These are the stages and services involved in full service web design.
The following is an overview of the process of building a website from soup to nuts.
Meetings and Project Phase Planning
The first step of the web design project is the project planning and discovery phase. This may be a single meeting with the key decision makers, owners, and marketers or it can be a series of meetings (or conference calls) in which the pre-design details are all hammered out.
This initial discovery meeting should define or touch on:
- The goals for the website, possibly including measurable performance benchmarks
- The technical constraints and requirements
- Branding and design direction, possibly including creation of a design brief
- Ongoing management the website will need and who will perform (for example, adding new products or updating news feed)
Taking the discovery meeting notes in hand, the next step is to plan out the skeleton (structure) for the website. Often this is a simple flow chart or Excel document that will list out the pages the site will contain, which should be crafted with purpose. Some website design projects require a lot of storytelling – charities for example – while others can suffice with a single “about us” paragraph on the homepage.
The building blocks of the site are decided upon and optionally put into a strategy brief, of which all further work will be based on.
Content Planning and On-Page SEO
Before the design brief can be handed to the website design team, the site’s content and keywords should be minimally planned out. What will be on the homepage? Should users be encouraged to call a phone number or does the client prefer they fill out an email form? What types of things does the designer need include in their mock up?
This is also a good time to choose content keywords for the website’s search engine optimization. An SEO brief – even a short one – is another good tool to create early so that everthing else stays on message.
All of the client’s existing branding will be considered, including marketing materials and digital assets. Is there a design brief or logo style guide? Does the company already have a color pallette and a typography style guide? A website may deviate from the design of printed collateral, but again the designers will want to see them so that the message is cohesive.
If the company does not have any current branding, this is a good time to create some of those components. Even a simple typographical logo would be beneficial.