Web Design & Development

The modern website is a full digital experience, connecting more people to more functionality and more platforms. Today, run your business from anywhere, anytime.

Yesterday's website was a brochure that allowed people to buy from it. Today, everything is integrated and responsive. Social, e-commerce, e-marketing, custom applications, apps, video, user content, leverage tools, search relevance tools, CRM, text message broadcasting, loyalty programs, user dashboards: all at your fingertips.

Get your new website started

Consultation / Research / Strategy Development

Tugboat Group web strategies involve a combination of online and offline research, including the identification of user groups, keyword strategy, planning and execution of interviews or workshops and the development of user case scenarios. The depth of web strategy development varies considerably, depending with the scale and scope of a project, but thoughtful and considered early consultation is an important component to Tugboat web projects. 

Content Strategy and Information Architecture

Based on the above and in collaboration with key stakeholders, a Tugboat senior web strategist develops a thorough site information architecture, site map and wireframe to be used by the site and/or application designers and developers. These elements will also be used to develop a content migration and integration plan with the client content manager.  Concurrently, content types and styles will be defined.

User Experience & Visual Design

Creative concepts are developed for the overall look and feel of the site, as well as detailed comps for the homepage, landing pages and template content pages. These are two-dimensional, non-functioning (non-clickable) images illustrating layout, content hierarchy and user interface design for both static and dynamic content types. It is essential that all designs be extensible, allowing for site growth in the short, medium, and long-term, and that they be accessible and fully responsive across mobile devices, using web standards to meet established accessibility guidelines. Once approved, these illustrative composites are developed in Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for application to the site.

Content Integration and SEO Best Practices

The Tugboat Group development team works with client content manager(s) to develop a content development / integration / migration plan, beginning with the migration of all existing content slated for a new website.

Tugboat filters, edits and writes content that hits the right combinations of key words for maximum optimization by search engines without sounding like it was written by a robot. Count on this Vancouver, BC, Canada, marketing, creative web and graphic design branding, packaging and trade show agency to NOT go overboard on stuffing irrelevant product and services keywords into a client's website copy.


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Windset website wireframe to finished

The usual website suspects

We can build just about any site, any size, any purpose. The following are some of the most common features and services organizations look for.

E-marketing Integration

We can create or integrate email marketing with a website. Users will manage their accounts through the client’s website. Content created on the site can be used as email content through a custom mail generator or through an existing account with third-party providers such as MailChimp or Constant Contact.

Responsive Responsibility

Any screen, any size, any browser. Every Tugboat site is responsive to allow users to enjoy their digital experience to the fullest on any device, from mobile to tablet to desktop. Responsive flexibility ensures layout integrity.

Social Media Integration

Social media APIs are installed in appropriate areas of the site and sharing tools are easy to add. Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube/Vimeo, Flickr, Google+ and LinkedIn.

CRM Integration

Tugboat can integrate a client’s existing CRM package, one of their choosing or can deploy the Drupal CRM Core - a set of modules for contact, activity and relationship management within a new Drupal website. Users can create forms that manipulate contacts, activities and more. Event management tools for managing online and offline registration, tracking attendance, and reports are a snap.

Events Calendar and Managed Registration

Module modifications and implementation to create the right events and registration environment for customers, prospects and others to participate in events.

Catalogue and E-commerce Engine

Tugboat clients can implement a catalogue-driven e-commerce module to accept payment for all manner of goods and services - you name it - you can pay for it through a Tugboat site.

Analytics Integration

Google Analytics are built into every site from day one. Whatever we need to track, we’ll be able to. 

Stakeholder Resources and Dashboards

End users can be empowered to track important milestones, accounts, submit reviews, participate in questionnaires and polls, consult resources and invite prospects through their own personal account dashboard. Administrators can create and archive documents and plans for their end-users to access.

Text Messaging Integration

Piece of cake. We can integrate an SMS API into the admin area of a website to allow for instant text messaging of critical or awesome events, news and other information that stakeholders might need to know about. Cancelations, reminders, thoughts of the day, progress updates, status updates, emergency management messaging.

Regionalization, Search Trigger Content Display and Lead Generation

Looking to direct traffic? We can create multiple landing page types based on auto detection of location and search inputs criteria as per the scenarios defined at the outset.


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Windset Gazette Newsletter Tugboat Group Web Design Development-Vancouver

A peek into the web engine room

Any modern CMS should allow a website owner to easily publish content instantly and responsively. It should also be able to simultaneously publish content to Twitter and Facebook if required, integrate YouTube and Vimeo video, Flickr photos, manage newsletter subscription lists, build membership profiles, integrate useful analytics that illustrate how people found a website, what search terms are leading them to the front door, how long they spent on given pages, and what paths they took through your site. An extensible CMS allows clients to manage seamless blog and e-commerce plug-ins, event registrations, memberships, publishing workflows, calendar displays, surveys, polls, and, most importantly, a usable, dynamic communication channel between them, their clients and their community.

Tugboat begins with the Drupal CMS—because it is a popular, mature and portable system that allows for all the features described above—and customizes it for each of our customers' individual needs and goals. We can extend it with any of Drupal's 3,600+ modules, or create custom plug-ins that do exactly what a client needs them to. Web publishing becomes as easy as writing a post and clicking the "publish" button, or as extensive as creating a multi-user membership site with sales reports, product inventories, newsletters and invoices baked right in.

Drupal is a free and open source content management system (CMS) and content management framework (CMF) written in PHP and distributed under the GNU General Public License.  It is used as a back-end system for websites worldwide ranging from personal blogs to corporate, political and government sites including whitehouse.gov and data.gov.uk.  It is also used for knowledge management and business collaboration. Drupal has been the clear choice for Tugboat Group and our clients for many years now, and our developers are Drupal experts.

As of August 2013, there were more than 910,000 sites using Drupal and there are more than 22,900 free community-contributed add-ons, known as modules, available to alter and extend Drupal's core capabilities and add new features or customize Drupal's behaviour and appearance. Because of this plug-in extensibility and modular design, Drupal is sometimes described as a content management framework. Drupal is also described as a web application framework, as it meets the generally accepted feature requirements for building custom applications.


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Quality assurance, training and support

QA is woven through all stages of a web project to iteratively build, test and refine features in conjunction with user feedback and testing results. Adherence to strict testing protocols is always maintained.

Training and Documentation

Levels of documentation for established user types such as site administrators, content creators, and managers are published both within the website itself and as a document for easy access. As an option, we conduct short (typically two hour) training sessions with key users to ensure a broad level of comfort with the developed system. This training can take place at our offices, a client’s office or via conference call.

Deployment, Hosting and System Administration

Depending on future sets and functionality, we deploy websites to the appropriate server environments with the right storage capacity and bandwidth. Tugboat Group is able to provide full hosting services if required.

Bug Fixes / Site Support

Post-deployment, relax. We provide support services, including bug fixes, ongoing site upgrades and feature development.


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Tugboat Group Your New Site Web Design Development Vancouver

Hosted by Tugboat

Our fully-managed, white-glove hosting enables you to stay focused on your business, not your web server.

Tugboat manages and maintains the infrastructure powering our clients’ websites, so that they don’t have to. We have the expertise to provide enterprise-level hosting that fits your needs and gives you the peace of mind that everything is going to be smooth sailing.

Built for you.

We build and configure our servers from the ground up to meet the specific needs of each of our clients. One size does not fit all. Our clients are unique and we make it our business to provide a unique service.

If your site relies on a particular module, plugin or esoteric configuration to do the job it needs to do, we can make sure that it is there for you.

Built to perform.

Built on the same reliable and flexible cloud services that power the largest sites on the Internet, our clients get the performance, speed and stability their end-users expect. Your site shouldn’t have to fight for resources as one of thousands thrown on to a single, archaic machine at a discount host.

Our hosting can grow with the popularity and requirements of your business, scaling and duplicating server resources as required. Never be put in the situation where you are suddenly shut down for doing too well or growing too large.

Every hosted site benefits from our multi-layer opcode, query and output caching and our low-footprint, low-latency stack.

Built to endure.

Hosting at Tugboat means you don’t have to keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best. All of our hosted sites are automatically backed up to a third, off-site, off-server location. Our backups are incremental, covering the last 30 days.

Tugboat uses version control to track every modification to the software powering our client sites, so that any essential files can be restored and any errant change can be reversed. During development, our work is staged to a separate test server so that it can be put through the wringer and get your seal of approval without affecting your day-to-day operations.

Built for security.

You may never notice it but every computer on the Internet is under constant attack from Bad Guys. Bots hammer away, literally constantly, at bugs and holes that they can exploit to take over your site and use it to infect the next victim.

Tugboat proactively monitors for suspicious behaviour and deploys layers of protection to thwart and hinder potential intruders. We are regularly updating, upgrading and hardening our servers to stay one step ahead.

As a white-glove service, we control our hosting from top-to-bottom ourselves and our clients avoid the risk associated with sharing low-cost hosting with hordes of shady or misconfigured sites. 

Most modern websites are built on a CMS framework – Drupal, WordPress, etc. – that needs to be kept up-to-date to stay secure. Tugboat offers regular servicing to keep the engine of your website current and safe, with the benefits of the latest modules and plugins.

Built to be helpful.

Tugboat is a real, physical company with real, physical employees right here in surreal, physical Vancouver. We are available, dependable and eager to help. Our business is to make sure your business gets the most out of doing its business on the web.

Think of us as the Genius Bar or Geek Squad for your website, without the dorky uniforms. We’ll figure it out for you.

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