well, serves up content.
If your website has a blog, news articles, or a catalogue of products, you are probably using a CMS.
WordPress is open source, and is the world’s most popular CMS, powering over a third of all websites on the Internet and commanding a respectable 60% market share of the CMS space.
What that means is that there are a lot of qualified people out there who can work with WordPress, and that keeps your costs down. It also means third-party integrations for everything from e-commerce to email are widely available and robust.
Its main competitors in the open-source CMS space include Drupal and Joomla. We’ve worked with both, and that has firmly pushed us to the WordPress camp. Why? Costs.
While WordPress, Drupal and Joomla are all free and open-source, there are a lot fewer qualified Drupal and Joomla developers out there than there are for WordPress. And while all have their specific strengths, there are not as many integrations available with Drupal and Joomla, and in modern digital marketing, integration is everything.
WordPress and E-Commerce
In the e-commerce space, a competitor to WordPress is Magento. License fees for the supported version of the software from Adobe start at around US$20,000 per year, and you will still need to pay a Magento-certified developer to build the site for you.
For big e-commerce sites (by big, I mean a lot of SKUs) we use WordPress with BigCommerce, and for smaller ones, we sometimes use WordPress with WooCommerce.
BigCommerce is very cool, abstracting the e-commerce layer to their cloud-based backend. That allows you to build a content-rich user experience in WordPress while having a scalable and robust shopping engine.
WooCommerce is a freemium WordPress plugin or add-on. It runs on the same server you are using for WordPress. It is very popular and can work effectively for smaller shops with a limited catalogue.
What about Shopify? Shopify is great for e-commerce DIYers. By DIY, I mean you would rather spend your own time building your website than paying someone to do it for you.
Shopify uses a system of templates and is pretty easy to use. If you are happy with Shopify, great! You probably don’t need us. We find it very restricting and there is too much “sameness” to the user experience.
That said, we are a Shopify Partner and have helped SMEs already on the platform to optimise their site as best as possible, and then focus more on their other needs such as content marketing, social media management, etc.
Squarespace and Wix are also there for the website DIY community. They are good tools for smaller businesses with limited resources, but again you are restricted to how much you can do with them, not just from a design standpoint but also in terms of functionality and interoperability.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
But the power of WordPress does come at a cost, and one of those is the requirement for ongoing technical maintenance. Our managed web services include regular checks for updates to WordPress and any plugins we use. When you hear about brand websites being hacked, it is almost always due to the site owner not regularly updating the software that powers their website.
Speaking of security, we host all our WordPress websites on the enterprise-grade infrastructure at Pressidium to provide strong security and high availability.
Pressidium is one of a handful of technology companies that do one thing and do it very well – managed WordPress hosting. From an integrated staging environment and managed web application firewall to daily onsite and off-site backups, they act as an extension of our team.
Our clients are also welcome to “own” and pay for their own WordPress hosting accounts, and we recommend either Pressidium or WP Engine.
Your website is your brand’s most important digital marketing asset. In many cases, it dictates how you are found and is the world’s first impression of you. Look your best.