Many clients find the thought of having a website designed very intimidating. They simply do not know what to expect from the developer, or what the developer expects from them.
We like to break each individual project into “phases”. It gives us and our clients a clear understanding of what is being done first, last and at each step in between. You want to know what is going on with your site, and we want you to be involved every step of the way. All sites are different, but a typical new website project will be broken down as follows:
Phase 1 – Preparation
This includes pointing your domain to our servers (if you are hosting with us), creating a test environment (if you already have an existing site), setting up email accounts, installing the WordPress software, installing the theme/framework, and installing all plugins that we will be using. At this time we will also setup a coming soon page if this is a new website.
This is when we review specifics of what you want your site to look like. Much of this has already been discussed by the time you decide to move forward, but we will review and confirm at this time. We are always happy to take the lead and be creative if you are unsure of what you are looking for initially, but we do want as much of your input as possible about color schemes, font styles, images, graphics and layout.
Phase 2 – Layout/Styling
Home Page Design
The most important page of your site is the home page. All internal pages are based off of the homepage styles. The website header, navigation, and footer will usually be consistent on every page as well. Your homepage is the first page that we will design on your site, and we will review it with you and revise as necessary before moving on to the internal pages of your site.
This is really part of the homepage design, but deserves a separate mention. Once a visitor arrives at your site, we want to ensure that they are able to find the information they are looking for as easily as possible. With smaller websites, the navigation is usually just a list of all of the pages on the site. However, if you have a larger website, we will be using drop down menus and it is important that we are grouping your site pages intuitively, so that users can find the proper page with as little searching and clicking as possible.
Internal Page Layout
Your internal pages will share the same general styling as the homepage, but many of them will have a unique layout. Pages such as a Portfolio, Blog, or Contact Form will each require the content to be presented in a different layout. As with the homepage, we will design these, review them with you, and then revise as necessary.
Phase 3 – Content/Functionality
You will have the ability to add and update content and images yourself once your site is live. However, we always like to launch sites with as much pertinent information in place as possible.
In most cases, the content and imagery will be provided by the client and uploaded/styled by us. You know your business and industry better than we do and it is necessary for you to create much of the personalized content, such as bios and service descriptions. Similarly, you are the best source for images of yourself, your business, your work, etc.
If you need assistance or are unable to provide any of these materials, we are here to help. We offer copywriting services, stock image selection, and can even setup a photo shoot for you! As these services are more custom in nature, please contact us for a quote.
Complete all Functionality
At this point we will develop, style, and test all functionality required on the internal pages of your site. This could include, but is not limited to, submittable forms, calendars, maps, embedded social media feeds, and various third party integrations.
Phase 4 – Launch
We will personally go through every page of your new site with you to check for accuracy and address any changes or edits that may be required before the site is launched and goes live.
We will teach you how to access and navigate your sites’ administration area, enabling you to make many content changes yourself going forward. This can be done in person or over the phone. We include time for teaching sessions in each web design package that we offer to assure that you are comfortable managing your site once it is up and running.
Today’s the big day! We will officially launch your site and conduct a final round of testing to make sure that everything is running smoothly. Remember, the launch of your site does not mean the end of our working relationship. We are here for you to help with any technical questions and to assist you moving forward with the marketing of your new site.