You’re ready to launch that new website!

Here’s what it’s like to work together.

What steps are involved with building a new website?

So, you are ready to launch that new website you’ve been thinking about. Well, you have come to the right place. Whether it is a brand new website or a refresh of an old site that’s ready for a modern look, I would love to have the opportunity to collaborate with you on the launch of your new site. Below, I will give you a sense of what the creative design process includes as we work together to launch your new WordPress-powered website.

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Getting Started With WordPress

Here’s what you can expect:

I like to get together for a meet and greet to get us started. In this first meeting, I’ll ask you questions about your business or project and we’ll work through some possible ways of approaching your website. I also like for you to come to this meeting ready to show me some websites you like with some background about what on that site really speaks to you. I’ll take notes while you tell me about your project and your aesthetic interests.

From this first meeting, well take a look at the functional needs of your website. Do you plan to take payments on the site? Do you need an events calendar, blog, newsletter, booking calendar, portfolio section, etc? Based on your needs assessment, I’ll describe some ways to implement various website functionality and help you determine whether those things can be achieved through free WordPress plugins or paid premium plugins, or integrated external apps.

One of the first steps to take once we decide to move forward together is to get your website set up and ready for content and design. If you are technically inclined, I can point you in the direction of how to get this part of the project started. If you prefer, I can set the whole thing up for you as part of our work together. We’ll buy your domain and hosting package, install WordPress and then install some of the initial tools needed to get us started. Don’t worry, this part can sound intimidating, but it is quite painless. I promise!

Often, there are some functional needs for a website that goes beyond simply displaying information. You may want to be able to take bookings right from your website that integrate with your Google Calendar so that site visitors can self-book with you based on your availability. You may want to integrate your website with an external newsletter or social media feed. Perhaps you want to run a blog and have it optimized for sharing on social networks. Whatever your goals, we will work together to determine what apps work best to support your needs.

I believe very strongly in an iterative design process. That is to say, we can be thought partners to each other as we implement your aesthetic approach to the website. With some projects, my clients really take the lead in the look and feel of the site and in other cases, they lean on me to lead the style and design. I am happy with both approaches and will read the room, as they say, to decide how much to step forward or step back in this process as we work together. It is not uncommon that I will use placeholder content, images, fonts, and colors, and then you will provide feedback on how to adjust those placeholders to meet your desires for the site design.

One of the first things I like to do when we work together is to identify a color palette for your website. We will do this through a couple of exercises involving photographs and color theory so we can create a site that is both visually appealing and scores well for accessibility. Believe it or not, Google has an algorithm that determines how “readable” a site is based on the use of color backgrounds and text color that will impact your site’s placement in search engine results. I will work with you to ensure that we design a visually pleasing site while also making sure it adheres to some standards that make it highly accessible.

One of the more interesting aspects of designing a website is selecting the fonts for your various pages and uses. Fonts can convey a lot about someone’s personality and it is an important part of the process of designing your website. I will walk you through some ways of identifying fonts that will reflect your style sense and your brand. Sometimes, this process will also lend itself to designing the logo of a website. The modern web relies more on WordMarks than image marks so we can work on this together to decide what is the best approach for you.

One of the first things we’ll need to do together as we begin building the website is to determine what website pages you need. Most websites start with some of the same basic pages that include at least some of the following… homepage, about, contact, services, FAQs, testimonials, blog, products, and page not found. At least some of these will be essential to your website and you may also include things like an events calendar, terms and conditions, etc. We’ll work on determining what pages we need to build out and how to help people find these pages through your navigation bar or footer sitemap.

Now that we have the basics covered we’ll work on determining the look and feel of the website. Your website will convey certain aspects of you or your product or business and the style will help set that tone. First impressions are everything and the website is often your first impression to people who are coming to you for your expertise. What do you want to convey? Once, we decide what that looks like, we can map out the most important content and ensure that it is very clear to people what you are all about from the moment they land on your website. By prioritizing your objectives, we can decide where and how we place content on your site.

Generally speaking, I will work out a method for you to deliver content so I can place it on the website as I build it. I will offer guidelines on text length or image orientation to help fill out the website with our shared vision. I often create content documents that ask you for information and you are tasked with providing that information in a timely manner so we can keep the website built on schedule. We’ll be working our way towards the first review of your content as it begins to take shape on the web. There will be multiple ways for you to share feedback and request edits to the content whether that is something as simple as font size or placement or recording content altogether. I’ll take in your feedback and either iterate with you on ways to implement changes or follow your lead. We’ll just have to see how that evolves and what your desire is for that process. Depending on our location and what is happening in our lives or the world at large, the site review can take place in person or virtually over zoom. Most site reviews happen on Zoom since we both need to be looking at the screen either way.

So, there are generally two parts to making revisions to site content. There is the part I do and the part you do! That is to say, you may need to write content for your site so that things are being presented in your voice and with your expertise. In most cases, I can empower you to make your own edits once the content is constructed. If you prefer, you can provide content to me, and I can then add it to the website as agreed upon. You may also want to have your own imagery. This is often one of the hardest parts of designing the site. There are many great sources of imagery on the web, though sometimes it makes sense to hire a photographer to produce unique images. We’ll review this process together to decide how best to implement these changes. If you’re going to have a blog or resource section of the website, it often makes sense for me to train you on how to use this functionality so you can begin to create and add your own content to the site. We’ll work this out in our design process and usually have a sense of how this will go from our first meeting.

By this stage of the process, we are usually nearly ready to launch. We will generally have a virtual meeting to discuss the build process and determine whether the site is near ready for launch or whether there are new functionalities that need to be added to the website. At the start of the project, we will both sign a general Letter of Agreement (LOA) about the scope of work. If the project grows, as often happens, we’ll have to work together to negotiate our contract for the design project. It’s really up to you how much or how little you want to have on your website and what kind of functionality you need. I am always happy to discuss whether we have reached our goal or need to expand on the original project goals. Hopefully, we are close to putting the final touches on the site at this stage!

Okay, we did it! The content has been created, the visual look has been determined, the voice has been identified and the site is now a reality. Congratulations! You have a website. Let’s get ready to launch. If you have any external apps that integrate with the site like a merchant account for accepting payments or a calendar for accepting bookings, now is the time to go through the list and determine if everything is ready for showtime. If so, let’s launch the site!

Getting the website up and running is often about making the race to the starting line! Now, you get to run the race. If you are running a business, you will have clients to manage and or a schedule to keep track of or any other number of business matters. You also have a website that needs to be maintained. If you feel confident in managing your website and all your business needs, you are set to go and this is where we part ways. At this point, I can wish you congratulations and good luck if you prefer!

Or maybe you want some support? I can help you with website management and security. Believe it or not, hacking is a growth economy and your website is sure to be under attack from the first day it goes live. Don’t ask me why, just trust me that it will happen. I do offer Website Service plans to keep your code up to date and your site secure if you wish to have ongoing support. I can also support you with adding content to your website or optimizing your site for search engine results or social media integration. There’s always so much more you can do when marketing your business so it is up to you where to go from here. Just know that I am here for you and happy to build an ongoing business relationship. This can be especially reassuring when you are trying to run a successful business all by yourself or with a small team.

Let’s Get Started!

Let’s Setup a Video Call

For new clients, it is best to start out with a complimentary call to discuss your project. We can ask each other questions about the project, process, and the expected timeline and decide if we are a good fit to work together. In this call, we can start to lay out the scope of work as well as an agreement on the cost of the project and the process we will employ while working together. Consider this a meet and greet conversation that could potentially put us on a path to building your new website.

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