PART I - The reason behind offering end-to-end website services
We're constantly surfing and building the web and it's crazy how messy some websites can become. Our pursuit of building beautiful and powerful website systems is never limited by our skills or capacity. It's limited by the realities of conducting business in the real world. Managing, modifying, marketing and maintaining your website is no small task. More often than not, we encounter websites where the hosting is at business X, the marketing at business Y, the design and coders are at business Z. This is the status quo and we believe we can do better. This year at zimpleweb we are going to disrupt the status quo!
But we're not really doing something new or proposing something radical. As a market force, this type of change is called convergence. Already we can observe other digital agencies offering a convergence of digital marketing services - so called 360 digital marketing or fluid digital marketing. It's great to see this zimplification of services taking place. It means stronger competition for us and better value for you as a client or consumer.
What we do believe we're doing differently is due to our largely technical backgrounds. As we seem to have an internal predisposition to think like engineers. This comes about from the majority of zimpleweb staff having software engineering backgrounds. Sure our designers, marketers and sales have their core backgrounds. But us engineers and tech heads are a slight majority and over the years our constant declaration for more clarity, clearer objectives and ultimately results have swayed the non-techs into our way of thinking. Thus, collectively when presented with a problem we collectively derive a solution. We don't follow the pack, we follow whatever the best solution is for the problem at hand. Be it a hosting solution, a design solution, marketing solution or more naturally a code solution.
It's this fundamental position, coming to understand the nature of a problem before proposing a solution that's different. It's this difference, that pushes us above and beyond other digital agencies. It's this difference that sees us at the number one organic result for "SEO Newcastle" and "Web Design Newcastle" searches. It means that our focus is never limited to the design or marketing or code or hosting aspects of a website. Instead we achieve a synergy from the convergence of all of them. But as we said earlier, it's no small task and being an expert in all of these fields is not an individual achievement, but rather a team effort.
To illustrate the limitations encountered in the real world, we offer the following scenario; where end-to-end website services aren't being utilised. Anytime anything on a website needs to get modified, someone needs to call someone else who works somewhere else and it just makes things take much longer than they really need to:
- The client initiates a set changes to at minimum one of these businesses–most probably the design agency, and thus begins the game of Chinese whispers.
- The design agency takes the inputs and creates a sketch of what the developers need to implement. Luckily the designer works at the same company as the developer.
- The developers make the changes, but when they put the changes onto the live server they encounter a bug. Unfortunately the hosting is with a different company.
- The hosting company forces you to use a ticketing system that often wont warrant a response in under 24 hours - for a small or simple question.
- The developers get a response from the hosting company and luckily, this time, there was little back and forth needed to clarify and resolve the issue. The changes get made live.
- But then the marketing company, which is another different company, calls the client to clarify the recent set of changes they're observing on the website. It turns out the designers and developers didn't include a call to action button that's needed to track conversions, because it was never mentioned. Now this isn't necessarily the client's fault. The issue is that websites, big and small quickly become sophisticated assets.
- The client forwards the marketing team's query to the designer, who then forwards it onto the developer, who finally fixes the problem and makes the change live.
<sarcasm>Look, yeah, nah at the end of the day it works</sarcasm>... Welcome to our dilemma with the status quo. It should be painfully obvious that things can be done more efficiently. That's why we offer end-to-end website services. To help reduce the Chinese whispers game. To increase the accuracy of deliverables. To resolve issues quicker. The reasons are endless and obvious.
But ignore the scenario above. In principle this inefficiency is learnt as a lesson kindergarten. In fact, it occurs in any network - it's attenuation. That is the loss of a signal. You can call it Chinese whispers, you can call it what ever you want. It's a real phenomenon in any network. The further a message needs to travel from source (client) to destination (implementers) there is a break down in communication. The more nodes that the message needs to pass through, the more this breakdown occurs. Until sooner or later you will start to see an impact on your end product - your website. Now I'm not saying that the internal communications at zimpleweb are perfect everyday, all the time. What we're saying is that we have fundamentally acknowledged this issue as a business and that we actively pursue solutions which mitigate against it.
Perhaps, you're lost - maybe you have never experienced this. In that case KUDOS! You have some how managed to work your way back into the digital garden of Eden. You're in a good place - stay there and prayer the good times last forever! But for those who have lived this or are living this, this is why we offer expert end-to-end website services all under one roof. It means you the client are able to call one number and have modifications made to your website, be they functional changes, design changes, marketing changes or hosting changes.
An example of end-to-end services at zimpleweb. The designer receives inputs from the client and literally turns around to talk to the developer sitting behind them. The digital marketer sees and hears the designer making a change to one of their clients and gets involved. They all collaborate on the design. The developer then takes the design and developers the solution. They still encounter the same bug on the live server (as in the scenario above), but this time the developer turns around and asks the person sitting next to them to have a look at the live server - the issue gets resolved in 5 minutes. What this ultimately means to our clients is that they efficient delivery of high quality work.
PART II - What services are involved in a website?
Now whether you're just getting started, or maybe you have a website that has multi channel campaigns running on it. The following should provide a basic understanding of where the moving parts are on websites. The best way to think about all of the moving parts is through different layers of technology. Let's start out with the image below which illustrates the layers needed for a basic or most common websites.
We can provide a solution for each layer of technology outlined below and illustrated above. But let's assume you want to do things yourself, so starting from the bottom of the stack (layer):
- The first thing you need for a website is a domain name, such as zimpleweb.com or zimpleweb.com.au. This is acquired from a domain registrar.
- Once you have your domain name, you need to set where the DNS servers are. Also to quickly explain what is DNS; DNS is like the yellow pages, it takes a domain name and translates it to a number (an IP address), that number is your webserver. Much like how the yellow pages take a businesses name and translate it to a phone number. So once you have your DNS servers set for a domain, you then need to add the DNS records for your webserver and or any other services (such as email servers etc).
- Now that DNS is setup, we're onto the webserver. Your webserver is where you will host all of your files and it will handle all of your visitors requests for content. There are different types of webserver setups, for example dedicated server, virtual private server (VPS) or shared server. However, let's just keep it simple and assume that we're going to be using a shared webserver. All this simply means is that we're going to be purchasing a piece of space on a server to run our website. As opposed to VPS or dedicated which offer more exclusive hardware setups.
- So a quick recap; we have our domain name at a registrar, we have DNS servers set for that domain, on our DNS servers we have DNS records which connect our domain name to a webserver and on our webserver are our files. At the file level is where the magic happens, depending on who you're talking to. But ultimately, it's at this files level where we bring together the design and code of your website. It's ultimately what you present to your customers and it's what reflects your business online.
Now that's a quick crash course in the layers of a website and to be honest we have barely spoken about the magic layer, the code, design and database layer. There are plenty of other articles on our website which go into detail about custom design, custom code and custom content management systems. Again, we can help you with almost any website related issue. But we respect any business owner or entrepreneur who wants to do things themselves and will help where possible such initiatives. Thus we right these blogs to help explain things and fast track you on your journey - of course we're also going to advertise our services as well.
Another thing we have created to help you on your quest is a simple document, which is an extension of the theory covered here. You can use this document to store your usernames and passwords at each layer. One of the most frustrating cases we frequently encounter is ye old forgotten password. This little ditty slows down our issue resolution far too frequently. Maybe someone used to be in charge of services and they left, maybe you just haven't recorded the passwords ever (</3). Regardless, if you aren't interested in our services - then hopefully you'll be interested ensuring you can easily manage things yourself.
This ought to be enough to get you started on understanding the initial layers or services involved setting up a website. But the reality of running a website is that there is more to it than getting something live. There needs to be a rhyme and reason as to why you have a website. Who is your target audience? How are you going to reach them? Do they like your website? This falls more into the digital marketing sphere of our services. But I'll stop here and wrap things up now without going into digital marketing strategies - that can come next time. But until then you can either checkout our digital marketing page or more simply, here is a quick illustration of all of our website services at zimpleweb. So whether you're interested in one service or a complete end-to-end solution, you can get in touch with us via [email protected] or chase us down on social media.