After 5+ years of building my website design business, I’ve learned that the process and client experience can be just as important as the end result. I’ve refined, streamlined, and polished my website design process to what it is today and wanted to walk you through each step.
But before we dive in, here are a few notes from my past clients about their experience going through my process:
“Katie’s process is flawless and perfectly executed. She made the entire process of such a huge project simple and streamlined. As a busy business owner, this was like a dream come true.” —Jessica
“This process made a very detailed project enjoyable.” —Amy
“I really liked how organized Katie was. She listened to my needs, kept me on track in a timely way, and guided me through the process. I felt supported.” —Ingrid
“Katie clearly knows how to walk her clients through this process in a way that you always feel confident she knows what she’s doing.” —Sally
“Her process was well thought-through and foolproof to deliver the exact website I was dreaming of.” —Evelyn
Heard enough? Let’s dive in.
Here is a behind-the-scenes look at my entire brand and website design process from start to finish.
While every website is completely custom to my client, each project includes a few staples, including:
- Strategy Session
- 5-Part Brand Assignment + Prep Work Guide
- One-on-One Design Time
- Wordmark Logo Design
- Custom Selected Color Palette and Font Pairings
- Custom Website Design
- WordPress Development
- Simple-to-use Page Builder
- Speedy 30-Day Process
- Basic SEO + Google Analytics Integration
- Personal Website Training
Additional add-on services are available as needed but the above is typically what’s included for each and every website project.
Now let’s walk through each phase of my typical website design process from onboarding to launch and beyond!
After a prospective client reaches out via my inquiry form, we set up a 30-minute introductory call to go over their business, answer any questions they might have and make sure we’d be a good fit for one another.
If we both feel it’s a good fit, after this call I’ll send out a detailed proposal outlining their project scope including their reserved start and launch dates.
Once they submit the proposal, sign the agreement and submit their deposit, I begin the onboarding process.
As soon as the client commits, I block their spot on my design schedule. Then I begin the onboarding process on the backend. I activate their Client Portal in Dubsado and then add my 5-Part Brand Assignment forms so they can begin working on their prep work right away. I send a quick email inviting them to their Client Portal with directions on what happens next.
Next, I get their project set up in Asana, my project management system. Using Asana ensures everyone stays organized, on the same page, and always on schedule. I set the project schedule and timeline in Asana with their start and launch date. Then I invite the client to their project inside of Asana.
Strategy Session & Client Prep Work
Soon after getting them onboarded, the client will schedule their strategy session. During this call, we’ll get clear on the goals of their website, map out the pages on the website and discuss any questions they might have on their Brand Assignment work.
Their prep work is due one week prior to their start date. This includes submitting their finalized website copy and images. This is also when they’ll gather their brand inspiration and share details on the overall vibe they’re seeking for their new website.
Once submitted, I thoroughly review their responses and ask clarifying questions as needed to make sure I really nail their design.
30-Day Design Process Begins
On their assigned start date I send a quick note letting them know I’m diving in and what to expect when. This is all laid out in Asana but I like to add extra checkpoints throughout so they always know what’s happening when.
Homepage Design and Wordmark Logo Design
Prior to diving into the homepage design, I sketch out logo ideas and brainstorm colors and fonts. Then once the direction is clear on those I’ll begin working on the homepage design.
Rather than building the entire website at once, I start with the homepage to make sure we’re headed in the right direction.
An effective homepage with a great design is paramount to the success of a website. When the design is nailed for this page, the rest of the site seems to effortlessly fall in place.
After I design the homepage, I build (develop) it out within a staging site on WordPress and prepare to share it with the client.
Rather than getting piecemealed design elements wondering how they’ll play together, they see the big picture from the getgo.
This is followed by two rounds of refinements allowing us to really nail the homepage and logo design before moving on to the rest of the pages on their website.
Using the established homepage design as a starting point, I begin designing the rest of the pages on their website, always keeping their website and business goals in mind.
Next up is two additional rounds of refinements granting the client ample space to provide their feedback on the overall design.
After the client approves the design, I prepare for their launch day. On their launch day they’re my top priority. I begin migrating the approved staging site to their live domain and test everything thoroughly.
Once live, I link their website up to Google Analytics, Google Search Console and optimize with any keywords provided to enhance their SEO.
Afterwhich, I record a personal website training video walking them through how to complete simple tasks such as swapping in new photos or tweaking their website copy. It’s super important to me that my clients feel comfortable and confident using and updating their new website.
I’ll send them details on how to access their training video, log into their new website and download all the design files for them to use freely.
Every client also receives 14-days of support for any last-minute questions that might pop up as they dive into their new website. Then they’re invited to sign up for a Website Care Plan if they’d like me to handle their website care and maintenance moving forward.
The website and brand design is usually just the beginning of a strong working relationship with my clients. I work with many clients on an ongoing basis whether that be supporting them with their website needs via a care plan or through one-off Design Days for smaller one-time design projects.
If you’d like to chat about a new website for your business, click here to get in touch.