If you're looking to create a new website, then you need to know what the process is for creating one that can help you achieve your business goals. In this video, I break down what my process is for helping my clients create marketing-focused websites that can serve as the foundation for their entire digital marketing strategy.
By watching this video, you will discover what a professional web design process looks like and be able to properly vet freelancers/agencies for your project.
Have a web design project you want to discuss with me? Click the link below to book a strategy meeting with me. I'll help you map out a game plan, answer all your questions, and do my best to point you in the right direction.
Enjoyed this video? Stay tuned to my YouTube channel as I will be releasing a series of videos detailing the entire web design process along with marketing strategies and tactics that will help you finally achieve massive ROI from your digital advertising.
See below for an outline of topics discussed in this video:
Pre Sales Phase
- Before any project gets started, there needs to be a sales process so the two parties can agree on a scope of work for the project, deliverables, and many other factors.
- The key thing here is both parties should continually be evaluating each other to make sure they are both a good fit for one another. Working on a project like this is really a partnership that will require a great working relationship to ultimately be successful.
- While every freelancer and agency has their own unique process, below is what I generally go by. It is pretty similar for most agencies.
- Intro Call - A quick 15-minute call to understand what current marketing challenges you are facing and how a new website can help.
- Website Questionnaire Form - I send all prospective clients a detailed questionnaire form to get a better understanding of the scope of work for the project they are considering.
- Follow Up Meeting - Once I have reviewed the form, I then set up an additional call with all project stakeholders to ensure we all have a correct understanding of what the project would entail
- Project Proposal & Contract - If everything looks good, I then send a proposal for the project and a master services agreement. This covers the complete scope of work (and all deliverables required) and all the legal mumbo jumbo.
Discovery / Strategy
- Once both parties decide to move forward with a project, the next step is the strategy phase. Here, the agency or freelancer you hire must do their due diligence and research your business, industry, and competitors so they properly understand what challenges you face and what potential opportunities are out there.
- After that, It's time to take these business learnings and apply some marketing insight to them.
- Once all the research & strategy development is complete, I then summarize my findings in a strategy deck that I present to the client. We use this time to review the data and align on objectives, goals, and KPIs for the project so that we can measure success later on.
- We also discuss what content the website will feature, and review design inspiration to align on the visual direction of the new website. This way, we the agency have an understanding of what design the client wants to go with by discussing real work examples with them.
- So to summarize, the key things covered in the discovery/strategy phase are:
- Research/Discovery - Business background, local/national industry, competitor analysis, SEO research, etc.
- Website Strategy - Objectives, Goals, KPIs, visual direction, content architecture
- Once a strategy has been agreed upon, the design work can begin.
- Design is all about solving problems (for both the business & visitors) so taking the time in the last phase to build out a strategy is essential. This way, everyone agrees on the problems that need to be overcome & the end goals if we are successful. Now, we just need to focus on what the solutions are.
- The Design phase is very iterative, but can roughly be broken down to the three sub-phases below.
- The first step in the design process is to begin mapping out a rough outline of content for each of the major pages of the website. The designs produced here are intentionally low-detail (we call these wireframes low-fidelity) and feature placeholders for text, images, and other design elements.
- The main goal here is to agree upon a content structure for each page. Once we know what content each section of the main website pages will require to achieve our business objectives for the site, then we can move forward with creating a detailed design.
- Why is it important to start with low-fidelity wireframes? By first agreeing on what content each page will feature, then the only remaining thing to do is create an eye-catching visual design that will appeal to the business's target demographic. By taking the time to do this, we avoid the endless back and forth that can turn these projects into a living hell that drags on for months.
- Once the structure of each page is in place, then we can move on towards developing the visual design that will eventually show exactly what the website will look like - before it goes online.
- Here, your freelancer/agency will be focusing on adding colors, images, textures, and all the other visual design elements that make for a finished website. This process is very iterative and may require a good bit of inspiration.
- Here at Inbound Web Development, we use a tool called Figma that allows us to quickly build wireframes that represent what the website will look like once complete. Using this tool is similar to graphic design software, so it is much faster than coding these designs. This allows us to experiment with different designs/layouts quickly and revise based on our client's feedback. It also allows you to preview the designs as if they were an actual web page (complete with scrolling & interactions) making it very easy for everyone involved to see what the website will look like and decide if it will help us hit those goals & KPIs set out in the strategy phase.
- As the UX/UI sub-design phases are happening, content needs to be developed and organized ahead of development to ensure a smooth process.
- By content, we refer to copywriting, images, videos, blogs, employee bios, downloadable PDFs/whitepapers, press releases, and any other items that will be featured on the website.
- We streamline this process by providing Google Drive links and content worksheets to make it very easy for our clients to give us the content we need to create a website that can achieve the goals/objectives set out in the research phase
- Once the design gets approved, it is time to actually get the website live on the internet. This is done by taking the design files produced in the last phase and building them out with code.
- There are lots of tools out there to build websites, and ultimately whoever you hire should advise you on what is best for you. We use CMS platforms (Content Management Systems) that streamline the development process. A CMS also makes it super easy for (even the non-technical) clients to make basic edits to their site and consistently update it with new content (blogs, videos, etc.).
- We use either WordPress or Webflow to build websites for our clients. Both have very similar features and in our opinion are the two best overall CMS platforms on the marketing (did you think we would leave our clients with anything but the best solutions?). Webflow is our default choice for most projects - but when a project is going to require extra functionality we opt for WordPress because it's massive library of plugins & 3rd party add ons allow us to quickly implement any advanced features our client needs.
- Once the website has been developed, we send it to our clients on a live staging URL and ask them to review it one final time before we go live with the new website.
- While this is happening, we are busy following standard operating procedures that we've developed over the years to ensure the website is ready for launch. This includes browser/responsive testing, full grammar checks, speed optimizations, functionality testing, etc. (the list we have is over 40 items and growing).
- Once the client gives us the green light, then we are able to quickly move forward with launching the website because of this process.
- Once the website is live and everyone is done celebrating, it's time to map out a strategy for ensuring the website can actually solve the business goals it was created for going forward. We're not just talking about the immediate future here, but years down the line as online marketing requires consistent effort to see consistent results.
- At the end of every project, we sit down with our clients and help them build out a management and marketing strategy to ensure their website can help them achieve their business reasons for doing the project in the first place. While we offer management & marketing services, we do not pressure our clients into those offerings but instead, listen and provide the best recommendations we can based on their needs.
- This includes website hosting, updates (plugins, 3rd party software, etc.) website scans (to catch functionality/SEO issues, and security checks
Digital Marketing Strategy
- This is pretty open-ended, but we are able to help our clients drive traffic & generate leads with SEO & Paid Traffic (Facebook/Instagram, Google, or LinkedIn) ads.
- Either way, we sit down with our clients at the end of a project and advise them on the best marketing strategy going forward for them. If both parties want to continue working together, then we will begin developing a strategy for an ongoing digital marketing engagement.