Web Designer – Project Timeline
My average project timeline is between 3 to 4 months, a bit more depending on the project. I try to meet to client requests but it is better to set a hard time up front. The one word that comes to mind to describe website design “patience” . My first encounter with web design was in 2009 using Blogger to launch my first fashion blog, Fashionmomblog . My first formal lesson in coding was 5 years ago when studying for a Web Design certification at Emory University in Atlanta. That experience helped to expand my experience working with content management systems for websites. Word Press is my favorite CMS, it’s easy, the websites are beautiful and the are timeless if the right template is chosen.
The Daily Read – There are many reading options online but my favorites to get additional experience and information about websites are, Elegant Themes – WordPress Experts , Creative Bloq, Search Engine Watch or other Web Design related articles. I save some for reading later. I also review my Twitter feed, I follow anything and all things web design and social media so there is always something new to learn. The sun never sets on the digital and web world.
Clients – I need to find and build a client base for Web Design. Prospective clients are very selective about their web designer choices. The financial investment is high (not as high as digital marketing based on some rates ) and the website is representing their brand. I charge a flat fee for my website services. Having a user centered website and a website which functions effectively is important. Getting the right designer who can execute all three is difficult. Personal referrals, previous work and time ( how long have you been in business, 5 years is the starting sweet spot ) count to help build a web designer’s reputation. The only way to become a good web designer is through practice and that means you have to build sites to get experience. Not every client is the right fit, sometimes it works out and sometimes it does not.
The Starting Point – My Web Design day usually begins with a review of my project and a review of client needs for the project. If I am building a site, we have started with an client meeting and interview, 1 or 2 surveys and a mood board (it helps me to build a story and for them to either change that story or build on it). This is the chapter of project where in depth discussions about what the client really expects and want from a website is dissected and discussed in depth. Landing pages, SEO and more. That is just the beginning of a wonderful relationship!
- Where are we going ? – The next steps involve project definition, landing page goals, overall strategy and a second review and analysis of potential competition and threats.
- Base Camp – We develop a site map, discuss SEO integration, domain name, hosting, pricing during this period. This is the foundation of the final result. The client is updated as often as possible throughout the entire process. Content, images and site navigation are also determined during my base camp period.
- The Word Press Themes – Even though we are using Word Press it is always prudent to sketch ideas on paper, test mock ups and wire frames ( I like to sketch it just seems easier for the client). The client will probably go through several theme changes before settling on a final framework. There are thousands of Word Press themes to choose from, There are free themes and paid themes. I think all of the themes are great, they work for any type of business or individual.I have learned over the years, to present a client with 3 choices and move on. Less is more.
- Pricing – There is usually a deposit to get the project underway. Hosting and other costs can be paid by the client or we include it in the final costs.
- Creation – Create Pages, add content, add SEO, add social media ( in some cases I am adding SM pages and content for the client as well ). The client should be reviewing everything throughout the process. Getting content and images from the client often results in project delays which affects the final deadline.
- Testing – If the final look is approved, great, but does it work ? Is it responsive ? How does it look on mobile ? How is site hosting working for the client ? How fast is the site loading ? What about that final layout ? Send a sample to several users for final testing and feedback. This is the most crucial part of the process before going live. The users and their comments. Make all of the changes recommended and then you are ready to go.
The pieces of the puzzle fall into place – Final Stage, testing worked well, the client is ready to get new revenue streams. Every Web Designer will tell you that the design process never goes according to plan and they are 100% correct. The timeline is usually under estimated and the client may not like anything you present. That can also mean the end of the project. You walk away having learned how to do better the next time. You must have a great framework and foundation in place for the design process to be a success. I did not provide many details here but hours are spent making sure that the final result is top notch and everything functions as it should.
Is this what you imagined a web project would be? Any surprises ?
Contact Debra for more information