Tools & Systems, Ours and Yours
Web site tools and services: building, automating, monitoring & managing
Running on rails.
It’s not just about the finished, delivered site – it’s about the before, during and after. There’s absolutely no point in over-engineering things, but some projects just have to have project- and task-management tools in place, for example. Then there’s communication in general, the familiar problem of multi-thread, multi-recipient email chaos.
What about mockups and demos? Bug fixing and remote access? Email delivery and DNS? Site analytics and usability reporting? Payment gateways for e-commerce? See below for some detail on this sort of thing.
Designing, building and updating anything other than a very basic website is typically a multi-stage, multi-faceted process. Managing and detailing that process often merits a tool/app to sensibly stay on top of things.
From the basics ... is my site up and running 24/7, to the everyday ... are there errors, has some core functionality gone wrong, to Analytics ... how many visitors am I getting, from where, how long are they staying, to the advanced - heat maps, how visitors behave and the like.
No site is an island, and you're likely to require, sooner or later, some additional features, extra functionality, and professional third-party tools and services. For e-commerce, you'll need to be able to accept payments, of course, but you may need things like shipping, inventory control and the like. We've worked with many external services, and have extensive experience of connecting via an API.
Email works fine, but add in other people, other departments, mini-projects and sub-tasks, and things can get missed. We talk elsewhere about project management hubs, but there still needs to be 'chat'. Voice is still needed, and that can be Skype or VOIP clients where appropriate, with the ubiquitous Slack/Teams also being key.
Sending emails, links, screenshots back and forth very quickly gets very messy, and not all meetings can be – nor should be – face to face. A virtual workspace, with structure and fine-grain detail where needed, is often required.
These tools can be a bit ‘sledgehammer to crack a nut’, but we’ve found over the years that a central point of reference, repository, story-board and discussion place is usually welcome, especially in an increasingly work-from-anywhere world.
Monitoring & Analytics.
You’ll want insights into your volume of traffic, the profile of your visitors (where they’re based, what sort of devices they’re using, mobile usage), detail on how long they spend on the site, how many pages they visit, whether they’re first-time or returning visitors, and so on and so on.
The tool of choice is, of course, Google Analytics, and it integrates very well with WordPress. As, unsurprisingly, it does with Google Ads. Learn more here.
You may well want more insight into exactly how visitors behave once they are on your site, and for that you’ll need to turn to a tool such as Hotjar. It’ll help identify any problems or bottlenecks, and for e-commerce, it will help you test and tweak as you experiment with CRO – Conversion Rate Optimisation.
Another area where ability and experience may not be visible on the surface is that of connecting with ‘other’ systems, from payment gateway providers to add on services such as Live Chat, to complex inventory, shipping and ordering configuration.
You may not need integration, typically via an API (of which there are many types) in early stages, but when a potential partner or value-adder gets in touch and says something like “just put us in touch with your developer and we’ll get you hooked up to our API” then cracks may begin to show. Your site will grow, your services and profile will develop, and your site will need to do the same. We’ll be ready for you.
We have this experience in house, we don’t farm out the tricky stuff – we love the tricky stuff!
Of course we still use email – it’s not dead, far from it. But it doesn’t scale well, it quickly gets messy when things expand. That’s why we’re big fans of project management tools – everything in one place, everything with a who/what/when trail.
For chat we use Slack or Teams, of course, but WhatsApp groups can work, as can Skype. If something really needs demonstrating or fixing in a hurry, we’re also very comfortable with TeamViewer, AnyDesk and LogMeIn, all good ‘Remote control’ or screen-sharing solutions.
And that’s likely more than enough on systems and tools; use the link below to get in touch and start an interesting discussion, arrange a call, or ask a question or two regarding your next web site design or online development requirements.
Go ahead and get in touch.
We’re a small and serious team of experienced designers and developers, ready to talk to you about any web project. You may already have a site that needs a re-design or added functionality; you may be starting a new business or project, or perhaps your business is growing and you need help with progressing things online.