My Web Design/Web Development Process

I have spent years developing and refining a general web design process that will ensure success and profitability for your website and your business. I have outlined this process below for your benefit.

PLEASE NOTE: This process is not a "hard and fast" process. The web design and web development process is different for each website and company, and I will modify the steps within this process to suit your needs as appropriate. I have noted some of the more common adjustments to this process below as well.

Initial Web Design Concept and Planning

A No-Obligation Custom Quote

This is always the first step in my web design and web development process. I will either meet with you or discuss your specific needs via telephone or email in order to provide you with a detailed, customized quote based on your specific needs along with any additional information you may require (e.g. recommendations for payment processing services for an e-commerce site).

The web design quote that I will provide you is modular in nature; items within the quote can easily be added, deleted or modified as further details become available and further exploration of your specific web design process is undertaken. You won't just see a final price with no justification or explanation; you'll see a breakdown of all costs associated with your website.

You will also see unique elements within the quote that are tailored to your business, in order to set your site and company apart from others in its field and maximize profit potential. Your business is unique, and your company website should be as well. The web design quote I provide you will reflect this.

Depending on the nature of your website and business, I may also provide a rough initial web design layout concept to better explain my vision for your website and to ensure that you and I are on the same page.

Initial Meeting and Consultation

I will either meet with you at your location or arrange for a telephone or email consultation at your convenience for up to one hour at no charge to discuss your website needs. Should additional time be necessary in order to provide you with a more accurate initial web design quote, I will also provide said time at no additional charge. The initial meeting will often occur during the process of gathering information required to provide a no-obligation web design quote, and as such can sometimes be considered a part of the process.

Contract

When you are satisfied with your web design quote, I will then convert the quote into a contract. I will provide a timeline for project completion, as well as a list of any initial items that may be required from you at this stage (e.g. your company logo, any documentation you may have prepared for the site). Since quality web design and development is a collaborative process, there are certain items that you will naturally be better able to prepare than I will be (e.g. company bios).

The timeline, like my web design process, is also flexible and I am willing to adjust it throughout in order to accommodate your day-to-day business operations.

As soon as the contract is agreed upon and the initial deposit is made (to be deducted from your first month's invoice), web design work will commence.

Initial Layout

Before I develop your website, I will create a layout for your approval. If I have already created a rough layout concept above, I will modify the concept based on any discussions we have had pertaining to the concept as well as any other ideas I may have for it. I also ensure that your layout is coded to web standards and checked using multiple web browsers to ensure maximum compatibility.

I will never provide you with a layout based on web design templates. You will only receive a layout that I have created from scratch by myself. This will ensure that your website will reflect your business and only your business.

Layout Conversion to Exterior Layout File Set

When you are satisfied with your layout, I will take your layout and convert it to a set of exterior layout files. This is done to separate layout from content and ensure that quick, easy, accurate and inexpensive changes can be made to the layout with a minimum of website disruption.

During this process, I will implement initial framework for some of the more common elements of web design and search engine optimization to your website, such as title, heading and meta tags. These tags will be filled in later on, based on content.

The Web Development Process

Once we have established the look and feel of your website, we can then work on the content and other developmental aspects of your website.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Content/Website Development

Content and web development is a misunderstood and underrated web design aspect, yet it is also the primary aspect a web designer and developer should focus on. A site without unique, properly structured content and/or that doesn't function as intended will not perform to its fullest potential, regardless of how attractive the site is or how many flashy gimmicks it has to attract and distract the user.

By extension, the opposite holds true. Google is one of the most popular and useful sites in the world, yet is also one of the "simplest and plainest" from a design point of view. For the most part, Google only uses one graphic (its logo) throughout its site, yet millions of users find the search engine a useful resource. Google does exactly what users expect it to do, and has gained a large following of loyal users as a result (myself among them).

I will always adhere to the rule of "functionality first" when developing your site. It will be a useful resource first and foremost.

The Role of SEO in Content/Website Development

One of the most important aspects of content development in turn is search engine optimization (or SEO). Most web designers and developers will often work the elements of search engine optimization in at the conclusion of website development. On the other hand, I work said elements in throughout the entire content/website development process. This saves both time and money, as it is often more difficult to deal with issues such as copywriting and site structure afterward than it is to introduce these elements during the development process and ensure that they're taken care of in the beginning.

Many of these design aspects are covered in Google's Webmaster Guidelines. Webmaster Guidelines were established as a standard for both web designers and website owners to strive for when developing and creating websites. I encourage you to read it and inform yourself as to what you have the right to expect when your site is built.

The Ongoing Creative Process

At the development stage, I will work on the various aspects of your website as determined in the contract stage. However, this does not mean that I will stop thinking creatively and analytically about your website and how to maximize user benefit (and by extension, profitability). I will often think of things that I can add to the site that will improve upon the functionality of the site at this stage, and will bring those to your attention whenever I believe there is a reason to do so.

Since I make it a point to understand your business as much as I can before I work on your website, I also deliver certain free intangibles to the equation to improve company efficiency that don't directly impact the website. For example, some of my clients have supplied me with PDF forms and want me to create their web counterparts. In some cases, there are fields of information that a client won't use, which renders the form more complicated than is necessary and therefore leads to fewer completed responses. I will point those fields out and remove them from the final web counterpart form.

When I work on your website, you will receive the full benefit of my intellectual process at all times.

Initial Website Promotion

If we have agreed to a promotional package as part of the overall design package, I will begin promoting your site in various places, both topical and general, to get the initial word out about your website and business.

My Search Engine Submission Policy

Most companies promise that they will submit your site to a number of search engines for a fee; at the very least, these companies promise that they will submit your site to Google, Yahoo!, and MSN. Some of these companies even charge a monthly fee for ongoing submissions.

I, on the other hand, will not submit your site to a search engine for the purposes of getting it indexed. The reason is quite simple: submitting to a search engine for indexing purposes is unnecessary.

Inclusion in Google's search results is free and easy; you don't even need to submit your site to Google. Google is a fully automated search engine that uses software known as "spiders" to crawl the web on a regular basis and find sites to add to our index. In fact, the vast majority of sites listed in our results aren't manually submitted for inclusion, but found and added automatically when our spiders crawl the web.

Most search engines operate in a similar fashion to Google; they visit various web pages regularly and "crawl" or visit the links on those web pages in turn. If a page on Site A links to a page on your website in a manner that a search engine spider can easily interpret and the page on Site A is indexed afterward, the search engine "spiders" will traverse the link from the page on Site A to the page on your site, and in turn all of the appropriate pages within your website as well. All that is required is the initial link.

I will not charge you for unnecessary "search engine submission" services. I may submit your content to services such as Google Local Business Center, but these services are supplementary and specialized services that require submission and do not impact the web search index itself. You will be advised in advance if and when I intend to submit to such services.

Ongoing Maintenance and Further Development

Depending on your business and how often you update your content, you may elect to have me update said content for you or elect to do it yourself. Most of my clients tend to fit somewhere in the middle; I update some things myself, and they update some things themselves. However, this is entirely up to you and I will be happy to provide you with a solution for content updating that works for you and your business.

I can also add functionality to your website or make layout adjustments as required. All of my clients have requested additional features for their sites, and I always build sites in such a way as to make future development as easy and inexpensive as possible.

Maintenance may also include ongoing promotion of your site, and we can work out an ongoing promotional package to ensure maximum exposure for your website as well.

Let's Start the Process

In order to start the process of providing you with a website that works for your company, contact me and I would be more than happy to give you a no-obligation quote!