In this post we are covering (and briefly describing) the steps we take to build a website from start to finish. This is for designers, developers, and clients alike. Enjoy!
1. Initial Call: Strategize
The first step we take in building a website is a fairly in-depth phone call with each potential client to get to know you personally and professionally. We learn about your target market and the purpose behind your business as well as your goals for the website. We strive to get to know everything from your mission to all themes and “feels” your appreciate and strive for with your customers. We also ask about the basic size of the project and budget to present a basic price estimate in a follow up email.
2. Downpayment: Lock-In Price and Timeline
Over the years, we have learned to invoice for half of the minimum of the estimated project to not only lock in the client as ‘our’ client, but also to secure our timeline so we can begin penciling in our projected weeks looking forward. The last thing we want to do is overbook and not be able to deliver a promise on time. We’ve found being open and honest with this process has smoothed out the bittersweet sensation of sending/receiving an invoice altogether!
3. Mood Board: Lock Down the Theme
Next, we have the client watch a brief, instructional video we have created walking you through how we like mood boards to be formatted and submitted. This document helps us really see which photos, sites, and colors the client loves so we can create a product that we’re confident they will love.
4. Site Outline: The Foundation
After receiving the mood board, we’ll put it into their Dropbox or Google Drive account (depending on the project), and have the client watch another video (Dropbox or Google Drive) on how to create and format a site outline. This site outline lists all the pages on the site and how you would like them listed in the menu – this includes which pages are priority and which pages fit in drop-down menus. This helps us provide a more structured and honest wireframe and propose any price estimation edits if absolutely necessary.
5. Wireframe: Good Design Solves Problems
We recently posted an article explaining the Power of Wireframes, check it out for more info and examples! The wireframe is the blueprint of the homepage… a sketch, more or less. Just the home page is wireframed to set the building block for the rest of the site. Once the wireframe is approved (several rounds may be required), we move to the next step!
6. Content Generation: The Hard Part…
We’re gonna be honest here… usually this step takes the longest. Since no one knows the client’s business like the client, we don’t write content for the websites we build. Because of this, sometimes it takes weeks (or even months in some cases) to get all the content ready. We have the client watch another video on how we like the content uploaded and formatted (again, Dropbox or Google Drive depending on their preference). Once all content is ready (copy and photos all uploaded in the corresponding folder and labeled properly), we move to the next step!
7. Design and Build: Our Favorite Part!
The next step is all on us… we design, develop, and build the site. Depending on the size of the project, this could take anywhere from 1 day to 6 weeks. We do our very best to keep the client updated on progress and give approximate dates of completion.
8. Edit: Inspect, Polish, Critique
The editing phase is not one to brush over as we want your new site to shine! Since we move quickly, we miss things every now and then… This is the time to proof-read and submit any edits you may have. And, of course, we have an instructional video that explains how to format an edits sheet. Sometimes this is done with one round, sometimes 10. So look it over carefully, inspect and critique. We want you to be happy with your investment!
Once approved, we go through our checklist to make sure your site is secured and properly submitted to Google as well as making sure all links and photos are properly embedded and linked. We also set up basic site stats if a Google account is provided and install basic plugins like Yoast SEO. A final invoice will be sent.
10. Congratulations! Have You Thought About Maintenance?
Now that you’ve launched and have a brand new site that accomplishes the goals you sought out using great design, strategy, and secure coding, we want to make sure your investment is protected. Since we believe website security and maintenance is an absolute necessity, we do offer our Maintenance Plan. We are proud to say that with the hundreds of sites on our maintenance plan, 0 have ever been hacked. Please consider this as website insurance and protect your brand new investment.
Great overview of your process. Thanks for sharing John.
You bet Mike! Have a great day! =)