So you want to create a new website or redesign your existing one. Where do you start? What are the steps involved? Learn about our creative process and what you will need to provide as well as what we offer:
Step 1: Research
- Look at your competition’s websites. Make a list of what you like and don’t like about them. Start to figure out what content you want to include on your own site.
- Please provide some links to websites you like (not necessarily from your competition or even in your city) and want to emulate their design. Let us know what you like about those sites.
- Who is your target audience? How old are they? What gender? What are their interests? Who are you trying to attract?
- Websites can vary widely in terms of price. Having a set budget will help us find a solution that is right for you. We wouldn’t want to quote you on a Lamborghini when you can only afford a Kia. Either way we will design and build you a quality site that will get you from point A to B. But we don’t want to waste anyone’s time with unrealistic quotes. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask for everything you want and shoot for the stars but it does mean that we will be better able to guide you into selecting which of those features are a must have and which can go on a wish list for down the road or better yet we’ll find you a creative solution to get most of what you want in a more affordable manner.
Step 2: Start Assembling the Information
- If you haven’t already, write an outline of your website (like a sitemap) with a list of the different pages/sections that will be on your site. Just the headings are enough along with a one sentence description of what the page will contain as well as any special functionalities or features they may have. This will help us quote you and help you determine what text and photos you will need to write or acquire. You can also hire us to do the copywriting for you.
- At this point we have enough info to give you a realistic quote. Decide if you want a Monthly Web Design Package or an À la carte design. Not sure which is right for you?
- Are you tech savvy and good with software like Microsoft Word and can learn new technology quickly?
- Do you have lots of free time on your hands to devote to the website on a regular basis?
- Are you at ease with creating and managing budgets to identify and control costs?
- Do you have a good eye for design?
- If you answered no to any of the questions above then we highly recommend going with a monthly package. If you answered yes to all of them then À la carte might be the better option for you. Feel free to contact us to help you decide.
- Once you have accepted the quote and paid the deposit and or signed the contract it’s time to start gathering the rest of the content… Start by providing login info to any domains or hosting you may already have or purchase a domain and hosting through us.
- Please provide us with the logo (unless we’re designing your branding of course) in a vector format (.ai, .eps, .psd) or at the very least as a large high resolution image. This will help us determine the colors to use and help us understand what style you’re going for (modern, classic, creative).
- Next we will need all the text for the site. All the words that will go on all the pages. If you’re writing this yourself remember to keep it short. Separate it into sections with clear and interesting headings. Use lists, headings and paragraphs to break up the text. Nobody on the internet wants to read an essay unless they are actually searching for an essay. If you want to hire a professional copywriter let us know and we will be happy to provide one for you.
- “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Photos make the difference between a boring website and a visually appealing one. If you are going to provide pictures of products or people for the website we strongly recommend that you get them professionally taken (we can connect you with a pro if needed) or at the very least take them with a high quality camera in good lighting. Most screens are landscape not portrait so make sure you take the wide version when you shoot the photos since the majority of the images we will use will need to be wider than they are high. Make sure you send us the originals or very high-resolution versions. We also include some stock photos for the site. However, if you don’t like the ones we provide (or can’t find any on the sites we send you to) then you can purchase stock photos for the site but these are not included in the quote.
- Will your site be in more than one language? If so, we highly recommend having it professionally translated. If you plan on using Google translate you might as well not bother translating the site at all. We also recommend waiting until the site is built in one language before getting the translations done. This is because the text often changes from what was written on paper and provided by the client when it’s fitted into the design. Also because there are often lots of words that you forget that need to be translated on the website like the buttons, page titles and descriptions. This will save you time and money having to re-translate or add additional translations or translate words you don’t even end up using. If you need professional translating services we have very experienced translators in French, English, and Spanish.
Step 3: Time to Design
At this point, you have given us a good idea of what you like and who to design for. Give us the freedom to create you the design that suits your needs.
- We will either provide some templates to choose from or will start straight away on the design of the homepage based on what you have told us and our expertise. We will create you a customized template using the content you provided (usually of the home page).
- We will then send it to you and ask for your feedback.
- IMPORTANT: keep in mind this is a first draft. It is normal that there will be aspects of it you don’t like. Do not be discouraged or run away. This is a normal part of the process and it is essential to be communicative so that we can get the design right. Think of the first draft as a tool. It allows us to have a visual representation to work off so that we can communicate to each other your needs and our restraints. We do not need to know if a comma is missing or you want the wording changed. There will be time for that later. For now focus ONLY on the layout and the features that will remain the same on all (or most pages). For example, the menu, the footer, the fonts used for the text and headings, the background, button colors etc.
- Once the template design is approved we will use it to build the rest of the pages of the site. Any changes to the template after it has been approved may be subject to extra charges not included in the initial quote. That is why we give you two rounds of revisions for the template. The revisions must be submitted in two single transmissions and not in a piece-meal fashion.
- Once the site is built we will send it to you for review. Again you have two rounds of revisions to look over the site once it’s completed and submit any mistakes or changes you want made (without adding new features or content or modifying the approved design). The revisions must be submitted in two single transmissions and not in a piece-meal fashion. Any changes made after the 2nd and final revision will be considered updates and will be charged at the hourly rate or subtracted from your included updates if on a monthly package.
- Test, test, test and test again. Before you submit your revisions to us we strongly suggest you test the site. Try the forms and buttons, click on the links, buy a product, read over all the text. We also suggest you look at it on different screens, mobile phones, tablets etc. We offer professional testing where we go through your site with a fine tooth comb and test it on different browsers, platforms screen sizes etc. However, that is not included in our standard quotes. It can be added if requested.
Step 4: Launch it Live
- Once final payment is made and final approval has been given we will put the site live at your domain name.
- We will then do some final tweaking and optimizing.
- If you discover any functional bugs once the site is put live please let us know and we will fix them
- A la Carte: Free of charge if they are submitted within the first 5 days from when the site is launched (if no changes were made by you).
- Monthly Package Subscriber: as long as you are a subscriber maintenance and bug fixes are included in your package.
- We recommend doing a soft-launch. Where you don’t advertise the new site but still let people find it on their own and tell a select few people about it so you can test it fully before you let the world know about it.
Step 5: Promotion
You’re happy with the site you have tested it now it’s time to market it. No point spending all that money on a site no one will see. There are several ways to market the site:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a very important part of your site’s plan to be seen. It is what helps your site show up in the search results in Google. We offer SEO packages starting at $350 per month and some of our Monthly Packages include some SEO.
- Pay Per Click or AdWords campaigns get you seen quickly by putting you at the top of Google search as a paid advertisement. We can create and manage a campaign for you. Contact us for more details.
- Social Media Marketing. You can create posts on Facebook, Instagram or another social network. You can pay for ads. You can leverage your networks on LinkedIn. It all depends on who you are targeting and what creative content you can come up with. Web by Craig offer consultation to help guide you to get the most ROI from your campaigns or we can do it for you. Check out our Social Media Packages.
- Offline marketing can also drive traffic to your website. Business cards, brochures, mailings, signs, TV commercials, Radio, interviews, podcasts can all send people to your site. Let us know if you need any printed materials.
- Newsletters/mailing lists are a great way to connect with your customers and let them know about new products or promotions. We can help you set one up and maintain it.
Step 6: Maintenance
All sites need maintenance. Read our blog post about why you need it and what it entails. If you have a Monthly Package sit back and relax we will take care of all of it for you. If you went À la carte read on:
- You will need to update your site’s software (plugins, theme, WordPress core, PHP version). This may entail buying or renewing licenses.
- You need to protect your site against attacks and being hacked.
- You should update your site regularly so it doesn’t look dated or have incorrect or outdated information.
- You will need to pay for your hosting every month or year.
- Make sure to renew your domain name registration.
How long will the process take? What happens if I cancel the Monthly Package? For answers to these questions and more please visit our Frequently Asked Questions Page.