Agency Solutions to Common Brand Website Devolpment Scenarios

We have used many different tools in order to create a web project at MoonBaby Labs. We’ve built RESTful APIs, created micro services, built single page applications, created Wordpress sites and developed custom solutions. What do we believe to be the correct tool to use for any type of web project to help build a brand presence?

There is not a one size fits all solution and try to focus more on the purpose of the new brand website or application rather than simple plug and play package. We can find the right tool to use once we know the purpose, goals & desired functionality of the branding website.

I originally wanted to write this article as a web development tool comparison with pros and cons but I have changed my mind at the last minute. Instead, I want to write it more practically driven and based on different scenarios with a range of different applications that may help you determine which direction you should go.

“I need a new brand corporate website. It is going to be content heavy and focused on inbound marketing channels. We’ll include a blog, news section, white papers, case studies and more. We want people to know they can trust that we know our stuff”

Recommendation: Wordpress, Drupal or some popular CMS

Avoid: custom development or any MVC Web Framework

Consideration: API based CMS that allows for more front-end flexibility.

In this scenario, the brand wants to use intelligent content to drive the brand image. This is a common tactic for many B2B brands and anything that requires a lot of trust. I would recommend Wordpress, Drupal or any other standard CMS tools for this website. There is no reason to rewrite the wheel. These CMS tools are built for this need and are ready to go out of the box. I would avoid anything custom or an MVC web framework that requires much active development because that is just overkill. The CMS comes with everything you need out of the box whereas you would have to develop a way to manage the content with those other methods.

I want to build a brand website that offers a lot of interactivity and user-submitted content. I want the user to feel like they are becoming part of the brand and really be able to experience our high-end products.

Recommendation: API based content management framework that focuses on flexibility and a front-end web framework.

Avoid: All in one website content management solutions like Wordpress, Drupal and Joomla

Consideration: Web frameworks such as Laravel, Meteor for Node and Ruby on Rails

A brand may have higher than normal prices for their products because they focus on the details and quality. The brand wants the customer to feel like they are part of something big and nice. The customer needs to feel proud of the products they buy and want to share their purchase with others. I would recommend that the agency uses a decoupled content management framework with a custom front-end framework possibly using React or Angular based on preference and other considerations.

My brand focuses on a specific type of customer. We have various types of solutions for this individual including products, services & customized solutions. We really want to focus more on giving a space to this customer so he knows that our brand gets him.

Recommendation: Web framework

Avoid: All in one website in a box solutions

Consideration: Custom built application.. or just flesh out the concept some more

Does the brand want a presence that really builds a community and identity? This brand website will grow with functionality and complexity as the customers interact with it. This type of website for a brand is very different than the other scenarios because there isn’t a lot of content to manage. There may be a minimal content based section but the emphasis is focused on community functionality. You want an application that is addictive and useful for the user. A web framework is the right choice in this scenario because it gives you the flexibility to build and extend the application as the community develops. You can include packages and build custom tools on top of the framework as needed. One of the packages may be a content management system, blog or forum but this website needs to be a step higher in the development chain. The benefits of a Wordpress or Drupal will become a limitation for this branding web application.

These are 3 common scenarios for building a branded website or application but they don’t apply universally. In many cases, you may utilize a Wordpress install with a Web Framework or use custom development to build a package or plugin for a CMS as an extension. All great branding websites begin with working on breaking down the desired functionality, purpose and goals of the website. The tools & methods used are the secondary concern.