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In this article, I’m going to give you quick tour of my web design and development process.

Step 1: Web Design and Development Consultation

“What do you need, when is the deadline, and where’s the budget?”

First, I’ll interview the potential client, over Zoom or phone call, to understand their goals and their time line. We’ll discuss the features they have in mind, and based on my experience with past clients, I’ll advise them on what’s required to implement those features, any potential hazards or hidden costs, as well as any additional features that perhaps the client hasn’t even considered.

A note on content: Agreeing on a source for content is another important factor at this phase. Where will we get the images, text, videos, and/or audio (such as podcasts) for the site? I often provide simple media editing, Photoshop, and graphic design work for my clients, and copy writing is usually a collaborative effort, in which I provide my clients with writing prompts so that they can tell their story through their website in their own words. I also strongly recommend that my clients seek the help of an SEO expert to ensure that their written content is search engine optimized.

Having defined the scope and schedule, we next need to discuss the budget. The old saying is that you can have it fast, cheap, or good… pick two. If a client knows where they stand on at least two of those points, the third one will often define itself. Usually, clients have a budget and timeline in mind, they have X to spend and they need it done by Y. With those two parameters in hand, they go looking for the best quality they can get. At this point, my aim is to ensure that the client’s expectations are reasonable (or even feasible), given the parameters they’ve laid out.

Step 2: Designing the Website

If everything goes well in the consultation and the client has agreed to move forward, we can start drafting the design, which begins by gathering inspiration. This is the most creative part of the process, so I invite the client to share their vision with me in what ever way works best for them. This almost always includes asking the client to send me examples of other websites in their industry and tell me what they like, or don’t like, about the way their competitors are doing things. Other exercises may include making a vision board on Pinterest, or literally anything that gets the client’s creativity flowing.

Once the client has clearly communicated their vision and their style, I’ll get to work drafting the website’s pages. Depending on the project’s requirements, we may take the economical route of using pre-designed templates, or the custom route of designing a theme from scratch. My favorite is the middle ground between templates and working from scratch, which is to use a page builder like Divi.

Step 3: Developing the Features

After the look and basic layout are settled, I can start making the website actually do things, like selling products and delivering content. This is a much less collaborative step in the process, as clients typically just want it to work, and don’t care if it’s done in PHP or JavaScript.

This is also the area where I’m most likely to team up with other experts in case a project has some hyper-specific technical requirement. For example, I had a client recently who wanted to integrate a WordPress website with a non-WordPress website. The WP site would sell subscriptions, and members with an active subscription should be able to access content on the service’s cloud. You can listen in on one of those team calls in the video below, in which my team is letting me know about a database issue that needed to be solved to make the feature work.

The above is an excerpt from a call discussing databases and passwords.

Step 4: Technical Wrap Up and Follow-Through

Once the client is happy with the design and functionality of the site, and everything has been thoroughly tested, it’s time to wrap things up! Besides publishing the website, I’ll also ensure that all other technical requirements have been met, such as setting up professional email addresses with Microsoft or Google.

As an optional follow-through, I also provide website administration training for my clients, so that they are comfortable running their website on their own, such as tweaking text or images, managing orders, and publishing blog posts. There’s also a period of post-publication performance monitoring wherein I ensure that everything is stable and running smoothly.

Step 5: Celebrate!

That’s it! If you have any questions or would like to schedule a free consultation to find out if my services are right for you, please click the button below.