Once you have confirmed my services, we’ll get started working on your project. Below is an outline of the process we’ll follow on your web design project so that you know what to expect and what your responsibilities are. Of course, each project is unique but this is a great outline for understanding how each step flows.
1. Kickoff Meeting
By video (GotoMeeting or Skype) or in-person. We’ll go over your goals for the website and answer any questions about the overall process.
Be prepared in advance by thinking about the following:
- What is the number one goal of your(new) website?
- To sell a product or service online?
- To provide customer service?
- To be a brochure/informational piece for your business?
- If we are redesigning your website – what is and is not working on your current site?
- Who is your competition? And what do you think they are doing well that you can emulate or improve upon?
- Who is your target audience?
2. Your Homework/Responsibilities
This can be done before or after our Kickoff Meeting but needs to be at least in progress before any major work or mockups can be posted.
- Create a Dropbox folder with any images or graphics you want used on the website and share it with me (if you don’t already have a Dropbox Account, you can sign up for free at www.dropbox.com
- Try to keep images to no smaller than 1200px wide*
- Provide any marketing copy, bios and other information you want included on your website via email. Word documents are preferred.
- Provide any login credentials for ecommerce sites, domain registration or any other applications that will be integrated into your website or project.
3. Discovery and Research
- Provide links to any sites that you like whether it be the color scheme, layout, functionality, etc. These can be sent via email
- Set your marketing goals – do you want email signups included? Think about how you will be driving traffic to your website and what you will do with that traffic once they get there
- What are your users needs?
4. Site Layout and Content Creation
This will likely be done simultaneously with wireframing and design
- First we’ll create an outline/hierarchy of pages (similar to an outline for a research paper)
- We’ll decide together what content should go on each page and what content should be “global” (throughout all pages of the website typically via the footer and sidebars)
- Remember that writing content for web is a little different than writing for print. Information should be in short visible pieces (a couple sentences before breaking the paragraph) and should be concise. It also should take into consideration key words and should enhance your SEO. We’ll work on that together!
- We’ll decide what content should be front and center on the homepage and “above the fold” (the “fold” is a term that comes from the newspaper industry. It refers to the bottom of the screen when you pull up a page BEFORE you scroll down for further information)
- If we are working on a site redesign, don’t forget to do an information audit of your current website. Be sure that all addresses, phone numbers, emails, etc that you provide are up-to-date.
This is where we will decide on the overall layout of your website, including placement of images and text. Think of it like a blueprint, it’s the rough draft BEFORE we apply color and fonts. This is a general sketched outline to give you a visual representation of where content will be on your site and will include placement of:
- Main content
6. Design Phase
I like to refer to this as the “fun part” this is where we will decide on colors, fonts, imagery and other elements to include on your website
- If you already have an established brand, you’ll want to provide any color swatches, fonts, key images and logos (graphics should be provided in HiRes*)
- If you don’t already have an established brand, we’ll collaborate on what colors, fonts, etc best represent you or your product. Pinterest is a great tool to use during this process!
- Once we have established the above, we’ll apply them to the wireframe to give an overall look and feel to your website or print project
During this time, I will build and code your WordPress website to reflect the chosen layout, colors, fonts, imagery and graphics. This is often the most time-consuming phase.
- During the development phase the site will be developed on my server. If you are going to be hosting through Cindy Leigh Design, and do not have a current website, we will use the new domain name and put an “under construction” splash page up with basic contact information. Your actual site will only be visible with a provided username and password. This allows us to work “behind the scenes” until Launch
- If we are working on a redesign, we will create the new site on my server using a temporary domain name. Once the final design is approved, we will migrate the new theme and content to your domain for Launch
8. Quality Control of Content and Functionality
Once you have approved the design and content has been approved, we’ll go through and test links, review content, etc. This should happen on both our ends to ensure proper proofing before launch.
9. Launch and Evaluation
Once your new website has launched, the work doesn’t stop there! Be sure you are announcing your launch via email, social media, etc. Get feedback from your clients and friends. Use analytics to see what areas of your content are working and what may need to be tweaked. Don’t just “set it and forget it”. Your website should be evolving over time, it shouldn’t be a static entity unless you are simply using it as a brochure or calling card (which is never fully recommended). Need help marketing your website to drive traffic? I can help with that too!
*Understanding Digital Images and Graphics
When compiling images for your website and other graphic design projects, it is important to know a few things:
- Be sure that you understand the copyright usage you have unless you took the images yourself. If images were taken professionally, try to include a copyright in the folder with the images so that I know where we can legally use those images. For example: sometimes you’ve paid a professional photographer or stock company a minimal fee and you are restricted to usage on your website, but need to pay additional to use those images in print pieces. Be sure you are familiar with copyright usage and if you have questions, contact the photographer or stock company. Using images outside of your usage rights can have legal ramifications.
- The larger the image file, the better. High Resolution (HiRes) images are always preferred and will typically be at minimum 1mb but often much larger. Dimensions are typically 3600px wide and 300 or 600dpi. While with your online projects (web design, social media, etc) we will be using Low Res files (typically under 2000px wide and 72dpi) It is much easier to take a large file and minimize it. If the image is needed in large format and it’s provided in a small size – enlarging the image will cause pixilation and degrade the quality of the image. Additionally, if in the future we want to use the image in print or in a larger size, we already have it on file.
Need photography? Check out my portfolio and images for sale at www.cindyleighphoto.com
Contact me for photography rates and options.