Basically, my website design process includes:
- getting to know you and your business
- learn what your goals and expectations are
- find out if you have a budget and due date
- collect a deposit
- consider design options
- implement design and fine-tune
- collect balance and remain available for training and changes
Your Website Design Goals and Expectations:
What do you plan on doing with your new website – do you plan on offering physical fitness services, selling your jewelry, or showing-off your photography skills?
What do you need to get from your website – ticket sales, product orders? What are you expecting it to look like – e.g. artsy and fun, or sleek and professional.
What functionality does it need – an image gallery with a blog, or a shopping cart with gift certificates, coupons, dynamic shipping, etc.? These and more are questions I’m looking for answers for. Some of these questions are answered when I learn about your business.
Most people have an unsaid goal – traffic. This is a given, which is why I build websites that are mobile-friendly and search engine friendly. ‘Search engine friendly’ is not the same as ‘search engine optimized’. Some folks want to optimize the site themselves for search engines or don’t have content yet to optimize. That’s why ‘search engine optimization’ is often a separate step or phase.
Sometimes, I may recommend a feature or service that you haven’t thought of. Some folks aren’t aware that they need an SSL certificate, for example, if they plan on having an e-commerce website. Shipping methods are also something folks forget about. I’ve built a few e-commerce websites, so I have an idea of common features e-commerce websites have.
Before I offer my own design suggestions, I like to find out if you have an idea of what you want your site to look like. Maybe you’ve visited other sites and you liked, or didn’t like, certain things about it. What impression do you want it to give? Each of the above examples will have a different design or feeling/impression. The physical fitness coach’s website might have a rough, edgy design to it. The design might imply movement. Versus the jewelry e-commerce website might have a sleek and sexy look. The place I like to start, when considering what kind of a look or impression or design to give your website, is your logo and industry. If, for example, you restore old cars and you have a retro-style logo, it makes sense to have a similarly designed website – one with a retro style. If your business is process improvement, you probably want a more modern, corporate website design with appropriate colors. Maybe you’ve visited other websites and liked, or didn’t like, certain things or colors about it.
Sometimes, I will produce a pencil sketch of your new website design. Often times, unless you already know exactly what you want and you just want me to dive in and get the website up, I will produce at least one digital mock-up or preview of what your new website will look like. I will present that to you as a small jpg via email. If I produce more than one, you can pick the one you like best. If you don’t like any of them (that’s never happened in the 20 years I’ve been designing and building websites), I will produce more. Once a design is chosen, I will implement it into WordPress, or Miva Merchant, or whatever your platform or framework is. While I’m implementing your new design, I test your website on both Mac and Windows computers and in all major browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) at various screen sizes to make sure your website looks and functions as it should. I will also test on my iPhone and iPad. Browsers these days have mobile simulators so I can see what your website would look like on the variety of mobile devices.
Budget is very important to me. I want to make sure I don’t go over your budget. If you don’t have a budget, that’s fine. Regardless, I often will produce a few design options, at a few different price levels to choose from. I like to offer a bare bones option in case you want to go that route. I also like to dream big and offer site that has all the bells and whistles with search engine optimization, content writing, social media sharing, and more. Then something in the middle that has a little of both.
Some folks need their new website up by a certain date. Maybe you have a conference or symposium you’re preparing for. Most of the time, I can get your website done well before the due date.