Creating a new website can seem like a daunting project, but it doesn't have to be! Here's some information to help you get better acquainted with our design process.
The Kickoff Meeting
All our projects start with a face-to-face meeting—at our office or yours. We’re going to be working together for the next couple of months, so we really want to get to know about you! This is a chance for us to talk about your goals and your metrics for success. We also have plenty of coffee and snacks, so don’t be afraid to ask! You can also bring a laptop and hook up to our monitor if you’d like to show us something.
There are a few things you should bring if you have them available:
Chances are you already have a logo of some kind. Please bring:
- Your Logo—as a PDF, EPS, AI, or high-resolution PNG image.
- Colors—in Hex, RGB, or CMYK values.
- Style Guide—if you have one.
Content is the heart of every website. We can help you transition what you have, or help you write new copy. Please bring:
- Existing Copy—either in your current site or in a digital document (such as Word or PDF).
- Photos—large, good-quality photos. Even bring stock photos if you own them!
What do you want your website to do?Having a clear idea at the outset of the project can save time and money.
- What is your goal: to be informative, or to sell a product/service?
- List—what is currently working well on your site? What isn’t?
- Do you have a new audience you would like to reach?
- List—who are your competitors? What are they doing well?
- What other websites do you like?
If you already have a website or a domain name, it helps to have access. If you have them, please bring:
- Website login—if you have to enter a username and password to change your content on your site.
- Domain login—also referred to as “hosting” (GoDaddy is an example).
- Google Analytics—or other analytics platform, if you have one.
- FTP credentials—if you current host provided a way for you to upload files.
- Database credentials—if you are using MySQL or SQL to manage your data.
These items can be uploaded to Teamwork (explained below) or Dropbox, or brought on a flash drive. While not required, having access to these items early in the process can definitely help speed along the project. And if you don’t have any branding or content yet, we can do that too! Just check out our digital marketing page.
We believe transparency and collaboration are important to the success of a project. Some clients want this, and some don’t—we give you the choice. Teamwork is our project management service of choice that allows us to share designs and assets with you while the project is in development. If you’d like to keep close tabs on your project, we’ll set you up with an account and give you an introduction to how it all works. Don’t worry—you can still use e-mail.
If you’re not comfortable with Teamwork, that’s alright—we’re happy to find another way to work with you. We use DropBox, OneDrive, and if you want to skip all of those, we even have our own upload site.
1. Planning and Design
A large and time consuming part of designing a website is in the planning and layout stage of the process. We’ll help you decide on what information needs to be up-front and center, and what can take a back seat. Then we’ll get to work on the visual design, producing layouts, styles, and eventually a high-fidelity set of mockups that show what your site will look like. We’ll meet with you to discuss the designs, get your feedback, and revise until we get it just right.
A development team, their freshly oiled keyboards, and a steady stream of caffeine and Pandora. These are the ingredients to making your site come to life. We’ll get cracking on developing your site in a Content Management System (CMS) and recreating the visual mockups through code. We’ll make sure your site is responsive so you’ll be able to reach mobile visitors, and we’ll code your site to be accessible and compliant. Sometimes we’ll provide training in our CMS so that you can enter content while we code, saving time on the overall process.
3. Testing and Configuration
We have members of our team dedicated to testing our sites before they reach you. We’ll check out your site on Macs, Windows PCs, smartphones, and tablets. We’ll also share a test copy of the site with you so that you can try out its functionality. If you’re also doing SEO with us, we’ll check all the pages to make sure we’re using the right keywords in the right places.
Once the site is ready to go live, all unnecessary plugins, pages, images and backend files will be removed. We’ll install Google Analytics and submit your site to the Google Search Console. Once live, it may take 24 hours for the new site to pull up on some devices. Some computers will need to be refreshed in order to see the new site, though most computers will see the new site immediately.
For those of you who host with us, look forward to a Google Analytics report from our SEO team every quarter!