SoBold is pleased to announce that they have renewed their contract with Transport for London to manage and support a bespoke Cookie Consent Management Tool for use across TfL’s portfolio of websites which includes 30 domains.
SoBold recently became only the 3rd Platinum Certified Cookiebot Partner in the UK having been an authorised Reseller of Cookiebot since the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into place on 24 May 2018.
Transport for London’s desire to extend its relationship with SoBold for a further year, highlights the importance of the work SoBold are doing to manage its bespoke Cookie Consent Management solution across its portfolio of website which have missions of visitors per month. The contract renewal cements SoBold’s position as one of the leading Cookiebot resellers.
For more information on SoBold’s work to date with Transport for London, see their case study.
SoBold Technical Director, Sam Phillips said:
It is great to see Transport for London renew its cookie management contract with SoBold for a fifth successive year. Over the last year we have continued to evolve their bespoke solution adding in full IAB TCF support as well updating the design to reflect TFL’s updated guidelines. We’re looking forward to continuing to support TfL over the next 12 months.
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- Bespoke development capabilities
- Easy integration with existing systems and legacy technology
- Scalability and performance in peak traffic
- Enterprise-grade security
- Quick and easy editing capabilities
- Drupal is a highly secure platform, which is a crucial quality for a CMS to have.
- It’s very intuitive for users who have coding experience or advanced content management skills.
- It has a great community of users surrounding it, which contributes a lot of value and is able to provide support.
- It also has hundreds of unique thematic options to choose from when designing your site.
- Drupal can be hard to work with for non-technical users, as it lacks simplicity and provides limited customisation.
- It can take a long time to get up and running, which means your costs will be quite high if you work with an agency partner.
- It’s also worth noting that the version of Drupal most businesses use now (Drupal 7) will be reaching end-of-life soon.
- Sitecore is purpose-built for large businesses, guaranteeing an enterprise-grade experience.
- Sitecore is a robust CMS with a high level of in-built security.
- It actually provides a fully-managed ‘digital experience platform’ that comes with more capabilities than the average CMS.
- It also offers great personalisation and excellent pre-built features.
- Sitecore is an expensive option, even if you have a large budget to work with.
- It requires you to procure licenses to begin using it, and also restricts certain capabilities unless you progress to higher tiers of licenses.
- It typically runs with hierarchical, complex workflows that might be frustrating for small or agile teams.
- Umbraco’s scalability makes it very suitable for large businesses.
- It’s free to use and open-source, with an active community of users supporting it.
- It allows you to manage a high volume of pages easily and efficiently.
- It’s another platform that comes with a high level of in-built security.
- It can be difficult to work with for the average user. As with Drupal, Umbraco is mostly suitable for more technical users who have coding skills or some development experience.
- This complexity again increases the likelihood of higher costs with your agency partner (if you go that route).
- It’s common for sites built with Umbraco to be reported as slow, for both back-end editing and the front-end user experience.
- WordPress is extremely scalable and dynamic. It can easily grow and evolve as your business grows, continuing to meet your changing needs.
- It’s renowned for its ease-of-use. Because of this, it enables you to deliver your projects quickly and efficiently.
- It’s highly customisable, making it ideal for bespoke development. With the right knowledge and skills, you can build almost anything with WordPress.
- It also typically comes with a very low total cost of ownership (TCO). You won’t need to add on new features or capabilities, nor pay for costly extra work to handle platform upgrades or updates.
- If you apply too many plug-ins, WordPress sites can slow down and experience dips in performance, but a good agency partner should encourage you to minimise the use of these.
- Some still see WordPress as an unprofessional platform used mostly for small blogs, but that old myth couldn’t be further from the truth today.
- WordPress is a secure platform, but plug-ins can create vulnerabilities if they’re not tested well or taken from untrusted sources. Again, a good agency partner should guide you with this to reduce the risk and prevent any issues.
- Design look and feel
- Structure and navigation
- Features and functionality
- User experience
- Content and layout
- Speed and performance
- And anything else relevant to your project.
- Quality Assurance Testing
- Migration and Launch.
- Website Data
- Target Audience
- Industry Landscape
- Your target audience now has a shorter attention span, and less patience when browsing websites and services online
- Your target audience also has more choice of options than ever before when choosing who to buy from.
30 November, 2022
Comparing the Leading Content Management Systems (CMS) for Large Businesses
A content management system (CMS) is a type of software-based technology, used to build and manage websites and other digital products. A CMS allows you to easily create, edit, and publish digital content across a range of online channels, such as the web and mobile. This is the most common technology platform used by businesses to build assets such as websites, with almost two thirds (63%) of all sites on the Internet now delivered via a CMS.
With that in mind, it’s clear why most businesses today are heavily reliant on this technology. Whether you’re developing something new from scratch or switching from an old platform to a new one, selecting your CMS is an extremely important decision with a lot riding on it. But with such a vast landscape of digital solutions to navigate, and so many different options available, finding the right CMS can be overwhelming.
To help you through the process of finding the right CMS, this article compares four of the most common options for large businesses. We’ve also listed their pros and cons, and provided some additional considerations that will be useful for you to think about along the way.
First, the Criteria
A CMS can be used to build various digital products and assets, from websites and mobile apps to bespoke systems like staff portals and internal training platforms. Particularly in large businesses, it’s common to need to create some bespoke features, functionality, or digital processes as well. Whatever it is you need, you should aim to find a platform that’s capable of delivering on your specific requirements.
Here are some points to include in your criteria when researching the options for your CMS:
Now we’ve covered what a CMS should be able to do when you start implementing it within your business, let’s look at the different platforms available to you.
Option 1 – Drupal
Option 2 – Sitecore
Option 3 – Umbraco
Option 4 – WordPress
Interested in learning more? Check out our related article here, where we explore the benefits of WordPress for large businesses in greater detail.
A Brief Word on Agency Partners
As touched on earlier, you’ll also need to consider whether you want to take the approach of working with an agency partner or not. For large businesses, most development projects tend to involve complex requirements that are almost impossible to manage without the support of an experienced agency.
An agency partner can provide you with strategic guidance, platform-specific skills and tools, and expertise to help you gain as much value from the technology as possible. While it’s perfectly valid to decide to implement a new CMS without an agency working alongside you, doing so will probably make things a lot more challenging, a lot more expensive, or possibly both.
All the platforms mentioned here have their benefits. But they’ll each be significantly easier to use, and will deliver far greater return on investment (ROI), if you have an experienced partner involved.
How to Choose the Best Option for Your Business
Keep in mind that every business is unique and every web development project is different. These platforms are all good options in their own way, but a solution that works well for the majority of organisations might not be the right choice for you.
Whether you’re building a bespoke website or migrating an existing site to a new platform, you have to be thorough in your assessment and make the right choice for your specific business.
To really understand the pros and cons of these options, you first have to be clear about exactly what you need and what you’re aiming to achieve. You’ll then need to determine which solution best aligns with your requirements, budget, and strategic objectives.
If you’re in the process of assessing solutions to help you deliver a bespoke development project, read our comprehensive guide to evaluating and selecting the right platform here.
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18 April, 2023
Understanding the Important Role of Research and Planning When Designing a New Website
Before you begin working on the design elements of a website project, it’s important to begin with, what we at SoBold call, a research and planning phase.
The purpose of a research and planning phase is to ensure that every single decision you make about your design will result in a more effective website, both in terms of your business goals and your users’ needs.
During this phase, you’ll work alongside your chosen agency to define the full scope of your website and all its requirements. This phase will also involve looking closely at your target audience, trends in your market, your competitors, and any data available from your existing website.
This research is extremely useful in shaping the direction you take with your website and helping you to capitalise on certain trends that may align with your strategic objectives.
In this article, we’ll explain how a research and planning phase works to help you know what to expect when entering your own website design project.
Website Strategy Workshop
A research and planning phase usually begins with a strategic workshop. This workshop will bring all the relevant stakeholders together, either in person or over a video call, to agree on the goals and parameters of the project.
A workshop is a great collaborative environment to help your agency become even more familiar with your brand, your target audience, and the outcomes you’re looking for from your new website.
Your agency should work closely with you to determine how the objectives you have for your new website feed into your wider business goals. That will be the key to finding the right approach to designing your website.
Once the workshop is completed, the research can begin.
Leveraging Data to Dictate User Experience (UX) Decisions
Every decision you make about your website’s design needs to be informed and justified by data.
As it’s becoming increasingly difficult to capture and retain your audience’s attention, nothing can be left to chance. It’s also negligent to overlook the vast range of valuable insights available to you within your data, and the data in the public domain.
Your agency should begin by analysing the performance of your website in Google Analytics. This can help to help understand the current behaviours and trends from your website users.
Most businesses use Google Analytics, but few understand the right things to measure. For many businesses, Google Analytics is an untapped gold mine of data and insights that can help you improve site engagement, retain more visitors, and ultimately grow your business.
You can conduct a thorough analysis of things like:
1 – Your Audience Acquisition
Google Analytics can help you identify where your visitors have found you and accessed your website from.
Whether through organic search, social media, direct, or referral, you’ll learn how all your visitors are acquired. This information is vital, as it can allow you to tailor different parts of your website to certain visitors at various stages of their journey with you.
For example, if organic traffic is a key driver of your website traffic, it’s important for your agency to ensure that lots of the hierarchical structure of copy is maintained throughout the site.
This is also helpful in optimising your wider digital marketing strategy, by recognising what’s working well and what isn’t, from a web traffic perspective.
Bonus Tip – If you’re running Google Adwords, make sure your agency partner is aware of all the URLs that need to be redirected, and that this doesn’t affect your ad spend.
2 – Your Visitors’ Demographics
Google Analytics can provide detailed insights into your website’s visitors, with data covering everything from age, gender, location, language, and more. This helps you gain a clear, specific understanding of who’s coming to your website, and that can inform important decisions about your design.
It will also help you determine whether or not you’re attracting the right audience, which could alert you to a need for changes in your design and branding.
Bonus Tip – If you have a lot of visitors from other countries, you may need to talk to your agency about setting up a content delivery network (CDN) on the hosting server to deliver content from that location.
3 – Your Visitors’ Interests
You can use Google Analytics to view information about your visitors’ interests, past searches, and other online behaviour. This can help you identify what they’re looking for when they’re visiting your site. You can then tailor your design and content to match any unaddressed questions, challenges, or needs they might be looking to meet.
4 – Your Visitors’ Behaviour
Google Analytics can give you a graphical representation of your visitors’ behaviour when interacting with your site. This includes where they’ve entered your site, where they went next, what their whole journey through your site looks like, and where they eventually left.
This provides great opportunities to optimise certain pages that aren’t performing well enough. You can also learn what your visitors respond well to from pages that already have strong engagement.
Mapping your users’ journeys may also uncover insights to help you create links between certain services, hone in on special offers that will drive increased conversions, and many other ways to boost engagement.
5 – Your Conversions
Your conversions are a critical measurement of your site’s success. Whether you’re aiming for subscriptions, demo sign-ups, contact form submissions, downloads, or anything else, failing to achieve your conversion targets means something isn’t working.
You can use Google Analytics to set goals for conversions, monitor performance, and highlight areas where you need to improve.
Taking this analytical approach will ensure your website’s design is tailored to supporting your strategic objectives.
Bonus Tip – On July 1, 2023, for continued website measurement, you’ll need to migrate your original property settings to a Google Analytics 4 (GA4) property. Your agency partner should be on top of this though.
Next, if applicable, your agency should review any existing tracking resources you have in place on your website.
A successful website design is based on many different factors, each an important component in engaging your audience, converting them into clients, and growing your business.
This is why it’s useful to look into key metrics you may use to measure your success against, then use the related data and analytics to inform your design. Tailoring your UX based on your findings will ensure your website is designed specifically to optimise your user behaviours.
Bonus Tip – If you don’t have any additional tracking in place, both HotJar and Crazy Egg are great tools to use.
Analysing External Factors
Understanding Your Target Audience
One of the most important parts of building a new website is understanding the preferences of the audience you’re targeting. You know what your ideal customer profiles (ICP) look like, but do you understand how they behave when interacting with websites online?
Every decision about your website’s design must be made with consideration and empathy for your users. As touched on in the previous section, audience research will include a wide range of variables, including:
This part of the research will contribute towards building user personas and user journeys at a later stage of the design process.
A user persona is a fictional person that you can use to represent the target audience of your website. These personas will help you focus on the desired interactions between the ideal user and the website you’re building. Creating personas also helps to map the users’ needs to your goals for the project.
A user journey is a path that a user may take to reach their goal when using your website. Hypothetical user journeys are created at this stage, as they help to identify the different ways the site’s design needs to enable the user to achieve their goal as quickly and easily as possible.
With these, you can begin to paint a picture of how your target audience will interact with your website, allowing you to create a satisfying user experience.
Researching your industry landscape will reveal a great deal about what to do, and what not to do. An analysis of the wider market you operate in will help you benchmark yourself against industry leaders, and highlight mistakes being made by any businesses lagging behind. It’s useful to be aware of any industry trends or points of influence that may inform your website’s design as well.
Bonus Tip – You’re an expert in your industry. Your agency is not, but they are experts in web design and marketing trends. Work closely together by leveraging each other’s knowledge and expertise to paint the full picture of what makes modern websites successful from a design perspective.
It’s also crucial to conduct a thorough competitor analysis to see what the benchmark is for a successful website in your industry. Conversely, some competitors may provide examples of bad design that can help you identify pitfalls to avoid with your own site.
Around five of your competitors is usually a good number to look into. To do this, your agency should work with you on assessing their websites in key areas such as:
This research will allow you to recognise opportunities, gaps in the market, important trends, and any other insights you can gather.
Making Data-Driven Decisions
Following all this research, your agency will work on developing a strategy for your website, recommending the optimum route through the rest of the design process.
Your agency will provide a report detailing all the findings from the strategy workshop and research. This should often include a sitemap document and a content framework for your site as well.
An agency should always provide the opportunity for feedback and iterations on crucial documents like this, so you should then be given time to review this and provide feedback.
Bonus Tip – Don’t be afraid to ask questions, challenge things you’re unsure about, or change your mind during this feedback and revision process. These are big decisions, and it’s important to be 100% sure about the direction your website’s design is being taken.
Once you’ve worked through this feedback with your agency and you’re happy with everything they’ve planned, you can then move into the phase of the project that focuses on the visual identity of your site.
Bringing it All Together in the Design
A thorough, well managed research and planning phase is an essential part of designing a successful website. By having a strategy backed up by tangible data in place, you’ll be able to work through the remaining phases of the overall design process in a more efficient and effective way.
It also helps anticipate any challenges or potential issues in the design process and allows you to mitigate them before they arise, saving you time and money in the long-run.
This phase is arguably the most important in ensuring your agency can meet your specific requirements and expectations, on time and within budget.
If you’d like to discover what’s involved in the next phase of a web design project, exploring the visual identity of your site, read our next article here.
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18 April, 2023
Exploring the End-to-End Process of Web Design
In this article, we’ll outline the end-to-end steps of what takes place in a thorough user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) web design process and discuss what modern web design requires to be successful.
You may have read our in-depth guide to creating a brief for a web design and development project. A brief can be used to capture all your ideas and requirements before discussing your project with any web design and development agencies.
Once you’ve completed your brief, and evaluated your options for agency partners, you’ll be ready to launch into your website project.
An end-to-end website project is typically organised into phases, which will usually be structured as follows:
We’ve provided a detailed breakdown of these phases in a recent series of articles. This series is intended to give you a clear understanding of the full end-to-end process involved when working with an agency to design and develop a website. This will help you remove any apprehension heading into this kind of project and set you up for success.
The Current State of Web Design
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”Steve Jobs, Co-Founder and former CEO of Apple.
While web design does focus on the visual aspects of the site, there’s a lot more to it than just the aesthetic elements like colour schemes and typography.
Web design is a complex blend of branding, user experience (UX) design, user interface (UI) design, graphic design, content creation, layout and structure, accessibility, and much more.
The design of your website needs to be visually attractive but, more importantly, it also needs to be simple and easy-to-use. Your website needs to find the perfect balance between supporting your strategic objectives and serving your clients with a seamless experience. Of course, that’s much easier said than done, which is why it’s so important to find an experienced partner you can trust to guide you through the process.
Outlining the Web Design Process
Phase 1 – Research and Planning
The phase that underpins EVERYTHING!
A good agency will have absorbed everything in your project brief. They should also have worked hard to understand your perspective and your requirements from your website, before you’ve even agreed to work together.
Once you’re preparing to launch the project, the research and planning phase will then go beyond that initial information gathering exercise.
The objective of this phase is to define the full scope of the website, including its design, its features and functionality, its content, and everything else involved.
Your site will be discussed in extensive detail, and then research will be conducted into some key areas that will inform your design and development, such as:
Whether you’re making small updates to an existing design or completely rebranding your business, it’s equally important to use this research to inform every decision you make. That’s because every element of your site’s design must be made to support your business goals and serve your target audience with a great user experience (UX).
This research and planning phase is essential in enabling you and your agency partner to do that.
Phase 2 – Visual Exploration
This exploratory phase involves defining the most appropriate and effective visual direction to take with your site.
The main tool used to help determine the right visual identity for your website is a set of mood boards. These are a visual compilation of different options for colour, typography, structure, images, and other visual components that are used to tell your brand’s story through your website’s design.
A good agency partner will usually present around three mood boards to help shape the direction, then collaborate with you to narrow it down to one final version.
Visual exploration, like most processes within web design and development, will be collaborative and iterative. You’ll be presented with ideas by your agency partner, then given the chance to provide feedback across several rounds of revisions.
Phase 3 – User Experience (UX) Design
The UX design process is the phase in which you work with your agency’s UX specialist to create a blueprint of the website functionality.
This involves creating wireframes (either low-fidelity or high fidelity) that help you visualise the design and outline your website visitors’ flow through the pages into your main calls-to-action. This is the way the website’s design works strategically to drive outcomes that align with your business goals.
This phase takes place before working on the site’s visual design to ensure the two separate aspects complement each other.
Phase 4 – User Interface (UI) Design
From there, your user interface (UI) will be designed. The styles, fonts, and look and feel of the site from the mood boards will be applied to the wireframes.
Your agency will likely present you with a design for your homepage before moving on to the rest of the site. This will typically be done on a desktop screen size, but it can be done on mobile if you want to take a mobile-first approach. Once this is complete, it will then be designed across the relevant breakpoints.
After completing this process, your agency partner will be ready to enter into developing your website.
Making Complex Processes Simple
As technology continues to become more advanced, more and more of our daily lives now take place in a digital-first context. This means:
In order to succeed, your website’s design requires careful planning, research, and a strategic approach if it hopes to meet the demands of the modern client.
Working with a specialist design and development agency is a proven approach to ensuring you gain a website that meets your requirements and delivers on the expectations of your target audience.
Completing a process like the one outlined in this article will enable you to design a website that can become your clients’ go-to online source when they have a need.
As mentioned earlier, we’ve provided a step-by-step guide to each of these phases to make the process even easier for you.
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4 January, 2023
SoBold’s 2022 Round-Up
As we’re now into the first week of 2023, this feels like an appropriate time to reflect on what was another thoroughly successful year for SoBold in 2022.
We’re now working with enterprise clients and providing them with excellent website design and development services. We’ve also continued to grow our client base and are proud to have consistently produced outstanding work on their behalf throughout the year.
We’re pleased to have strengthened our presence in the healthcare and financial services industries. Now, we’re looking forward to building and managing more scalable products for our clients in the year ahead.
Our High-Performance Team
The definition of “high-performance” will vary from person to person, and you may have your own idea of what it means to you. For us, as an agency, it means every member of our team holds each other accountable to always perform at the highest possible level, so we can achieve a standard of excellence for all our clients.
We’ve used “high-performance” as a core value of our company since day one, and have worked very hard over the years to build a “high-performance” team. In 2022, this continued to develop and has allowed us to push those standards even higher, which is something we take a lot of pride in.
We were excited to see all three of our business teams grow in 2022: design, development, and operations. Over the past year, we also made a conscious effort to ensure the whole agency is working closer together as a more functional unit, for the benefit of our clients.
As the team has grown, we’ve had to implement more processes, which has allowed us to scale, and will enable us to continue to scale, as we move into the next cycle of our business.
Congratulations to Ivo Georgiev, who’s coming to the end of a successful apprenticeship scheme, which he did with us and the help of QA’s Tech, Digital, and IT Apprenticeship.
The SoBold Website!
In 2022 we launched our new SoBold website. Finding time to do this while continuously delivering projects for our ever-growing client base was a challenge, but one I’m really proud of the team for managing so well. We used this as a beta project to roll out a new SoBold workflow, and whilst there’s still some way to go to perfect this, we’re really happy with how it’s looking on the front-end!
Every member of the team worked on this in some way or another, and we’re already getting considerably more inbound leads and exposure from it.
We’ve been working hard on becoming more active in the online community as well, and this is notable particularly over the last quarter where we’ve increased our marketing. We were fortunate to be interviewed by Cloudways, who are a cloud hosting service provider we work closely with, and you can see this interview here.
Clutch has continued to be a new business driver for us and our profile has gained more exposure amongst the country’s best website design and development businesses.
We’ve also begun producing a selection of in-depth guides and blog articles to help our community more easily navigate the current technology landscape. You can find all that useful content on our blog.
We’re grateful to have worked with so many wonderful people from some brilliant clients over the past 12 months, and have built an array of different sites each with their own unique brief and challenge.
If you’d like to gain insight into the process we follow with our clients for project briefings, check out this recent article, which also includes a helpful brief template.
This is a great chance to showcase below some of the work we’re most proud of in 2022, for a selection of companies who are doing some very interesting things to make positive change in their respective industries:
Built and Live
Jamie and the Jam – Jamie and the Jam conceptualise, create, deliver, and manage beautifully bespoke content for their clients and their audiences.
Amplitude Clinical – Amplitude is a leading UK Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) and clinical outcomes platform.
Arenko – Arenko is a market-leading technology provider enabling the clean energy transition.
Dictate.IT – Dictate.IT helps healthcare organisations across the UK and Ireland harness the power of speech to deliver seamless, efficient, and effective document management.
Edgerley Simpson Howe – Edgerley Simpson Howe are specialist out-of-town retail, leisure, and commercial roadside property consultants.
Pippo – Pippo lets you book your GP appointments whenever and wherever suits you.
Common Purpose – Common Purpose offers exceptional personal training in the heart of Mayfair. If you’re looking to start with a new gym or PT in the new year, Common Purpose are your guys to speak to!
Still Waiting to go Live!
Coller Capital – Coller Capital is one of the largest global investors in the private equity secondary market.
Healthlink – Healthlink connects more than 15,000 medical organisations across Australia and New Zealand.
Konnect Net – Konnect Net helps businesses in the insurance and health sectors exchange data in a quick and secure way.
There’s also a handful of special clients listed below that want to highlight, either because of the longevity of the relationships or the positive impact our work has made on their businesses:
Kapow Primary, whom we’ve been working with since 2018, is now used in almost one third of all UK primary schools, with over 30,000 primary school teachers using the Kapow Primary platform each week.
Our amazing Kapow team has been working on some really inspiring projects over the past few months particularly, and we cannot wait to share more when we publish these live.
You can learn more about our work with Kapow, and how we first started, in our case study here.
We started working with Rede Partners in late 2019 to help bring their vision ‘RedeWire’ to life. RedeWire is a new interactive online limited partner (LP) portal, providing instant access to Rede’s current fundraising offering.
RedeWire has had a closed launch, so we’re really excited for it to launch to their wider audiences in Q1 of this year.
Transport for London
Transport for London has renewed its cookie management contract with us for a fifth successive year. This highlights not only the great work we’re doing with them, but the importance of the relationship we’ve built with them.
We’re proud to have been working with Clanwilliam since 2017, and our relationship has flourished each year since then. We initially started working with their Global HQ, before being rolled out across their three divisions Clanwilliam Ireland (site being redesigned in Q1 2023!), Clanwilliam UK, and Clanwilliam ANZ.
We work with over 15 of their brands designing, developing, managing, and hosting their websites. We also work closely with these brands to help them with their branding and print design activations.
2022 saw Clanwilliam take a major shift in their global brand, choosing us to help them rebrand from Clanwilliam Group, dropping the ‘Group’. We worked closely with their Global Brand and Communications Director, Lauren Turner, to help bring this to life.
We all went into the process looking to rebrand Clanwilliam in its entirety, changing the logo and creating a completely new brand. However, we quickly realised the logo was going to stay and the brand needed to change around this.
We uplifted Clanwilliam’s colour pallet and fonts, creating a new brand that much better reflects their company’s values and ambitions.
You can see a more detailed case study about what we did here.
It’s Not All Websites Though!
Our talented Graphic Design Team was busy in 2022 too, across multiple rebrands and supporting various Knight Frank divisions. Some of our Knight Frank work is highlighted here.
We’ve also successfully managed to move all our clients into our Positive Park Hosting environment, which is based in Cambridgeshire. This has meant all our sites are running on a more optimised and bespoke server, tailored to their needs. Our VIP enterprise-grade support at the hosting park has made a positive impact, ensuring all our clients have peace of mind that their sites are secure and stable.
The hosting environment is an eco-friendly data centre that uses 100% renewable energy and is certified by the Green Web Foundation.
You can learn more about our hosting solution on our WordPress Website Hosting service page.
In addition to working with our clients, we’ve also been working hard on improving our processes, becoming more compliant and becoming a more reputable company across the board.
We became ISO 90001-compliant in 2022 and have successfully put our project management systems in place. Our Project Manager, Anna de Moraes, has been instrumental in implementing processes to optimise our workflow, and she’ll continue to drive the business forward into 2023.
We were absolutely delighted to work with Nation.Better to get a Skilled Licence VISA sponsorship as well, which opens up opportunities for us to hire more global talent. This is something as a business we’ve been looking forward to for a while now. Getting this licence and already hiring two people, and giving them the opportunity to work in London, is something we’re really proud of.
2023 and Beyond!
2023 is only going to be bigger and better for us here at SoBold. We have big plans to execute on our hiring strategy and intend to grow the team across all areas of the business. Doing so will help us continue to improve the service we provide to our clients.
We’ll continue to work with key clients in our industry focuses: healthcare, finance, real estate, and SaaS. As we work with more medium to enterprise-sized clients, we’re confident we’ll become more recognised as the High-Performance WordPress agency.
Thanks for reading. We hope you have a great year in 2023!
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9 June, 2023
Exploring the End-to-End Process of Website Development
Approaching a website development project can be daunting if you’re unfamiliar with the process and unsure what to expect. In this article, we’ll provide a detailed overview of the web development process to help you understand what’s involved, making it easier for you to approach a project yourself and avoid any pitfalls.
Your Role as the Client
If you read our recent series of in-depth guides through the end-to-end process of web design, you’ll know that process will usually involve a lot of collaboration between you, your team members, and the agency you’re working with.
Once you’ve been through that process and your design is complete, you’ll need to move to the development stage of the project to bring your designs to life.
You’ll likely have less involvement in the development stage, and less collaboration will be required, so your role will primarily be to sit back and relax while a team of skilled developers do their thing.
Depending on the project size, complexity and project management approach, you may have some touch-points with your agency partner throughout the process. If you are taking an Agile approach, this may include sprint retrospective meetings, or if you are working in a different way, this may just include short demonstrations, walk-throughs of certain pieces of bespoke functionality, or it could just be allowing you to start familiarising yourself with different features as they’re being built.
A Smooth Handover from Design to Development
One of our core qualities here at SoBold is ensuring the design and development processes work closely together. That’s achieved by not only having a very integrated design and development team in the office, but also ensuring we hold a thorough, detailed handover meeting between the designers and the developers at this stage. This serves as a key aspect of every project we work on.
The purpose of this is to give the developers a full understanding of the website or platform they need to build before any work begins, reducing the risk of error and accelerating the delivery time.
Every agency will have their own approach to this. It should usually involve the project designer(s) and project manager(s) walking the development team through everything that took place during the design process and explaining the thought process behind the decisions they’ve made. They’ll also give suggestions and guidance for how the design might be best approached from a development point of view.
Any questions the developers have about their task at hand can be answered during the handover meeting, and at any time throughout the development process, allowing the development work to flow efficiently and effectively.
The Benefits of Working with a Full-Service Web Design and Development Agency
It’s so important to align your web designers and developers, because, more often than not, there are fundamental differences in how they think and approach their work. If you decide to work with an out-and-out web design agency to design your site, with a separate development agency building it, you may encounter gaps in understanding between the two processes.
Working with an agency partner that has specialist expertise for both disciplines in-house will ensure your website is delivered on time, within budget, and directly aligned with your requirements. Having designers and developers in the same team who can share knowledge throughout the processes will almost always result in the delivery of a higher quality project too.
Building Your Website
With the handover complete, the developers will begin building your website.
Most development agencies will likely start with setting up the base. This involves setting up the base styles of the site which includes and is not limited to default colours, typography styles and global components – including button and link styles.
Once the base is set up, your developers would typically move onto the navigation and footer set up before moving onto building out all the page templates and blocks in the design should they be taking a block based approach.
Part of this process will often involve integrating certain components of your site with other systems you use within your business.
Peer Reviews and Testing to Maintain High-Performance Standards
It’s important for your agency to review and test internally all the elements that have been built, so any bugs are identified and rectified as early as possible.
Again, different agencies will have differing approaches to this. Here at SoBold, we leverage the size and experience of our team to conduct a thorough peer review process on every single component we build.
Following this internal review process, you’ll usually be given a link to your site in a staging environment.
All your content will have likely been carried over from your existing site and redirects should also be in place so that when you push the site live, any old redundant links will be redirected to the appropriate page on your new site.
If you have any live marketing campaigns running, it’s important to ensure your development agency and your marketing team (or agency) are in regular communication prior to this, so they can keep your campaigns updated in line with your new site’s launch.
Smooth Sailing Post-Launch
Once your new website is live, you’ll likely have a period of time whereby your agency will be on hand to fix any bugs that relate to the content on the new site. Here at SoBold we work with our clients for a period of 30 days following the launch of their sites, and any ongoing support beyond this 30-day bug-fix window will require a separate maintenance agreement.
Your agency should also go through the back-end of your platform with you, so you know exactly how to make changes to your website. For the most part, agencies will understand how important it is for you to be able to manage the site yourselves internally, and this is something we believe is crucial for you to be shown in detail at the end of the development process.