SF MEDIAhttps://sf.media/images/sfmedia_og.jpgWebsite Development from £1500, SEO & PPC Management from £200 per month.GBP, EUR, USDMo,Tu,We,Th,Fr,Sa,Su 08:00-20:002011-07-21
Web Design & Development - SF Media

Web Design Process.

Bespoke designs, tailored to your business.

Website Design Process.

The design of your website and how you are perceived online is hugely important. Ensuring you stand out from the crowd and have an online offering that reflects your brand in the right way can make the difference between winning a new contract or making a sale, or just being overlooked and dismissed.

Every website we design is fully bespoke and tailored to your business, its needs and customers. We don’t use templates or simply re-hash previous work. Every project starts in the same way, with our creative team sat round the meeting table with a blank sheet of paper.

We treat our design phase as more than just producing something visually interesting. To us, the design phase is about exploring key aspects of what the project requires, before we fire up any design software. Elements such as the sitemap, page content and functionality all help to set the agenda for our final designs.

Below we have explored the steps we go through to ensure your website design is more than just a pretty picture, but something that will engage your potential customers and give a positive browsing or purchasing experience.

  1. Sitemap and Content Structure

    We work with you to create a full sitemap for the project. This will typically involve us creating a sitemap document with your entire website page and content structure mapped out. Having a good hierarchy to your website and content has many benefits, it helps create a clear user journey, can often highlight areas of your content or offering that might be missing but also having a sound page structure will also have positive impacts from an SEO point of view.

    We firmly believe that the content and needs of the customer should dictate your website design and layout. Too often a design is selected to be visually appealing without enough thought given to what is displayed or why that content is in that position on the page.

    Once we have agreed the site structure and hierarchy with you, we get to work mapping out what key sections, call to actions, promotions or information modules those pages will need. This gives us a clear plan of what pages your site will include and what sections of information or content those pages will include. From there we break out the notepads and A4 paper and start creating wireframe layouts of key pages of the site.

  2. Wireframe Layouts

    A wireframe is a basic layout document, a bit like a design but with lines and boxes instead of pictures and content. We use this kind of format to help us map out and structure the page, taking care to ensure that content will then be presented in the right way to meet the user’s needs. The user journey either down a page or through a website is important, so we take the time to try and understand what a user will need to see and at what point.

    Once we have created wireframe layouts of the key pages of your site, typically the homepage, a service page and any other key pages as required, we approve these with you, taking the time to explain our thinking and how we feel this structure will work from a user point of view.

    By this stage we have a full sitemap including consideration of what content is required where, and we have a basic structure in place with our wireframes, so it is time to instruct our graphic designer to start bringing our planning to life.

  3. The Final Designs

    We create full desktop and mobile designs for the key pages of your site. These are intended to show you exactly how your website will look when the development phase is complete. There is nothing worse than a nasty surprise, so we make sure you know exactly how your site will look and that you are fully happy with that before we write a single line of code.

    If changes are required to the designs we have produced, no problem. We will continue to work with you to perfect the designs until you are happy for us to continue and begin building the website.

If you would like more information or to arrange a free Web Design consultation with our directors then please get in touch or complete our contact form. To find out more information about our Web Design and Development service, please take a look at how our development phase works.

Free Project Consultation.

If you would like to speak to our team about your website or any development projects you may have, please complete the contact form below and we'll in touch.

Our approach to web design & development projects.

We believe that in order to deliver a successful web project, the processes and approach must be right. From understanding the project and clients requirements, to ensuring we use the most suitable technology.

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Ensuring our processes are right from the start gives us a great platform to not only meet, but exceed expectations.

With each project we follow a four step process:

If you would like a free website review, consultation or quotation, please contact our team, who will be only too happy to help.

Got any Questions? Speak to our team.

Get in touchMore about us

Corporate / Brochure


from £5000

  • Suitable for business of all types and sizes.
  • All websites come with 12 months free hosting.
  • Unlimited pages, all fully editable.
  • Lots of content functionality available.
  • Custom design and planning process.
  • Quick turnaround on new projects.
Get A Quote

eCommerce Store


from £7500

  • Suitable for any size of online retailer.
  • Unlimited products and filtering options.
  • Custom design and planning process.
  • Includes all the features of a corporate website.
  • Functionality available to help with order processing.
  • Full CMS training provided.
Get A Quote

Custom Development


  • All work considered - no job too small.
  • Full project planning and management.
  • Custom systems and databases for all kinds of projects, including internal business systems.
  • Theme / plugin development for WordPress or Shopify.
  • If you can imagine it, our team can build it.
Get A Quote

Pricing Guide.

We believe in being as open and transparent with pricing and timescales as possible. We operate a fixed daily rate for all variations of work. We work hard to ensure we are fully accountable to our clients at all times.

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Often clients like to understand a 'guide' price for a certain type of project, so here we've provided a few examples of the kind of pricing ranges you can expect when working with us. However, any quotation we provide for your project will be soley based on the amount of time required to deliver it to the best of our abilities. With every quotation we provide we'll clearly state the elements involved and the time required for each.

If you could like us to provide you with a full, no obligation quotation for your project, please contact our team today.

  • Consultation FAQ's

    What does a website consultation involve?

    If you are considering a new website or need to speak to a professional to discuss your options, then a free consultation with our directors is the best place to start. We have written an in-depth page which provides a great overview about our consultations which you can view here, or if you’d like to arrange a consultation please contact us.

    Do you charge for consultations?

    No, we’re always happy to meet potential clients to discuss their requirements. You can find out more about our website consultations here.

    Can you help me plan my web project?

    Absolutely! We consider the planning of a project to be a key aspect in the overall lifecycle. Our team can help with every aspect of a project, from planning through to design, development and launch. Our directors are very knowledgeable about web technologies and how to structure and plan a project to best meet your customers' needs. 

    How long does a consultation take?

    Depending on your project requirements or the complexity of the project, a consultation meeting can take anything from half an hour through to a couple of hours. We look to chat to potential clients and to discuss new ventures and how we can help businesses improve their online offering.

  • Design Process FAQ's

    How does the design process work?

    We take the design process of a new web project very seriously. Our approach is to plan and map out what is required and how that comes together with a user journey through the pages and site. The first step is to create a site plan, and from there we create basic wireframe layouts of key pages. We then move on to the full graphic design process. We have written an in-depth guide that discusses our approach to design projects which you can find here.

    How long does the design process take?

    This really depends on the complexity of the project. For a fairly standard corporate website, the overall planning and design process would normally take two weeks to complete. For a larger scale build with some complex functionality, it may take three to four weeks. As part of providing you with a quotation, we break down the total working time requirements and delivery timescales of each aspect of a project.

    Why is content planning important?

    Planning the content and website structure of your content is hugely important and can have a big impact on both how your users navigate and use your website, but also how search engines find and rank your content. As part of every project we undertake, we produce a full site plan which includes consideration as to how content will be placed and structured.

    What is a wireframe design?

    A wireframe is a basic layout document, a bit like a design but with lines and boxes instead of pictures and content. We use this kind of format to help us map out and structure the page, taking care to ensure that content will then be presented in the right way to meet the user’s needs.

    How many full designs do you produce?

    This depends on your requirements and how many different or unique templates your site may have. In many cases the same template layout or styling is used on various pages, so there often isn’t a need to produce a design for each page. For a typical corporate website we would produce two or three full designs. Our team will work with you to highlight the key sections and pages of your site and discuss which you would like to see fully designed before we start coding.

    Do you product both desktop and mobile designs?

    Yes! Mobile traffic is increasing year on year and peoples browsing habits have changed massively over the last few years. Depending on your requirements we can produce a full mobile design for each desktop design we produce. 

    What if I don’t like a design?

    Design is very subjective; we understand that and respect our client’s opinions not to like what we have produced. It doesn’t happen often, but if you really don’t like the approach we are suggesting then we would revisit what we have done and make changes to bring it in line with your expectations. Part of the reason we produce a full site plan and wireframe layout for key pages is so that we are all on the same page about what will be produced. Should the final designs then just not hit the mark style, colour or graphic wise, we can easily address that.

    When is the design phase complete?

    We consider the design phase to be complete when you have signed off the designs we have produced and given us the go ahead to move the project on to the development phase. You can read more about the overall design process here.

  • Development FAQ's

    How do I select the right Content Management System (CMS) option?

    This is a tricky one. There are pros and cons to both a custom system and an open source Content Management System (CMS). With a custom system such are ours the benefits are that it’s mostly ‘unknown’ so there aren’t groups of hackers looking to find exploits. It also has the benefit of being something we can tailor to your business and needs. On the other hand, a system like WordPress has a lot more DIY things built in and access to many plugins which can add new functionality to your site. The other factors to consider here are moving your site. If you want the ability to move your site between web hosts, then an Open Source system such as WordPress would be the best bet, whereas a custom system is often locked to the developers hosting, to protect the codebase.

    If you are having a corporate website or ecommerce shop, then WordPress is often the best way to go. It offers a number of excellent features that make updating your website really easy. Our team always ensure we structure WordPress to give you access to update as much content as possible in the easiest possible way.

    If we are building a more complex system, such as a property database or a recruitment portal, we would recommend our own system. A platform like that would be quite data/database heavy and as such, a lighter code base can often mean significant performance gains over an Open Source system which has to cover a multitude of options.

    If you would like more information about either our CMS or how an Open Source system could work for your business, please contact us.

    How long does the development process take?

    This really depends on the kind of project we are undertaking. For a standard corporate website with fairly limited functionality, the overall development process would take between two and three weeks. However, consideration should also be given to content. If our team is writing a lot of content for your site, this can extend the lead time. Likewise, if your site is content heavy it will take additional time to populate the website, if we are required to do so.

    For a more complex system, the timescales do start to increase as the amount of custom code required increases to meet the needs of the site. Our team will always give you a clear indication of both the development days required for your project and also the overall timescales to meet certain goals throughout the process.

    Which programming languages do you use?

    Our team are highly experienced in developing PHP based sites and applications. We tend to work with SQL or mySQL databases and also have in depth knowledge about HTML, CSS and JavaScript. 

    What if my platform has bugs or breaks?

    We take great pride in the work we produce, and we have a full set of pre-launch checks that we go through to ensure everything runs smoothly as we change from your old site to a new one. However, should you find a bug or problem with your site post launch then our team will produce a fix as quickly as possible. We prioritise bug fixes over all other work, so you can be safe in the knowledge that if something was discovered, we would drop everything to find a quick solution.

    What is cross browser compatibility?

    Cross browser compatibility is ensuring your website looks and performs consistently across various browsers, for example, Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and even Microsoft Internet Explorer or Edge. We test every website on the most recent versions of the most popular browsers, but also ensure we create code that is backwards compatible for older platforms.

    Will my site work on different device sizes?

    Yes, ensuring your website layout scales and morphs for small screen sizes is a key part of what we do. We use a technique called responsive design which makes certain that your website will reposition elements to ensure a nice layout on devices from small screen mobiles right up to large laptops and desktops.

    What if my requirements change mid way through a project?

    We provide a flexible approach to working with our clients. If there is a small change or two to the original brief or you need an extra section we hadn’t planned for, often there would be no additional charges and we would do our best to include this within the time scales and quotation we had originally agreed. If the changes were on a larger scale then we would work with you to plan out the new approach, time scales and the budget required to meet your new objectives

    What if I need new functionality post launch?

    Great! Evolving a website or solution post launch is key to ensuring you stay relevant and meet any changes requirements your business or customers may have. Our development team will work with you to understand the new functionality. This may include additional design or planning work as well as any development required. As with any project, we would provide a full quotation and time scales so that you knew what this update would cost. For clients who have lots of ongoing functionality or support requirements, we can agree a support contract which would ensure you receive guaranteed development time when it was required and at a discounted rate.

  • Content & Images FAQ's

    Can you help write content for my website?

    Our marketing team love writing content. We often write all the content for our clients websites, or in other cases we help to optimise existing content for readability and search engine purposes. 

    Can I copy content from other websites?

    You can, but you really shouldn’t. Duplicate content is not approved of by Google and other search engines, and there is also the issue of plagiarism and the legal issues that come with that. We always recommend that our clients produce unique engaging content for their site, either themselves or by using our content writing services.

    Can you help select/find images for my website?

    Of course, our team are experienced in finding both paid for and royalty free images to use on your site or within your content. We have access to a wide range of platforms that offer both paid for and royalty free images. 

    Who owns the content or images used on my website?

    Content written by you or us, for use on your website is owned by you. It was created for or by your business and regardless of how or where your website is hosted, you retain full ownership of your content. If you plan to use an external copyrighter you should check with them that you will own the content that they produce on your behalf.

    Images are a slightly different matter. If you or we have taken the image, or produced the graphic for the website, then you retain full ownership and usage of that. If, however, you have purchased an image to use on the website, then the copyright of that image is usually retained by the photographer or website it came from. Images purchased online are often subject to a usage agreement. Please be sure to check all terms and conditions when buying images online.

    What is content optimisation?

    Content optimisation can have a couple of meanings. If the content is being optimised for search engines, then this involves ensuring the content is a in a search engine friendly format, with key phases or words included to ensure the search engine knows what the content is talking about. For example, if you had a blog about red shoes, you would want to include various terms and references within that content that refer to red shoes.

    If the content is being optimised for users and readability, as is often the case where content has been written by someone without good content writing skills, then this process would involved ensuring the spelling, grammar and structure of the content is accurate and as user friendly as possible.

  • Wordpress FAQ's

    Why do you develop using WordPress?

    We develop using the open source platform WordPress for a number of reasons. It is very well supported, and there are a huge number of plugins available to add functionality to your site. We also find that of all the open source systems out there, it is the most user friendly and offers us the best possible development environment for the kind of projects we are often involved with.

    Are there any risks to using WordPress?

    There are some… WordPress, being so popular gets a lot of attention from spammers and hackers. Thankfully the support behind the scenes is very good, so fixes are quickly rolled out should a vulnerability be found. This, however, does require your website to be updated with the latest versions of the CMS and plugins when updates are made. For every site we host, we regularly check for and perform any updates required as part of our Managed Hosting agreement. If your site is hosted by another host, where you are left to manage this yourself, then problems can arise as code is often left as it is and not updated when required. We also think that password security is a key element to securing your site. If your CMS password is very simple, this adds massive risk and provides hackers easy access to your website CMS.

    Can I transfer hosting of my WordPress site?

    Yes, one of the main advantages of an open source CMS over a bespoke one is that you can move it around between hosting companies if required. If you would like to move your site to another host we will provide you with a full backup of the core files and database required to get you setup with a new host. If you would like to move your WordPress website to our Managed Hosting environment, please get in touch with our team.

  • SF Media CMS FAQ's

    Why have you developed your own CMS?

    We developed our CMS to offer an alternative to the open source systems on the market. Initially it was developed to help with a large project we were involved with that required a much cleaner codebase than you tend to find with open source systems like WordPress. From there we developed it further into a fully functioning CMS which offers a cleaner, lighter approach to website content management.

    Can I transfer hosting of my SF Media CMS site?

    Unfortunately not. As our CMS isn’t open source we have to protect our codebase and intellectual property. Allowing our CMS to be hosted externally would potentially cause issue with copyright. Whilst we retain our CMS and its code, you still retain full ownership of your content, images and the HTML that is output by our system. So if you really needed to move your hosting elsewhere, this could still be achieved, but it wouldn’t include the CMS that manages that content.

    Is SF Media CMS the best platform for my project?

    This really depends on the project itself. If your site has large data requirements or you need something complex or specific then it might well be the solution you have been looking for. Please speak to our team about your requirements and we can help understand your project and which platform would be best for it.

    Does your in-house system cost more?

    The cost of development is down to the amount of time involved in setting up the CMS to allow you to manage your pages, content etc. and to then output that to the front end, public facing website. There is no additional charge for using our system and if we were quoting for the same kind of build/outcome on both, the price would be the same. The differences come when the project complexity increases. For something more complex you will often find our team can produce this quicker using our own system, than working with something like WordPress.

  • Web Hosting FAQ's

    Why do you host with Amazon Web Services?

    In 2016 we moved our entire website hosting portfolio over to Amazons Web Services (AWS). They provide a superb platform which offers us a number of excellent features. We wanted to entrust our hosting to a stable organisation where we could rely on excellent levels of support, if required. The type of services available to us through AWS mean we have been able to setup an infrastructure that supports our needs really well and provides us with peace of mind with regards to failovers, backups and security.

    How much does web hosting cost?

    We charge £150 + VAT per year, per website we host via our Full Managed hosting solution.

    Clients who have had a site built with us get 12 months free hosting and support. Also, clients who have ongoing marketing services with us get free hosting while ever those services are active.

    Our hosting solution also includes full updates to code and plugins when required as well as full backups and failovers should something happen to part of our infrastructure. 

    What are the benefits of using SF media hosting?

    We offer a Fully Managed hosting solution, which essentially means we take care of everything for you. We don’t provide FTP access or a management control panel like you get with many web hosts. We find our clients like that we take care of everything.

    Our complex and state of the art hosting infrastructure, which is hosted within Amazons Web Services, has been designed to ensure sites are quick to load, fully backed up, and that should one of our servers go down, there are others ready to take over. If you would like to know more about our hosting setup, please contact our team.

    How do you backup my content and data?

    We copy content and data over to an external backup source every few minutes, ensuring that if the very worst did happen you wouldn’t lose much, if any, data. Most hosting companies will leave you to worry about backing up your site and content yourself. Our fully managed solution ensures this hassle is managed for you.

    What if my site gets very busy?

    Our platform has been designed with scalability in mind. Should your site become really busy and require more processing power, additional servers will be added to ensure we can cope with the loads. As we host more and more sites, our platform is growing all the time. Our aim is to ensure there are no performance issues for any of our clients and our platform will continue to scale as required to meet the needs or sites we host.

  • Email FAQ's

    Why do you recommend Rackspace?

    With so much choice in the email hosting market place, we wanted to ensure that the service we used for our business, and that we recommended for our clients, was one that had total faith in. Rackspace, in our experience, offer some of the best customer services of any large scale provider we have dealt with. We have tested a number of competitors over the years, and always come back to Rackspace for their excellent prices, services and superb support team.

    How much do IMAP/POP3 mailboxes cost?

    A basic IMAP or POP3 mailbox costs £2 per month, plus VAT. If you are working with us on a web or marketing project, we are more than happy to help setup your Rackspace email for free. The costs for each mailbox are then just passed on at cost.

    How much do Microsoft Exchange mailboxes cost?

    A Microsoft Exchange mailbox costs £7 per month, plus VAT. If you are working with us on a web or marketing project, we are more than happy to help setup your Rackspace email for free. The costs for each mailbox are then just passed on at cost.

    How much does email management cost?

    SF Media can manage your email service, via Rackspace and take away the headache of setting up and managing your email accounts. As part of our service we help setup your mailboxes and take care of any ongoing management issues you may have and also whether you require any email migration to take place from an old provider. If you would like further information about this, please contact our team

    What if my email goes down?

    We have been using Rackspace for our business email since 2011, and during that time we have not experienced any down time whatsoever. We have also recommended Rackspace to a number of our clients and, again, have not heard of any down time. 

    Are my emails backed up?

    Rackspace have automatic backing up of emails going back to a maximum of 14 days. So, should they suffer a large scale server failure which affected your data, all would not be lost. They would have the ability to restore your mailbox to a point within the last 14 days. This, however, would only be the case if they suffered a major failure. If you deleted all your email by mistake, you would require an additional archiving service to help restore that for you.

    Their email archiving service runs domain wide for every mailbox on your account. This costs a few pounds per month and gives added peace of mind that all of your historical emails are backed up via a separate service, should the worst happen and you delete your data.

  • Domain Names FAQ's

    Can you recommend a domain registrar?

    We do not have a preferred registrar for domain names. We have used a number of different providers over the years and use GoDaddy for most of our domain registration. We find GoDaddy and 123-Reg to be fairly reliable and well priced. There are, however, many to choose from and plenty of websites offering in depth reviews on the services provided by these kinds of companies. If you would like us to manage your domain name as part of a project, that is no problem, just let our team know and we will register and take care of your domain name management as part of the project.

    Can you help me transfer my domain names?

    Of course, if you need to move provider just let us know and we can discuss what is required and help with any technical aspects involved.

    Should I buy multiple domain names?

    This is something we get asked a lot. Our view is that you should have one main domain name for your website. Buying multiple domains and pointing them at your website will not give you any advantage from an SEO point of view and may cause brand confusion with your clients if you advertise different names. You should never run your website on more than one domain name as this will cause serious duplicate content issues with search engines and could seriously impact your ability to be found. If you do own more than one domain you should also redirect or forward these onto your primary domain.

    Should I buy different extensions of a domain?

    There is an argument to buy different extensions to protect your brand. For example, we own many different variations and extensions of SF Media, this was done to protect ourselves from other companies who may wish to trade with a similar name. There is, however, a cost implication of doing this, and with so many domain extensions available now, knowing where to draw the line is quite difficult. Sometimes our guidance on this changes depending on the kind of business you operate and the kind issues you face in your market place. Please speak to our team if you would like any further information about protecting your brand via domain name.

Frequently Asked Questions.

Please browse our selection of Web Design and Development related Frequently Asked Questions.

If you can't find the answer you are looking for, please contact us today and a member of our team will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.


  • The guys at SF Media do a great job for us here at Distinctive Confectionery.  They have certainly made a difference to our business and are always on hand to make suggestions and to help improve our website and position on Google.

    We can thoroughly recommend their services.

    Adele Thomas, Distinctive Confectionery

  • Jollys Jewellers have been working with SF Media for the past 3 years on our online marketing and the build and management of our eCommerce website. After the initial meeting, I was instantly impressed both by the hands on approach of Pete and Jamie, and the level of expertise they displayed.

    Their passion for the industry is clear to see and our business has benefited greatly from the work they have done for us. We would recommend them to anyone without hesitation.

    Tom Ginever, Jollys Jewellers

  • The work that SF Media have done for our business has been one of the key drivers of our business performance. We are growing at 30% year on year and roughly 50% of our new client enquiries come through internet searches.

    Kerry Smith, KJ Smith Solicitors

  • SF Media have designed 3 websites for my business across the property, restaurant and industry sectors. Working with them on each project has been a pleasure.

    They have listened to us carefully on each project and come up with a design that really works for us and looks visually fantastic.  I would very much call them part of my team and see our relationship as a long term one. I would highly recommend their work and look forward to future projects.

    James Cannon, MD - Ransomwood Estates UK Ltd

  • SF Media provided a sleek, modern & easily navigated platform for our customers to use, which in turn, has helped our business move in the right direction. Jamie & the team are always on hand to offer support & assistance when needed & we jump at the chance to recommend them to friends.

    Matt Flint, Can You Dance?