In my experience, business owners who are completely new to the world of web design often have lots of questions about how I work. New entrepreneurs naturally want to know what my service involves, and what they can expect from me at each stage of our journey together. Even seasoned webmasters want to enter into a project with a thorough understanding of what’s in store.
Every project is different, of course – but over the years, I’ve honed a watertight design process that enables me to complete websites quickly, efficiently and in tandem with my clients. Here are the steps I’d typically follow to complete a brand new design and build!
Getting to know you
I cannot stress enough just how important it is for me to get to know your business before I start to plan your new platform. I need to know what you offer; makes you tick; what sets you apart from your competitors. This kind of information helps me understand what you want to achieve from your website so I can come up with a design solution that supports your goals.
Ideally, I will arrange a face-to-face meeting so we can spend a good hour or two discussing your requirements and running through your options. If this isn’t possible, we can have a brainstorming session over the phone.
Finalising your quote
Once I’ve got to grips with what you need, I’ll put together an itemised quote that includes everything from delivering design concepts to testing and training guides. You’ll receive my entire proposal via email, so you’ll have everything for reference, and you’ll be able to run it past other members of your team if needs be.
I’ll also advise on any ongoing costs, such as domain registration, hosting and SSL certification fees.
If you want to, you can also ask me to include scope for improving your brand identity. Many of my clients choose to invest in their branding at this stage to strengthen their market proposition ready for their website’s launch.
Agreeing timeframes and deliverables
Once I’ve received written confirmation that you’re happy to go ahead, I’ll deliver a project timetable with information on what’s going to happen and when. Not only will this calendar of events help me plan my workflow, it will also enable you to block out time in your busy schedule to approve designs, work on content and supply me with images so that the project can progress as it should. When it comes to your website’s design and development, I’ll do all the heavy lifting – but I will need your input at various stages of the process to keep things running smoothly.
It’s at this stage that I’ll re-confirm my payment terms. In most cases, I’ll issue an invoice for 50% of the design and build fee to secure my time. The final payment will normally be due when the site has been completed and is ready to go live. If the site’s build time is extended beyond two months or is suspended for any reason, I will issue ‘work in progress’ invoices for the work that has already been carried out.
Drafting your design
This is where the fun begins! Taking all our discussions into consideration, I’ll put together draft templates for the pages outlined in our agreed sitemap. When viewing my initial ideas, you’ll be able to see how the navigation will work and how your site’s features will be integrated into the design. I’ll also supply you with a mobile version of your site so you can see how it will look on smartphones and tablets.
We’ll normally have a follow-up meeting to discuss your thoughts on the designs. This is your opportunity to request any revisions.
Bringing together content and media
Before I can even think about moving the project to development phase, I’ll need to be supplied with all the page content, images, videos and contact information I need to populate the template.
Some of my clients are perfectly happy to provide me with what I need – but others struggle to find the time to write copy and source images themselves (or they just don’t know how to go about it). In this case, it’s often easier and quicker to outsource the job to the professionals.
I can introduce you to experienced web copywriters who will put together engaging, SEO-friendly text that will showcase your business in its very best light. I can also put you in contact with talented photographers and video production specialists if you’re keen to shun stock imagery and create your own media. My associates and I are used to working together to get the job done; we’ll liaise with each other to make sure we have everything we need to move onto the next stage.
Learn more about my complimentary copywriting and digital marketing services.
Developing your new platform
When you’re 100% happy with your new design, I’ll pass the files over to my development team so they can start working their magic. The work-in-progress site will be hosted on a secure test platform, so no-one will be able to see it before it goes live.
Once development has started, you won’t be able to request any design changes without incurring extra costs. This is because changing around features and functions post-development stage is rarely a 5-minute job – a lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes to get things looking exactly as they should.
I factor plenty of time for testing into my quotes, because I like to make sure everything’s looking perfect before your website hits the public domain.
I’ll make my way around the site and keep an eye out for things like broken page links, static scroll bars, pixelated images, faulty contact forms and missing Twitter feeds. You can carry out your own tests, too, if you like.
At this stage, we should be nearly ready to go live! Once you’ve paid your final instalment, I’ll transfer the site over to your domain and set up a suitable hosting package, so everything is ready to go. I’ll set up various Google products for you – and I’ll even deliver basic training on how to use your CMS if you’d like to be able to manage your content yourself.
I’ll also provide you with more information on my web support and maintenance services, which are a vital investment if you want to make sure your site remains secure and continues performing at its best.
So there you have it – a quick-fire guide to my typical web design and development process! As I mentioned earlier on, every one of my clients has slightly different requirements, so I do my best to accommodate them by remaining flexible. But I find that by sticking to the system above, I can usually provide a business with a brand new website within a 6 to 8 week timeframe – as long as content and images are supplied on time, and the brief doesn’t change midway through the project.