Journey Through My Signature Website Design Process, Step-by-Step

Category:

At the heart of every successful website project is a streamlined and efficient website design process. Sure, the deliverables are important, but they should always be coupled with an exceptional client experience. That’s why, since opening my website design business in 2016, I’ve been dedicated to refining every aspect of this journey – from the initial inquiry to launch and continued support. Over the years, I’ve learned that the process is just as important as the result.

By focusing on delivering an outstanding experience, every client feels heard, valued, and supported throughout the entire process. From setting clear expectations and timelines to providing regular updates and opportunities for feedback, my website design process is designed to ensure that every aspect of the design journey is smooth and stress-free.

Contemplating a new website project? Walk through my website design process below to get a feel for the experience:

I. Discovery & Project Prep

The Discovery & Project Prep phase is crucial as it sets the foundation for the entire website design project. This is the stage where we establish clear goals, understand your business needs, and lay down the groundwork to ensure a seamless website design process. Investing time and effort in this phase ensures that the final deliverable aligns perfectly with your vision and objectives. Here’s what to expect:

  • Clarity and Direction: You’ll gain a clear understanding of the project scope, timelines, and deliverables.
  • Targeted Strategy: We’ll identify and focus on the key aspects of your business to ensure your website meets your specific needs and goals.
  • Collaborative Planning: This phase fosters a collaborative environment where your input is highly valued, ensuring that the final product truly reflects your brand.

Project Planning & Kick-off Call

Every project begins with a Project Planning & Kick-off Call. During this call, we will:

  • Review Asana, the project management system used to organize the project.
  • Discuss the project timeline and your availability.
  • Go over the client prep work and discuss what’s next.
  • Review the Website Outline and suggested website pages.
  • Answer any pending questions.

This call sets the stage for a smooth and organized project, ensuring that we’re all on the same page from the very beginning.

sample asana template for website design process

Sitemap & SEO Outline

After the kick-off call, I’ll solidify the website’s pages and sitemap and identify the key SEO phrases to target. If you have an existing site, I’ll analyze your top-ranking keywords to ensure we build on those strengths. Additionally, I’ll research and identify new keyphrases to expand your reach. I will compile all this information into a spreadsheet and share it with you for collaboration.

II. Client Prep Work

The project start date marks the beginning of the design work on your website. To ensure everything is in place, all prep work is due one week before this date. Client prep work is broken down into the following tasks:

Brand Questionnaire

In this questionnaire, you’ll share key details about your business, brand, target audience, website goals, and more. Gathering this information is vital for creating a website that truly represents your brand and speaks to your target audience. You’ll also create a Pinterest board for inspiration and link to it on this form, helping to capture your desired aesthetic and vibe.

Upload Website Content (Photos and Copy)

Your website content includes professional photos and completed website copy. You’ll upload these to a shared Google folder. High-quality photos and well-crafted copy are essential for creating a visually appealing and engaging website.

Share Account Access

You’ll grant me access to the necessary tech accounts needed to build and launch your website. I’ll also suggest tried and true software integrations such as online schedulers, hosting companies, and more to make your life easier, increase efficiency, and ensure everything runs effortlessly.

Project Add-on Forms (if applicable)

If you select any Project Add-on Services during checkout, you will need to provide additional information. A few common ones are:

  • Business Cards: I’ll need the information you want to include on your new business cards.
  • Email Marketing Software: I’ll need details to set up your new email marketing software.
  • Lead Magnet PDF: I’ll need the copy and any photography you’d like to use.

No matter which add-on services you choose, you’ll be gently guided through the information-sharing process to make it as simple as possible for you.

Schedule Website Strategy Session

Last but not least, you’ll schedule a Website Strategy Session once all your prep work has been completed. This session is scheduled around the week of your project start date. During this session, we will:

  • Solidify the goals of your project.
  • Outline your website pages.
  • Discuss search engine optimization (SEO).
  • Review your prep work and address any remaining questions.

III. Website Design & Development

The Website Design & Development phase is where your vision starts to take shape and come to life. This phase is crucial as it transforms your ideas and goals into a tangible, functional, and visually appealing website. By focusing on both aesthetics and functionality, this phase ensures your website not only looks great but also performs seamlessly, providing an optimal user experience and achieving your business objectives. Here’s what to expect:

Website Strategy Session

First, this session is vital for setting a clear direction for your website. We’ll finalize the website outline and sitemap, discuss whether to retain any existing content from your current website, and finalize the SEO strategy to enhance your site’s visibility. We’ll also review your Pinterest board for design inspiration, discuss the brand questionnaire insights, and review your photography and website copy. Additionally, we’ll go over project timelines and upcoming deliverable dates to ensure we’re aligned and ready to move forward.

Homepage Mockup Revealed

Next, within two weeks of the strategy session, you’ll receive the homepage mockup. If your project scope includes branding and/or website copy, these elements will be showcased in the mockup. A video review will accompany the mockup, walking you through the design choices and providing insights into the strategic decisions behind each element. This ensures you have a clear understanding of the design direction and the rationale behind each aspect of your website’s homepage.

website design process homepage mockup adobexd

Client Feedback & Refinements

This phase includes up to two rounds of refinements. You’ll provide your feedback on the interactive mockup, and I’ll make the necessary changes. This collaborative process ensures your input is valued and incorporated, leading to a design that meets your expectations. Once you’re happy with the design direction, we’ll move on to the next phase. This iterative process helps to fine-tune the design, making sure every detail aligns with your vision.

Staging Site Revealed

Within two weeks of your approval from the previous phase, you’ll receive a link to review the staging site. This site will feature the fully developed homepage along with all other pages, ensuring mobile responsiveness and full alignment with your expectations. The staging site allows you to see how your website will look and function in a live environment, providing an opportunity to make any final adjustments before launch.

Client Feedback & Refinements

Similar to the previous phase, up to two rounds of refinements are included. You’ll provide feedback on the staging site, and I’ll make the necessary adjustments. This phase is critical for ensuring that all elements of the website meet your standards. Once refinements are complete, you’ll give your final approval for launch. This ensures that any last-minute changes or tweaks are addressed, leading to a polished final product.

Launch Day

Scheduled on a convenient day for you, we’ll take your website live on your domain. All technical aspects and testing will be handled, allowing you to relax and enjoy the unveiling of your new online presence. On launch day, I will ensure that everything is functioning smoothly, from the website’s performance to its SEO readiness. This day is dedicated to making sure your new website is ready to make a great impression on your visitors.

By the end of this phase, you’ll have a beautifully designed, fully functional website that aligns with your brand and meets your business goals. This structured approach not only brings your digital vision to life but also ensures a smooth and stress-free process from start to finish. This comprehensive website design process guarantees a website that not only looks fantastic but also delivers a great user experience, helping you achieve your business objectives effectively.

IV. Support & Ongoing Care

Lastly, the Support & Ongoing Care phase is vital for ensuring that your website continues to perform optimally and remains up-to-date after its launch. This phase is all about providing you with the tools, knowledge, and support needed to maintain your website effectively. It ensures you are not left on your own after the launch and have continuous access to expert help and resources. Here’s what to expect:

Website Owner’s Manual & How-To Video Tutorials

You’ll receive a comprehensive Website Owner’s Manual complete with customized how-to articles and video tutorials introducing you to your new site and teaching you how to use it. This manual is designed to be straightforward and user-friendly, guiding you through the process of maintaining your website and making simple edits and updates. With these resources, you’ll feel confident in managing your website, ensuring it continues to meet your business needs and goals for years to come.

Wrap-up Zoom Call

You’ll also have the opportunity to schedule a final Zoom call for any last-minute questions or support. This call is your chance to get additional guidance and ensure you’re fully comfortable with your new website. It’s a great opportunity to address any lingering questions and receive personalized support tailored to your specific needs.

14-Day Support Window

You’ll receive two weeks of email support for any questions or issues that arise after the launch. This period allows you to get accustomed to your new website with the reassurance that help is readily available. After this initial support window, you can sign up for a website care plan to cover ongoing maintenance needs. Additionally, you have the option to reach out anytime for extra support with my flexible hourly support service, ensuring you always have access to assistance when you need it.

This last phase ensures that you are never left in the dark and always have the support you need to keep your website running smoothly. Whether it’s through comprehensive manuals, personalized Zoom calls, or ongoing email support, my goal is to make sure you feel confident and supported in managing your new website.

Website Design Process Conclusion

My approach to website design goes beyond delivering a stunning final product. It’s about creating a seamless and enjoyable experience for you, from the initial inquiry to ongoing support after launch. By focusing on clear communication, collaborative planning, and continuous support, I ensure that every client feels heard, valued, and confident throughout the entire process.

If you’re ready to embark on a new website project, I’d love to work together to create a website that not only meets your business goals but also attracts the right audience and supports your growth for years to come.

About Katie O'Brien

About Katie O'Brien

As a seasoned brand and website designer, Katie O'Brien brings simplicity to business growth and peace of mind to daily life. She specializes in clean and simple websites, working closely with interior designers to elevate their digital presence with poise and personality.

Explore Related Articles:

How I Use Asana to Collaborate with my Brand + Website Design Clients

How I Use Asana to Manage My Website Design Projects

laptop mockup of bschool member area

Looking Back: My Personal Review of Marie Forleo’s B-School

Hiring-a-Web-Designer-FAQs-for-Everything-You-Want-to-Know-Featured

Hiring a Web Designer? FAQs for Everything You Want to Know