Whether you’re a professional designer or a business owner looking to DIY, starting the website design process can be daunting. Who knew a blank canvas and a blinking cursor could be so intimidating? Through the years as a professional branding and website designer, through a lot of trial and error, I’ve created an established and effective process to help my clients go from chaotic and confused to calm and confident. Whatever your business’s client process is, having a clear and intentional process will no doubt save you from wasting time, mind space, and a bottle of Advil.
My first step is to jump on a discovery call with the prospective client. It’s always SUCH a joy! There’s nothing better than seeing someone come alive when they talk about something they love and are excited about. On the discovery call, I’ll ask various questions to gauge if I think we would be a good fit for each other. Each designer is unique and places emphasis on different aspects of the project. The more you get to know yourself as a business owner, you’ll be able to define and differentiate what makes a great client. For example, I know that I’m a planner and thrive on a schedule. On my client discovery calls, I emphasize the importance of our schedule, give a rough idea of how much time this project may require of them, and what happens if we veer off schedule.
Other things we chat about include business goals, why they feel they need a new website, style preferences, preferred timeline, whether they’ve worked with a designer before, and the project process.
After our call, if the client is a good fit, I’ll send them a proposal for the scope of work along with a detailed calendar and invoice schedule. If the client isn’t a great fit, we’ll part ways, providing them with a list of other designers that may be able to help. Once the client accepts their proposal, we start the prep work.
As we start prepping to begin the web design process, I provide my clients with a client portal (I use Dubsado) where we can gather all the information we need for the project. First and foremost, a questionnaire is provided to gather information about the client, their business, and their goals, as well as technical details such as any accounts I may need access to (Showit, Google Analytics, Domain access, etc.). We’ll also start a collaborative Pinterest Board to start gathering visual inspiration – after all, a picture’s worth a thousand words!
Then the client starts gathering the 3 main pieces of content for their website: Branding, Copy, and Photography. Branding and Copywriting are services we provide at Katie & Co, so oftentimes, we take care of those pieces for the client. But whether done in-house or by another provider, we’ll gather all the content into a shared Google Drive to access throughout the website design process.
On our start date, we’ll jump on a call with the client to discuss any last questions we may have, elaborate and clarify the inspiration found on their Pinterest Board, and get pumped for the exciting project ahead!
Over the next few weeks, the Katie & Co. team gets busy working building and designing the website. We go through multiple rounds of revisions within the company to be sure that the strategy, design, and layout are all at their best. Before we’re ready to show it to the client, we do a thorough tech and animation check.
After we’ve completed the website, I’ll jump on a call with the client and present the full website to them. It’s nerve-wracking and exhilarating all at the same time. We take a first look at the design together and are able to make any quick changes they’d like to make. From there, the client is given a preview link to go through the website in depth at their own pace. After our call, there is a one-week time period where the client can request revisions. Unlimited revisions are given within that time period, with most revisions completed in less than 24 hours of the request. After that week period, our team completes another in-depth tech check before finalizing the website.
After we’ve completed all revisions and done our tech check, we’ll jump on one last call with our client – the Wrap-Up call. This last call is where we’ll wrap up any loose ends, such as connecting the domain, planning their official launch, or answering any final questions they may have. We also walk them through their Goodbye Packet, which includes a review of the project, website maintenance video tutorials, and pricing for any work they may need help with in the future. But ultimately, this call allows us to gather feedback and express our gratitude face-to-face for their trust and their business.
At the end of the day, the Katie & Co. website design process is all about creating beautiful and functional websites that help our clients gain more money, more clients, and more time doing what they love. This process has been designed and molded to fit our company values and workflow. With this process in mind, I encourage you to consider what points of the process might fit your business, what you might add, and what you might change. Remember: in the end, the best process is one that is clearly and intentionally defined.
Wishing you the best of luck and ALL the success!
Katie & Co. is the ultimate design firm to help you turn your talent into a brand and website that connects and sells. Katie is a Showit Design Partner
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