Web Design FAQ

Find answers to commonly asked web design questions. We aim to provide transparency to our clients and strive to maintain clarity in our process, recommendations and pricing. If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for here, please contact us.

Is Parachute an accredited web design agency?

Yes, Parachute Design an award-winning web design company, fully accredited by RGD Ontario (Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario) as well as the GDC (Graphic Designers of Canada). Parachute also enjoys an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau of Canada.

Our web design firm has also won awards and various commendations for creative and professional excellence from Clutch.

What is the best CMS for a website?

Maybe we’re biased, having worked with WordPress since 2003, but it’s hard to argue against the most popular CMS in the world. WordPress currently powers more than 30% of all websites on the internet today – more than any other CMS platform available.

We love WordPress because it’s extremely flexible to achieve a fully custom website design and offers unmatched compatibility with external tools, platforms and functions. Not to mention it’s incredibly easy to use, which makes it a hit with our clients.

What is the best CMS for eCommerce?

When it comes to choosing the best CMS for eCommerce there are a number of options available and there is no “one size fits all” platform. In most cases, our web designers and developers rely on custom WordPress development to launch e-commerce websites, but this isn’t the best fit for everyone.

If you’re a startup or a relatively small business, Shopify is a great platform to get your feet wet and test the market for your product or service. Shopify can be setup relatively fast by choosing a pre-built template, adding your products and setting up a payment gateway. Design options and features are limited within the Shopify environment compared to a custom WordPress or Magento website, but it’s a great place to get started with it’s low startup cost. Be aware however that Shopify is a closed system and there are regular monthly fees to use the platform.

For larger or maturing businesses a custom WordPress website is an ideal platform to operate an online store. Using the WooCommerce plugin the sky is the limit when it comes to creating a truly custom interface design and online shopping experience. There is a bottomless pit of plugins available to extend the functionality of your website and if there isn’t a plugin available to achieve exactly what you want, we can build one! Custom WordPress requires a more significant startup cost compared to a closed system like Shopify, but once you’re up and running there are no monthly fees unless you enlist the help of a web developer for support and website maintenance.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world, powering about one-third of all websites in existence today. WordPress is build on the PHP programming language and is an open source platform, meaning that it is not owned by any entity and is entirely free to download and use to create highly customized websites.

WordPress is extremely flexible through the use of its open source programming language and near endless list of plugins that can be installed to extend or modify the default functionality of the CMS to scale a website from startup to enterprise-level with relative ease.

Our web design agency has been crafting custom WordPress website design since 2003 and is widely regarded as a leader in the field.

To learn more about our experience and WordPress design capabilities, book a call to discuss your project and get a free estimate.

What is a headless CMS?

Headless CMS is gaining popularity as more businesses are using their content across multiple mediums. A headless CMS is essentially a content management system that allows us to create content that is not stored within to married to a particular source, for example, a web page. Instead, it provides the content as data through an API (application programming interface).

The term “head” in headless CMS refers to the final destination of the content or data, while the body, so to speak is the place in which the content is created and stored – separate from the head. This may sound a bit confusing at first, but if we look at a traditional CMS, like WordPress as an example, we know that we log into WordPress to create and store our content. This content is then served up to the front-end of the website in the page theme. Everything is contained within the WordPress website environment.

In a headless CMS, still using WordPress as an example, we could create and store the content within the WordPress CMS, but the content, or data, could be sent anywhere outside of that environment. This application is very useful in cases where a business may operate a website, mobile app and in-store interactive devices that all draw content from the same source.

Essentially, a headless CMS allows us to maintain the body (which is the content or data) and pick and choose which head (the output source such as a website or mobile app) we want to use for the output of that data.

How much does a website cost?

Pricing out a website project can vary from agency to agency depending on their experience, skill level and web design process. With two decades of experience under our belt, we’ve designed more than 200 websites and have a deep well of experience to draw from when creating an accurate estimate to figure out the cost of a website design project.

There are two primary factors that determine the cost of the website:

  • Number of unique page layouts required, and
  • Functionality requirements

The number of unique page layouts varies from website to website. On average, a typical B2B website design requires about 15 unique pages, while more complex websites can require more than 20 unique page designs. This element factors into the price of the website as each unique page requires wireframing and user experience design as well as creative UI design for desktop and mobile environments. Multiply this by the number of pages and you get a sense of the work involved in a custom website. Then you add web development to the mix.

Website functionality is the other key factor in accurately quoting a website design project. A typical B2B website design with a CRM and/or email marketing platform integration is quite standard, while more complex websites that feature a user portal, gated access environments or e-commerce development require significantly more development time than a standard information-based website.

To build an accurate project scope and formal proposal we first book a call with you to determine these requirements and review your project goals. Or, many people first prepare and submit a formal RFP that includes the project brief and scope of work from which we can create a formal proposal as well.

When initially discussing website projects, we base our scope outline on the following averages:

  • Microsite (3-5 pages) design and development may range from $15,000-$20,000.
  • B2B Marketing websites range from $50,000-$70,000+
  • Custom eCommerce web development starts at $60,000; and
  • Custom or interactive web development such as portals or membership sites starts at $70,000.
  • Search engine optimization is woven into all web design project tiers.

Book a call today to discuss your project goals, learn about our experience discuss the timeline and approximate budget.

How much does website maintenance cost?

Website maintenance is a necessary part of owning and operating a website. Depending on the nature and complexity of your website maintenance costs will vary anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars per month. Following the launch of your website, we include 60-days of complimentary website maintenance and support. This period allows us to determine the type of maintenance and care your website will need from month to month.

WordPress website maintenance is generally fairly straightforward and is conducted each month. When your maintenance comes due, we push your website to a private staging environment and perform any core and plugin updates. We test the site to ensure everything is running properly and then migrate the website back to the production server. This type of maintenance starts at $520 per month and will vary depending on the complexity of the website.

How long does a website design project take?

Given the nature of design and the varying complexity between one website and another, there is no set answer to determine the length of a website project. Most web projects require 12 to 14 weeks to complete following our 6-step web design process.

Project features that usually impact the project timeline include items like:

  • Number of unique page designs (we usually base our scope on 15)
  • More complex functionality like portals, or e-commerce development
  • More in-depth search engine optimization and keyword research.
How do I find a web designer?

Finding the right web designer to help grow your business can be challenging. The market is flooded with web designers of varying skill levels and experience. How do you know which web designer or agency is best suited to help you achieve your goals?

We recommend following these steps to find the best web designer for your business:

  • Do a Google search for web designers in your area, or abroad to familiarize yourself with options available.
  • Note which web designers appear at the top of organic search results if SEO and SERP ranking is particularly important to you as these designers clearly know their stuff.
  • Review each web designer’s portfolio and additional design or marketing strategy available and create a list of agencies you would like to book a call with.
  • Speak with each web designer or agency and ask lots of questions about their experience, expertise and have them explain their web design process to make sure you’re comfortable with it.
  • Discuss budget and timeline.
  • Once you’ve narrowed down your options, speak to references or read online reviews to ensure you’re working with a web design agency that has a good reputation for meeting project goals and timelines.
  • Submit an RFP to your top choices and carefully review their proposals to make a decision on which agency to partner with.
What is the web design process?

The web design process is the fundamental road map to achieving highly successful and functional website design. The process will vary from designer to designer, so it’s important to speak to your top choices when looking for a web design agency to partner with and make sure you’re comfortable with their design process and they have the portfolio and reputation to win your business.

Parachute has been honing our 6-step web design process since 2003. We are continually working to refine and improve our process to deliver high-quality design to our clients, but also adapt to the rapidly changing design and technology landscape that presents itself to us each day.

We follow six steps no matter how big or small the project is:

  1. Discovery – we gather as much information, analytics, and competitor data as possible to make the most informed decisions throughout the project.
  2. Strategy – we use the discovery process to design a sitemap, navigational experience and information architecture for the new website.
  3. Creative Design – we create the high-fidelity user interface design concepts based on the wireframes developed in our strategy phase.
  4. Development – next, we build out the new website in a private dev environment away from public view. This allows us to fine-tune the website design and run it through our quality assurance process pre-launch.
  5. Launch – we being launch by staging the website for at least two days prior to public launch to ensure the website behaves as expected on its production server. We deploy websites around 6 am to ensure we have sufficient to roll out the new website and iron out any wrinkles before the public begins clicking through the website. This also allows us the full launch day to support as needed.
  6. Manage and Grow – most agencies end their process at step 5. We however include an additional step we call Manage and Grow that includes full complimentary website support for the first 60-days post-launch. We monitor the website for uptime and performance 24-7 and ensure analytics and performance benchmarks are trending in the right direction right out of the gate. This period also allows us to determine what level of ongoing support our clients may need once the 60-day period expires.

To learn more about a 6-step web design process book a call.

What is site mapping?

Site mapping is the process of determining all the pages that will live within a website design. The site map is usually drawn out in a tree-like format that allows the web designer to work with the client to identify the content or page structure of the website and design a navigational experience to help web users find the information they are looking for quickly and easily.

Site mapping also plays an important role in the search engine optimization process involved in a new website design. Site mapping addresses things like parent navigation labels versus child relationships and helps to determine important features like URL structure.

What is wireframing?

Wireframing is arguably the most important part of a website design project. Wireframes are essentially the same as architectural blueprints and provide context and structure to the creative design process.

We use wireframing to involve our clients in the design process and provide a tangible experience from which they can make the most informed decisions about the direction of their website. Wireframes are void of colour, design and imagery to eliminate all distractions and focus solely on the user experience and page architecture for each and every page within the website.

Investing time in the wireframing process before creative design tends to reduce the volume and severity of design revisions in the creative process which allows the designer to create a much more comprehensive user interface design that drives user engagement and conversion rate.

What are Core Web Vitals?

As of May 2021, Google is introducing a new ranking signal in what is known as its Page Experience Update. This algorithm update combines Core Web Vitals with other user experience signals and is designed to improve the way it measures the complete user experience provided by a web page.

The page experience metric will become a ranking signal in Google’s search algorithm and consists of the Core Web Vitals, as well as these existing page experience metrics:

  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Safe-browsing and security
  • HTTPS-security
  • Intrusive interstitial guidelines.

Contact us to learn more about how Core Web Vitals plays a role in our web design and search engine optimization process.

What is AODA Compliance?

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act or “AODA” was established in 2005 with a mission to provide all Ontarians with equal access to online information and resources. The goal of these website content accessibility guidelines is to remove any barriers that people may encounter due to a disability of visual or auditory nature when viewing website information and content.

Learn more about AODA Compliance and how to make sure your website meets compliance standards.

What is GDPR Compliance?

GDPR is an enforced data protection law on a global scale. Even though it was developed and passed for EU citizens initially, it does devolve into obligations organizations all across the world should be subject to for non-compliance as long as they collect or target data about EU citizens.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) data protection law was put into place in 2016 to enforce privacy laws and impose fines on companies that violate the security and privacy standards related to citizens of the European Union. The penalties can easily land add up to millions of dollars in the case of a data breach or gross misuse of personal data.

With the help of the GDPR, the EU is showing its stance on data privacy and security at times where web users are often too trusting in sharing their personal data online. The regulation on its own is very large and reaches into far-outlined specifics. As such, GDPR compliance is not easy to achieve, specifically for small and medium businesses. Canadian and US businesses that collect and store personal data from EU citizens are required to meet GDPR compliance standards.

Learn more about how to meet GDPR Compliance on your website with our comprehensive road map to GDPR Compliance for Canadian businesses.

How much does a logo design cost?

Logo design is the most difficult type of graphic design project to price out. Logo design and branding are the foundation of your business and subsequently inform all the marketing you will create to promote your product or service for years to come. A logo is incredibly important and quite often a very personal element that requires business owners to make big decisions.

We approach logo design projects in one of two ways:

  1. New logo design: we create 3 completely unique custom logo design concepts. Throughout the review and revision process with our clients, we narrow the initial ideas down to a winning concept and collaborate to refine the artwork into its final form. We then prepare the brand identity kit and business systems including business card design and social profile graphics. This type of project starts at $13,000.
  2. Brand refresh: in the refresh, we are not creating a whole new brand identity from scratch. Instead, we work with your existing brand to give it a facelift or refresh so that we’re not completely overhauling a brand that holds value with an existing customer base. With a subtle refresh, we revive and reinvigorate the brand. A logo refresh starts at $5,000.

Contact us today to discuss your branding options and get a free quote.

What graphic design services do you offer?

Our firm started as a graphic design company in 2003. Since then we have focused on website design, web development, search engine optimization and branding. Our web design company does not actively seek out projects requiring alternative design modalities, but we do provide a number of graphic design services to clients in tandem with digital marketing projects, including:

  • Packaging design
  • Print design (brochures, annual reports)
  • Tradeshow and event graphics (booths, banners)
  • Social media marketing design
  • Email design and development.

Get in touch today to learn more about our graphic design services and get a free quote for your business.

Do you work with WordPress themes?

We do not work with website builders or purchased WordPress themes as they limit the type of design and custom web development we can provide our clients and hinder our ability to meet their goals.

To learn more about our custom WordPress design services contact us.

Do you work with startups?

Yes, absolutely! Working with startups all over Toronto to get their new business up and running is always an exciting part of our business. The opportunity to get in on the ground floor and build a brand or website from scratch is an incredibly rewarding project for our team.

To learn more about how we can help your startup get off the ground contact our web design and development experts today.

Do you offer photography or video production?

No, we do not offer professional photography or video production services, but do have several contacts in Toronto that we’re happy to incorporate into projects or simply refer to our clients to work with directly.

Do you offer website copywriting services?

While we do not have copywriters on staff, we do have a network of freelance writers that we would be happy to refer to work one one-on-one with you to achieve your goals.

Do you offer mobile app development services?

No, we do not develop mobile applications or offer software development, unfortunately as we specialize in web design and branding. However, we do provide mobile application interface design services and happily partner with app developers who specialize in this field.

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