All web design companies have their own take on the best way to design, build and promote a website. We thought it would be useful to some of the younger freelance designers out there if we outlined a step by step guide of a typical bespoke web design project we would undertake.
Phase 1: Strategy
Before we do anything it’s important to understand your how the website fits in with the overall marketing strategy and long-term business goals. At this stage it’s all about appreciating your client’s requirements. Listen carefully and ask any questions you feel will help you attain a comprehensive brief.
If they already have corporate branding familiarise yourself with their colours, logo etc and make sure you fully understand their mission statement and style of communication.
Even at this early stage it’s important to be aware not only of their products and services but also what users will type into Google to find them. Conduct any necessary keyword research as this will determine the underlying theme of the site.
Phase 2: Proposal
Create a detailed proposal encompassing all aspects of the site design and build.
Clearly outline the overall goal of the project and provide a step by step guide of all the site features and functionality. Make sure it’s written in a style that is easy to digest and understand without any technical knowledge of web design.
Define all aspects of the site and don’t forget to include all of your extended services. Providing things like training and aftercare support are as important as being technically able to build a website.
For the majority of the time this is the start of an ongoing relationship between you and your client so be clear on what they get for their money and make sure to honour your agreement.
Phase 3: Build
Start with the visual design. Present your client with a visual concept for the site and make sure it captures and promotes the personality of the company. Require feedback and work closely with your client to attain the perfect design.
The coding of the site includes writing the html/css structure of the pages, setting up a database to store dynamic data and developing the content management system.
Check the content to make sure it has the correct keyword density and populate the site. Test the site across multiple browsers to make sure the layout is identical in each.
Finally check the validity of the programming languages, content code, special features and email forms and test for better performance and stability.
Phase 4: Promote
With the website now live it’s time to start driving traffic to the site. Start your search engine optimisation and online advertising campaigns and set up Google analytics so your client can track the progress as the site climbs up the rankings.