Website design process steps
Website Design & Development Process For Clients
You might be wondering what it takes to create a website, as a student, another web design agency, freelancer or a businessman looking to get online. We have outlined the basic steps we take here at New Perspective Design that are integral to speedy and effective website design and maintenance for our clients. Our step by step web design processes. On one hand, a lot of digital agencies tend to just focus on how “pretty” a design is. Which, in our opinion, is sort of the opposite of what they should actually be doing?
Yes – part of your web design process should help revamp your client’s current site, but more importantly, it should be able to solve their business goals as well. Your client’s target audience should be able to easily absorb the content on your client’s website. The aesthetics and content should also be able to pull their audience in. Pretty websites are not everything.
Our 8 Step Website Design Process For 2020
Without further ado, let’s go over our 8 step website design process for 2019.
Identifying Design Goals
This is arguably the most important step when it comes to any web design process. During this first stage, the agency needs to determine the client’s website end goal(s). Often times, there could be more than one goal. It’s imperative to ask the client exactly what they expect out of their website in terms of functionality, aesthetics. What they expect in terms of a return of investment that their new web design will give them. This could mean taking into account things like user experience and the marketing channels they will promote their website on. Getting a pretty website online is one thing, making it work it get traffic and sell and another.
In fact, once we have a contractual agreement our first step determine your business goals much of which would have been outlined in the brief:
The type of questions we would ask you are along the lines of the following:
- Who is this new website targeting?
- What does their audience expect to do or find?
- Is the main goal of this website to inform, sell, or simply amuse?
- What websites does the client like, in terms of aesthetics and functionality wherein you can draw inspiration from?
- What does the client not like on a website? What do they find annoying or cumbersome?
- How do they expect to achieve their goals?
- Who are your biggest industry competitors online?
This is essentially what you expect your website to do for your business and your clients. Once we have worked through this we do two things to kick of the web design process: keyword research with tools like Google keywords planner and also looking at competitor websites to see where they fall short in design and marketing. It’s always our goal to set a new industry standard when designing a website or revamping one.
We have often found that just talking with a client and exposing them somewhat to how the online world works allow them to make use of their industry knowledge in combination with ours to make for a really effective website. We ensure both parties understand and identify goals upfront, which greatly smoothens out the process of the web design project.
Sketching Out Website Scope Definition
Next, we would create what’s called a project scope. In a nutshell, project scope identifies exactly what tasks you will complete for the client in terms of development, design and marketing. For example:
- Mobile-friendly web design
- Responsive web development
- Shopping cart functionality
- Social media integrations
- Geo locations
- Live chat functionalities
- Re-marketing tags and content management plans
This clearly defined scope helps maintain the project guidelines. Providing clear expectations of what to expect and accomplish working together.
One thing that can (and often does) happen is something called, “scope creep”. Clients can and will have some amazing ideas on how to improve their website. However, it’s imperative that if the client wants something (for example, adding membership functionality) added to their website, you must communicate with them that what they want is not within the original project scope. If you do not do that, a couple of things may happen:
- Project delays
- You will end up putting in more hours, essentially working for free
- Mis-managed client expectations
Make sure that your project scope is clearly defined at the beginning of any project as part of your main contract and there shouldn’t be any issues moving forward with your client.
Produce The Sitemap And Wire-frame
A clearly defined web design site architecture and wire-frame are set out to establish user flow throughout the different pages of your website and streamline your sales process. Think of a web design sitemap as a blueprint for your website, and the web design wire-frame to be a guide of how your web design will actually look. The wire-frame won’t contain any finalized design elements until we complete content gathering. It will simply act as a guide for how your web design will ultimately look.
Designing The Website
This is where the fun part begins. Whenever we design a website for our clients, we go right back to the drawing board – drawing from the steps above in our process.
Before a single pixel is created, we extract the answers from our client meetings above. We essentially translate their business goals, into their new web design. Apart from this, the client’s new web design will be shaped by using existing branding elements such as color choices, logo designs, and graphic design elements.
An integral part of website design is to get quality information. This will be used as content on your website and should fall in line with the fore mentioned keyword research and website goals. New perspective Design has streamlined this process with Google’s own Google drive platform. We have an integrated system with Google drive the allows clients to see the websites wireframe and upload image and text as they please. Our web developers have instant access to this material and would draw the website content from Google drive. This ensures that information is correctly structured from the get go.
Choosing strong imagery that engages and pulls the client’s target audience is also extremely important. Content, which is also a major foundation of converting users on any website, is taken into account during this stage as well.
Once the design is complete on our end, we send it over to the client for review.
- Images are important
- Content to pull an audience in is equally as important
- Branding (color scheme, logo, etc) needs to be included. Offline and online brand consistency is key.
- Accomplishing business goals through design is imperative
Tools to design website graphics:
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Illustrator
Developing The Website
Once the web design has been completed and approved by the client, it’s time to hop into actually developing the website. We make sure that it’s semantically built and is mobile, tablet, laptop and desktop-friendly.
We don’t use pre-made templates that you can buy for R500 on a website, slap a logo on and call it day. What we do instead, is a custom build for your entire website from the ground up.
There are a few advantages in doing so:
- Custom look – your website doesn’t look like a million others out there that have used templates
- Lightning-fast – since everything is semantically and properly built, this ensures very fast page load times
- Great for SEO – your web pages will be much better optimized for Google
- Easy to maintain – after launch, there will inevitably be changes done to the website. Developers love clean code to navigate through, which is another big advantage here.
Tools for developing a website:
- Sublime Text
- Visual Studio Code
Testing and draft phase
Once the website is built we deploy it on a test server. A live server is often different from a local server, so we rigorously go through your website to make sure there are no broken links, no spelling errors, and the presentation on all responsive devices is consistent and looks (and feels) professional.
The URL of the test server is provided to the client so that they may share and review the website, we do allow for revisions that fall into the initial scope. If they are out of scope we often add a fee for the extra work.
We also make sure that there are meta descriptions and meta titles present on the client’s website. This is very important for search engine optimization (SEO), which leads us into the next phase.
Now is everyone’s favorite phase – the launch!
This is the phase where we take your old site offline and place your new website in its place. The effect is generally immediate – there could be some 24-48 hour downtime, but this really depends on the situation.
After the website is launched, we have a general checklist we go through. This contains the following (and more);
- Thorough run through of the website, making sure all links work correctly
- Testing once more on desktop, tablet, laptop and mobile to ensure consistency
- Set up Google Analytics (if it’s not already setup)
- Set up Google Search Console to monitor traffic (if it’s not already setup)
Optimize For Search Engines
- Typically, having a great website is only half the battle. If people aren’t aware of it, then what’s the point?
- This is where search engine optimization comes in. We make sure the keywords that a client’s audience is searching for are located within certain pages on the website. This means that when people do a Google search for that term, your website will come up.
- There’s a lot more that goes into SEO and having to rank high in Google for certain keyword terms. We make sure that all of any client’s web pages are properly optimized for Google’s indexing.
- *This is available to clients who have contractual monthly agreements with us. We offer this in our web design packages and it’s a priceless feature. Your business would never have to hire a web designer. The longer our agency works with your business website and digital marketing, the better we get to know your industry, the smoother the workflow becomes. We have been in business with some of our clients for over four years and it feels like we are part of their team.
Ongoing SEO and Website maintenance
New Perspective Design is unique in that our main goal is not to sell as many websites as possible. We sell less in order to work with clients who are investing in website growth and business growth.
Our expertise in digital marketing has seen many small businesses become dominant on Google search engine or social media.
SEO of course is ongoing and so is social media marketing. Google also loves evergreen content meaning you need to constantly publish fresh content. Many business owners don’t have the technical know-how to ensure web hosting servers are optimal, websites are updated and to publish new content. This is what we offer since all these things go hand in hand with SEO.
We also offer monthly reports from Google Analytics showing an increase in clicks impressions and conversions on your website. This means you are growing and getting a good return on your investment.
Concluding our web design process post for 2020
As you can see, there are many steps in order to launch a successful website. It’s time-consuming but absolutely imperative (and worth it!) in order to ensure that your online presence becomes a success.