Who Do You Trust To Create Your Online Presence?

16 October 2017
Blurred vehicle lights at night

As the web design & development space becomes busier and more complex, so too do your options as a business. Propeller work across the full gamut of marketing - graphic design, web design, email marketing, social media, public relations and communications, but what we are perhaps best known for is professional web design & development. We've been in the business continuously since 2004 so we've seen a lot of change - the rise of SEO, social media, mobile and responsive design, accessibility and performant web design. Along the way we've seen so many different options and trends in web design come and go its enough to make your head spin. We've seen the rise of offshoring, software as a service (SAAS), 'free' and AI-driven websites, CSS and Javascript frameworks. You name it. We've seen it.

So, where do Propeller sit in the twinkling universe of the web design community?

Clients who have worked with us for some time know we're not given to faddishness. We dont change our CMS, methods or techniques daily, even yearly. We watch the industry, carefully. We take in all of the various factors and ruthlessly get to the core of what is important for our clients' long-term success. We don't build free, short-term or throw-away websites. Ever. We don't use bargain-basement hosting or partner with fly-by-night or sub-standard partners to shave a few cents here or there. We offer consistency and professionalism. Propeller-powered websites work, perform and last. A long time. In fact, we have a number of websites which have been in operation, albeit with updates and makeovers, for over a decade. Consider the ROI of having bought a website thats performed, ranked well in search engines and stayed up to date, without changing CMS nor wasting money on AdWords or 'SEO' contractors. For 10 years…

Why Propeller?

Propeller are one of the most highly awarded small-studio web design/development businesses in Australia for the past decade. We've beaten larger studios time and time again. We only ever entered merit-based awards where industry professionals judged websites based on creativity, usabilty, accessibility and web standards. We never entered the myriad show-pony listing websites. We won The Mcfarlane Prize and have numerous Australian Web Awards to our name.

Who do we work with?

Over the years Propeller have partnered with many businesses, big and small, non-profits and charities you may recognise - Bisley, Brown Brothers, The Deaf Society, Vocal Manoeuvres, My Horizon, Redland Spring Festival, Occulture, Boat Style, Hillmans Richmond Fellowship, Flying Arts, Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel. Propeller also partner with and provide services to other professional marketing companies such as Masters Communications and Sustainable Marketing.

Full court press

Propeller take a holistic approach to marketing, digital, social media, print design, public relations, ongoing maintenance, development and support. We believe that only with a combined approach informed by a thorough understanding of all parts of your business can we offer a service which best serves the outcomes of your long-term business goals. Propeller work with a small team of permanent specialist partners to offer a global appraoch to your marketing.

Enterprise Class

When it comes to technology choices Propeller dont mess around with trendy or marketing-oriented systems - we only work with tried and tested, secure and robust technology. When we make a decision to support a Content Management System (CMS), we are taking a decision not only for you as a client but also for ourselves as we are likely to be supporting the system for years to come. In fact, Propeller are still supporting Textpattern-based websites we initially built as far back as 2007.

Propeller's current weapons of choice are ExpressionEngine, CraftCMS, and for e-commerce, Shopify. We have been building websites with Shopify since 2006, ExpressionEngine since 2010 and more recently we have delved into CraftCMS. We know these systems intimately. ExpressionEngine and CraftCMS are enterprise-class systems designed for bespoke custom designed and built websites. You wont see either Craft nor ExpressionEngine cropping up in theme factories. EE and Craft are only used by pro's who know how to code.

These are secure, robust and more to the point, FAST systems. Additionally, both ExpressionEngine and CraftCMS allow us to order the administration panel of the website in much the same way as we do the client-facing website. No more rifling through dozens of stock fields and options, modules or plugins, wondering which to use and what fields to fill out - our systems will be tailored to your content and the website presentation. You'll be presented with the right fields for the job and we'll make it as simple and non-destructive a process as is possible with current technology. We'll provide you with documentation and training and we're here should you need us. Propeller runs on ExpressionEngine. We use what you use.

What about e-commerce?

When it comes to e-commerce, a full set of alternative considerations come into play - robust technology, market-leading features and integrations, secure hosting, redundancy. Listed as global Partner number 8, Propeller have worked exclusively with Shopify to deliver online stores since 2006. We believe that Shopify meets all of the above considerations and more. Shopify is level-1 PCI compliant, so you don't need to worry about the security of your customers' credit card data. All your business information, including products, customers, orders, and inventory, is backed up in our secure data centers every day. A global Content Delivery Network (CDN) offers blazing loading times and performance wherever you are visiting from. Australia-based Shopify staff and Partner Managers bring us closer to the organisation giving us a unique insight into where Shopify are going, what Shopify offers and how it can benefit our clients. In short, when it comes to e-commerce, we only partner with the best. Learn more about our partnership with Shopify.

Performance focussed down to every last kilobyte

In today's mobile environment no other factor is more important to the ongoing success and performance of your website than speed. Speed is life online. There are millions of Wordpress or Joomla-based websites in the world, most based on starter themes and they all tend to share one main characteristic - they are horribly… dreadfully… slow… Users turn away from slow websites quickly, enquiries go elsewhere, and search engines pummel them right to the back of their listings. If you are unlucky enough to buy one of these websites, you can look forward to years of paying for sponsored search results or the dubious talents of 'SEO professionals'. Save today, pay forever…

Propeller build websites from scratch, every line of code, every image optimised, every CMS and hosting performance tweak optimised and harnessed so we control EVERYTHING. Our websites are FAST. Our websites rank highly. Game over.

A professional, version-controlled development and deployment process

Buckle up!

A very wise Scotsman** once described developing websites without using version-control as driving without a seatbelt and never a truer word has been spoken. Propeller use a git, version-controlled, development process to track each and every change, every code fork and modification, update and upgrade. Furthermore we use a multi-environment development setup to ensure that we can work non-destructively, test and preview without touching your live website and to ensure we always have a further backup of the entire codebase. If you take on a support, hosting and maintenance plan with us following your site's live launch, our local copy and space on our development server will be maintained allowing us to work and you to preview and try changes before we go ahead and deploy the changes to the live site. If the worst were to happen, we can deploy the entire website to a new server. Belt and braces…

** Shoutout to good mate and serious pro, Iain Urquhart

But can you use it?

But surely with all of this high performance technology, surely this is going to be a nightmare for a non-technical user, right?

Wrong…

By using enterprise-class systems like ExpressionEngine or CraftCMS we are able to set the admin end of the system up so you only see what you need to see, only have access to what you need to use and we set the system up to do most of the heavy-lifting for you. Both systems include intuitive WYSIWYG editors. We'll separate the images for each post out with simple one-click insert and upload fields, we'll implement the images in the templates with the system producing a range of correctly sized, cropped and optimised images to suit all devices and screens from retina-screen mobile devices right through to 4K displays - all in the background. We'll lock the admin panel down to save you from yourself - you're not a web developer and we dont expect you to be…

Full vertical integration

When you invest with Propeller, we will consider everything for you - your website will be mobile friendly and employ cutting-edge though well-supported techniques, we'll implement best-practice technical SEO - ensuring your website is fast, lean and optimised, we'll include webmaster tools setup and an XML sitemap for search engine visibility and provide you with Google Analytics so you can monitor the performance of your website and make informed decisions about how to improve it. We'll include Facebook Open-graph, Twitter card, and dublin-core meta-data to provide search engines with the right material and classification. We'll include correct error-handling and automated contact forms, all polished off with documentation and training at handover to make sure you know what you're doing - or we can take care of it for you if you prefer.

In addition to the website itself, Propeller can manage your domain registrations, hosting, uptime monitoring, backups and updates, reporting, and if you want to take things to the next level, we offer weekly or monthly retainers to write content, design your print collateral, share to your social media accounts and handle your communications.

What about themes and entry-level websites?

If you're not looking for a fully bespoke website Propeller can also offer an off-the-shelf solution either using Statamic or Shopify. Propeller do not nor have ever used WordPress or Joomla. Why? Because they are garbage.

Pricing

Ok that all sounds awesome but how much?

Propeller have options to suit every business. Our websites range in price from $3,000 to over $50,000. How much your website costs will be the result of a rigorous investigation and discussion of your requiremements. From there, we'll scope, design and provide an itemised cost for your system down to the last cent. No 'roughly', no 'about this much', no extras, no surprises. You'll get what you need and you'll receive exactly what you ordered and paid for.

If you prefer the simplicity of a fixed-price solution, please take a look at our Statamic-based theme sites.

What about after hand-over and after-sales service?

Here at Propeller we dont really believe your website is ever fully finished. Any credible, performing website should be continually improving, always growing. Your website should evolve with you and your business but all too often websites are launched and left to die on the vine. Why is that and what can we do about it?

Firstly you need to be able to work with your website. If you dont know what you are doing or the technology gets in the way, you wont do it, simple. We only use professional systems behind our websites and we craft the experience to be as seamless and intuitive as possilbe. Whats more, based on our years of experience in building, launching and supporting websites and our clients, we have put together an amazingly affordable, next-level support program.

Hosting

Propeller have partnered with Nexcess to offer next-level hosting. Nexcess' Australia-based websites are served from the world-class Global Switch data center in Sydney. All of Nexcess' hosting plans are designed and configured to get the best performance out of both ExpressionEngine and CraftCMS. If you've ever wondered why Propeller-built websites are SO fast, Nexcess are a big part of the story. In fact, we dont use anything else. 

Monitoring

With all of the best intentions in the world technology will still find a way to disappoint. What's important is that you know when that occurs and are in a position to react. In addition to working exclusively with Nexcess as our hosting provider, we include Lamplighter uptime and performance monitoring as part of our support plan. If something goes wrong with your website or hosting, there's every likelihood we'll know and fix it before you do.

Backup

As part of our support plan, we include the installation and operation of backup software which adds a further layer of defence to that offered by our hosting providers. Once a month we will manually backup and check both your websites' file structure and database to Amazon Web Services. In the event of a hosting company failure or worse we have a separate, independent, full backup of your system.

Development server and deployment service

If you take on a support, hosting and maintenance plan with us following your site's live launch, our local copy and space on our development server will be maintained allowing us to work and you to preview and try changes before we go ahead and deploy the changes to the live site. If the worst were to happen and we need to switch to another server, we can deploy the website to a new server.

Reporting

As part of the website development we'll install and configure Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools. In most instances we'll include a summary display of your traffic stats right in the admin panel of your CMS* but if you invest in a support plan we'll also provide the basic key statistics to you as part of your end of month email report along with site uptime and average pagespeed scores across the course of the month.

*optional extra.

Updates and upgrades

We cover most minor updates and some major upgrades under our support plans too. We will carefully assess which are the most stable releases and the security status of any updates and perform the updates as we see fit giving you peace of mind that your system is being taken care of. We'll discuss any larger updates and major upgrades with you before proceeding or making any significant changes.

Technical support and priority service

Support plan clients are provided with ongoing technical support and jump right to the front of our development schedule.

Return on investment

Propeller have been in the business for a long time. Clients come back to us time and time again for a reason - they know that we do the job right, first time, every time and ultimately it not only generates sales for them but it also saves them money long-term.

By creating fast, well-optimised sites and only using best-of-breed software and best-practice techniques, we ensure that you get extreme value for money and that your investment is well protected into the future. No longer will you need to start from scratch with a new website after a year - we'll build you a site that will last and, because we limit and become experts with the systems we work with, when it comes time for a refresh we'll upgrade the tech, refresh the style and implement any new techniques and/or technical improvements we've developed since the website was first deployed - all without having to abandon the CMS. This is a sustainable process.

So, ask yourself - who do you trust to represent you online?

What do our clients have to say?

"At Propeller Damien and Renee are a perfect mix of left and right brains. When I met them over 9 years ago to discuss a project, I was immediately impressed with how easy they are to communicate with—just real, down to earth, believable people that don't talk over your head with tech jargon. 4 websites and multiple graphic design projects for 4 companies later and they continue to pull off awesome designs and some very tricky programming feats. Super hands on throughout each project, they never once made me feel like I was competing for their attention." Vickie Thomsen, Marketing Manager, Kelair Pumps & Brown Brothers Engineering

"Damien and Renee are incredible. They are consummate professionals and experts in their fields. Their insightfullness, attention to detail and creativity is like no other. They understand their clients needs and really articulate the clients vision into detailed conceptual plans and develop amazingly high quality print and digital media copy. Whether it is developing websites or graphically designing poster or develooing media releases and content Damien and Renee will have it sorted." Luke Kinman, President - Redland Spring Festival / Service Manager | Communication, Engagement and Tourism | Redland City Council

"It was great to realise our concept of a deaf-friendly website which is highly visual and prominently features Auslan (Australian Sign Language). Since launching the website, feedback from our users has been overwhelmingly positive and engagement with our website has significantly improved." Ivana Krunes, Executive Manager, Marketing & Business Development, The Deaf Society

Still have questions? Call us on 07 3245 7776 - we'll be happy to discuss how we can take you to the next level.

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