In the post recent post, I talked about website costs because oftentimes, my clients are surprised when it’s time to have the conversation about their investment. If you aren’t sure of what’s involved, you can read, The Ultimate Guide to Website Costs.
Grab your beverage of choice and favorite snack because today, I thought I’d share and give you a behind the scenes look at my home office and what it’s like to work with me, and my process to create a website you’re proud of, that helps you attract your ideal client, and that you actually understand! I’m doing this because the most common statement I hear from my clients once we’ve completed and launched their website is, “I love my website, but I had no idea there was so much involved in creating a website!” I always chuckle a bit when I hear this statement and say, “Yes, I don’t believe in just throwing up a website.”
Your website journey with me as I guide you can be described in four phases. Discovery, research, build and design, and launch. All phases of your journey are fueled by communication, collaboration, and education. As you can see, I didn’t start talking about colors and fonts now did I? Nope, because jumping in feet first isn’t going to get you to where you want to be and we all know, especially since you’re an entrepreneur, there is work to be done.
So we’ve gotten all the formalities out of the way and it’s time for me to discover things about you and your business and I suspect, as I’ve been told by clients, you’ll discover things about you and your business too! During this phase, you’ll fill out a comprehensive questionnaire where I ask you some pretty thought-provoking questions about you and your business. Notice how I keep saying you and your business?
Because it’s not just about you and it’s not just about your business. As an entrepreneur or solorpreneur, and even as a small business owner, more often than not, you are your business. You are your brand, you’re the face of the company. So while you are representing your company, in all actuality, they’re buying from YOU. You the person, not you the company. They’re buying because of what YOU the person can do for them by way of YOU the company.
I will interject one thing here and say that I am a fun and jovial person and while we work hard, we’ve got to have fun doing the work, okay? We can laugh, have fun, have messy buns and still get stuff done!
This questionnaire will become our playbook (sorry for the sports analogy) for your website, which I like to call your Design Playbook. It’s what we will always go back to and refer to throughout our work together so that’s why it’s so important that you take the time to think about the questions and provide thoughtful responses. This questionnaire is also going to fuel our research!
We communicate a lot. I mean this is your website and the face of your business, the only 24/7 salesperson you’ve got so it better be good and do what it’s supposed to do, right? Most of our communication is through email, but rest assure, we will speak in real life too!
Collaboration is also important to me because this website is all about you and your business so of course, you’re going to have to put in your two cents or twenty. This isn’t fill out the questions, I create your website and I call you when it’s done. No, ma’am, I’m not that kind of gal! I want to talk to you. What you have to say is important. Yes, you’ve hired me as the expert, but again, collaboration is key!
Now that we’ve got your Design Playbook, it’s time for research! This research is done by you and me and we brainstorm ideas. During this time we’ll talk about you and your brand’s personality (yes, it has one), we’ll look for inspiration, both from a styling perspective (think pretty) and a structure perspective (layout and functionality).
BUILD AND DESIGN
Remember your design playbook all that research we did? Well, we need that to build your website too!
Because all that information is going to help us with your website strategy. I hope I haven’t lost you with that one. You see, you don’t just put things up on your website because they are cute, or pretty, or because you like it. All of those things are fine, but it’s the strategy that’s going to get you a website that you love, attracts clients you want to work with and not that you have to work with.
There is a reason why things are placed on your website. They just aren’t there for show! And if this is a redesign for you, I sure hope you have some type of analytics on your website because that data is so helpful! It’s going to tell us what did and didn’t work on your website. I mean do you really want to bring something over to your new website that didn’t work on the old one? Of course not!
If you’re thinking about a redesign, at bare minimum analytics wise, you should have Google Analytics installed on your website. Even better is to install a heatmap. A heatmap lets you actually see what your website visitors are doing by colored maps. It’s the coolest thing! Okay, sorry…I got geeky there for a minute!
From this, I’ll create what’s called a wireframe where we’ll talk about the layout of your website and the strategy. I’ll provide you with ideas and you tell me yay or nay.
Some of what also comes out of this phase are possible colors, fonts, textures, and images. That’s the part you were waiting for, isn’t it?
I’ll provide you with ideas based on your design playbook and our discussions and you tell me yay or nay.
Next, I’ll take everything we gather and that has been finalized and I’ll create a mockup of key pages for your website. How exciting is that?! You finally get to see things come to life visually all in one!
Why do I have you approve of the final designs before I begin building the actual website?
Because this is where you’ll make your changes and tell me what tweaks you may have if any. You’re given a certain number of revisions because I realize that the idea in your head can sometimes look completely different when you see it on paper or on a screen.
Once you give me the yay, I’ll begin to actually build your website and don’t worry, you’ll still hear from me even when I go into my design and code cave. As I build pages, you’ll be able to see them because I never want you to feel like you don’t know what’s going on. I mean that’s the ickiest feeling ever; been there done that. Don’t like it. If you have questions, please ask.
And, did I mention that throughout your entire website design journey, I ‘ll be teaching you? I’ll teach you what things mean and how they relate. Remember that whole you’ll actually have a website that you understand? Yes, that. You’ll be able to make basic changes to your website on your own if you choose, but don’t worry, if you don’t want to, you don’t have to. You can purchase one of my website maintenance or security plans and I’ll take care of things for you! I completely understand wanting to stay in your zone of genius and focusing on your clients and doing what you love!
DESIGN COMPLETE AND LAUNCH
Once your website design is complete and we’ve checked everything, it’s time to do a happy dance and launch! You’ll get to share with your friends, family, colleagues, and prospective clients what your business is and what you have to offer!
How’s that for exciting and the need for a glass of wine?
Please note: This by no means covers everything that happens while we work together, but I wanted to give you an idea of what it’s like to work with a website designer who puts strategy first and believes in communication and collaboration. Remember, we work hard, but we have fun while we do it!
What questions do you have that I can answer for you? If it’s time for a website or redesign, please fill out my contact form and give me all the details!
Recommended reading: The Ultimate Guide to Website Costs