A sitemap is a list of pages that will appear on the website. If the client is planning to combine or add new pages, this is established at the start of the project. In many cases, we may suggest combining pages in certain instances for streamlining the experience. We also will examine which pages bring in the most organic traffic and conversions and plan to bring those pages forward with improved content and natural integration into the website.
A wireframe is a simple black and white layout of website elements and serves as the general blueprint of the design. This outline is the best way to get everyone on the same page before starting the actual design and makes sure all of the required elements are accounted for and organized. Depending on the project we may or may not create wireframes for subpage templates based on how the home page process goes.
Using the approved wireframe, we will then create a design mockup with a look and feel based on the existing logo or brand guide with actual photos and content where possible. We review this design with the client to gather feedback on the look and feel of colors, fonts, spacing, etc.
Website Coding & Development
Once the home page design is approved our team can move forward with coding and developing the website. The design process continues to establish wireframes and design mockups of any additional pages that require special attention. Our developers use a content management system (CMS) called WordPress.
The development process is what turns a picture of the website into a working responsive website that expands and contracts to the size of any particular screen from small phones to large desktop monitors.
Development also makes the website editable later through a login that the client can access. We will ask which areas will be updated most often and make customizations to the CMS to make these areas easier to update.
We usually bring over the existing content from the website but we encourage clients to copy that content into Word documents to make changes and updates. We take any new content provided and enter it into the new website design.
In many cases writing content is a difficult task for clients. They are often too close to their subject matter to describe it well to their customer base. Our writers often will interview clients to create content on their behalf. In many cases just getting the first draft on paper is enough to break the ice and get content flowing.
We work to format all content so that it reads professionally, is optimized for search engines, and also avoids long blocks of text that will cause readers to skip over it.
Testing & Launch
A check is done to find any broken links on the website. The website will be tested in Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, iPhone, iPad, Android, Internet Explorer versions 9 and 10, and Microsoft Edge on Windows 10. All contact forms are tested to ensure proper delivery. Basically, we check everything that has been a problem in past projects to make sure it doesn’t happen again and your website looks great on all devices.
We also optimize the load speed of the website to make sure that it loads quickly on slower internet connections. Websites that load quickly are preferred by users and search engines.
Enjoy Your New Custom Website
This post is a simplified version of the full process. In general, most website projects take 2-6 months to complete and involve many more steps than above. Taking the time to plan and test properly when building a site means that your business will be proud of the result for the next 5 years or more.
It may seem silly to think of something digital to break down like a piece of equipment but design trends change as well as the devices that people view them from. A well-designed website will feel newer for longer as cheaper templates are almost never as good and get old fast. They often require more maintenance too.
Contact us for a website design quote for your next project!