Having a structured web design & website development process is worth its weight in gold.
Phase One: Discovery
This phase is all about discovery and an introduction of sorts. A meet and greet, but done over the phone. To begin with there is a coordinated mutually agreed upon one to two hour phone consultation. During this consultation we will discuss a high level overview of what you are looking for in regards to your business website.
We will discuss client goals, industry landscape (business niche), pain points and client aspirations. This is the phase where clients decide whether or not to hire Webprem. After this phase, but before proceeding any further, Webprem requires a non-refundable retainer & retainer agreement, signed by the client, in order to start the next phase.
We found our clients love our retainer agreement. We discovered this process relaxes our clients because the more they know, the more safe & comfortable they feel.
Phase Two: Planning
This is the most important part of any website development project. The phase is all about figuring out what type of information your website design or redesign needs to communicate to your website visitors. First question of many is: what actions do you want your website visitor to take when they land on your home page?
This is the phase where decisions are made concerning how many web pages you will want on your website as well as thinking about your website navigation. It is important visitors to your website are easily able to find what they are looking for or else they will leave and go elsewhere. We call that intuitive navigation.
Webprem utilizes an easy to use, easy to understand tool to collaborate together to figure out the different web pages and different sections that makes sense on each of the different web pages.
This may seem obvious, but having an understanding of the length of your text content for a particular web page heavily impacts the web design for that page. For example, how much written content used on an About page really impacts the layout for that web page. We can show you different examples of “About” pages that are low on words, but rely on creative imagery as well as “About” pages that have so much content it makes sense to split that type of information into multiple web pages.
Part of the planning is deciding whether or not a blog structure should be part of the overall website design. Blogs are extremely important for bringing in additional targeted SEO and will showcase your knowledge and expertise. Google rewards websites that contain blogs with improved SEO ranking especially since the content, on websites containing blogs, do not stay static. But… you need to be realistic about whether or not you or a representative on your behalf will write blogs. Many businesses have intentions to write blogs, but get caught up in the day to day business of running their company and writing blogs is put off.
Understanding the target audience when creating a website is important from the very beginning. A website targeting people interested in home improvements will look much different that one meant for a financial institution. Colors, including those in your logo and in your images, the font style and weight all play an important role. Identifying and researching other businesses within your business niche is often quite helpful. Webprem recommends you research your business niche within a different state so that you do not give any SEO juice to your local competition.
Phase Three: Design
Each website we create is unique and created just for that client. For the past 4+ years WordPress websites, created by Webprem, are created using Divi by Elegant Themes. Divi is extremely popular. Statistics on how many websites use Divi can be found at the BuiltWith website. Divi is a framework that gives Webprem the power to create amazing designs with endless possibilities.
We recommend looking at our at our Faqs page, especially with regards to what is called the “Hero Image”, as well as our description of “Full Page Web Design”. Reviewing the different service pages listed at the bottom of this web page, as well as the drop down menu under “Services” found within the main navigation, will give you a heads up on some of the design concepts we will be reviewing together.
A common problem plaguing web design projects, as well as almost any IT project, is scope creep. The client sets out with one goal in mind, but this gradually expands, evolves, or changes altogether during the web design and website development process. Depending on the website structure scope creep isn’t necessarily a problem, but can often lead to additional work. It is important to realize that if the increased expectations aren’t matched by an increase in budget or timeline, the project can become hard to manage.
A second problem is when a client has trouble providing content (both words and images) for the project. We have found the best solution for this is to to show clients multiple ways of displaying a particular type of information. Sometimes clients (and us too) find it hard to visualize what something will look like until you see an example. It is sometimes easiest to pick apart a visual example.
Phase Four: Development
This is where the rubber meets the road. Especially with regards to WordPress, it is worth noting that what is displayed to the end user is quite different than what the code looks like behind the scenes. WordPress, in particular, is written using PHP utilizing a MySQL database to dynamically create the content displayed on the website. Depending on the size of the device used to view the website, what is displayed on a mobile device looks different than viewing the website on a laptop. There are all sorts of skills needed to make your website look good on some many different device sizes. What is called “Responsive Web Design” uses a combination of HTML and CSS to resize and move the content around on a web page in order to make it look good on any screen and device size.
How your website is coded and the quality of the code makes a difference. Skill level matters when it comes to coding and structure. If the code is messy, it will eventually break and be difficult to manage. Messy code is difficult and time consuming to debug (fix the problems).
Experience matters. There are so many different ways to code the same thing, but understanding and keeping on top of the technology behind the code is important. Webprem has that experience and understands and utilizes best practices when it comes to coding.
Phase Five: Testing & Delivery
Most often the development will occur on our development server using a different domain (url) then what will be used when the website is live. This version of the website is hidden from view unless you have a user name and password in order to sign into the back end of the website to view and test. Testing includes viewing the website from multiple browsers like Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. It also includes using tools to mimic viewing the website from difference sizes and devices.
It is important to understand that technology and the browsers used to support that technology go through changes over time. Once a website is delivered and published for public view, it is always a good idea to check your own website from time to time to ensure technology modifications have not impacted how the information on your website is displayed.
Once your website is delivered, you can continually run user testing on new content and features, monitor analytics, and refine your messaging.
Phase Six: Maintenance
Many times clients are unaware that websites, like cars, require maintenance. Like a car, without the correct maintenance your website can break down, become sluggish, or contain security vulnerabilities that could allow your website to be hacked.
It is extremely important that your website is hosted by a trusted hosting provider. Because security is a top priority, most of Webprems’ clients choose to host their website with Webprem. Our web server(s) are hosted using the latest technology and hosted using SSD drives for faster response times.
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