The Design Process

1The Design Process

Stage 1: Discussion, estimate proposal, signed contract & invoice for 50% of project cost

This is where we talk about what you want your website to look like, and what functions you want it to have. This phase is critical, because it is during our talks that I will be able to get a clear picture of what you really need, and just as importantly, what you don't need.

Then I will use what I have learned from you to create an estimate proposal that outlines the scope of work to be done and the total cost to you. I will usually include the prices of some options that we have discussed but not decided are totally necessary. These things may be added during the website design process and I want you to know their approximate cost up front, should we decide to include them.

At this time, you will review the proposal and contract and either approve it, or suggest changes. When you have approved the estimate proposal and signed the contract, I will expect payment of 50% of the project total cost. Once I have received the signed contract and 50% payment, I will begin work on your website (Stage 2).

Stage 2: Design, Set-Up, Integration

In this stage, we work together to get the appearance - the "look" of your site working just the way you want. I want you to LOVE your site, and I will need your ideas and feedback in order to create exactly the look that you want. This stage may require lots of back-and forth until we come up with something that makes you happy.

Your site will be posted at a temporary web address so that you can go there whenever you want to take a look at how the site is progressing. You should feel free to contact me to discuss what you see and suggest changes. I will implement your changes (or explain to you why want you want many not be a good idea or maybe not even possible). You can then provide more feedback. We will work together in this way until you are satisfied with the basic look of your site.

Much of this design work may be done as we are adding content during Stage 3.

Stage 3: Development

At this stage I will be adding the content you have provided for your website. The first thing I do is to add the content to your website and create a logical way for visitors to navigate your site. After that, I will install and configure any extension items specific to your site and specified in the original agreement (things like blogs, image galleries, additional contact forms, slideshows, etc.)

Stage 4: Deployment/Final approval

At this stage, your website is complete and I will either move it to it's permanent web address or point the domain name to it so that it becomes live. You will do all final navigation/content checking and I will begin working on basic SEO (registering your site with major search engines, submitting site maps, etc.)

When you are satisfied with the website, I will send the final invoice for the remaining 50% plus any additional charges that you have approved. I will continue to work to improve SEO rankings for several months following the completion of the website.
2What's Your Role?
The process of designing and developing your website is not just a project for me - it's a project for you too! Things you need to be prepared to do in a timely manner in order for the process to run smoothly and efficiently are:

  1. Approve each stage in the process
  2. Consider my suggestions - I am making them for a reason!
  3. Respond to emails and telephone calls
  4. Provide:
    • pertinent feedback
    • text for the site - page text, and product descriptions if you have an e-commerce site (I will do some minor editing, but I cannot write it for you)
    • any documents for download from your site ready to upload in .pdf or .doc format
    • images (product images for e-commerce) for your site
    • videos for your site
    • logo or other branding materials
    • log in credentials for your domain or other accounts
    • other things that come up as the process moves along
It can take more time than you think to gather up all the details for your website. A little advance planning and some dedicated effort on your part will make the whole experience much faster and easier.  
3How long will the website design process take?
The length of time it will take to complete your site depends on a combination of factors:

  • How complex your site is.
  • How dedicated you are to providing feedback and information for your site in a timely manner
  • How quickly you approve completed work so that we can move on to the next stage.
While websites can vary greatly in cost, just as cars can vary greatly in cost, there are some basic things that go into every site. The costs outlined below are for a basic 6-10 page website. Your site may be more expensive or less expensive based on your individual needs.

Basic 6-10 page WordPress Website: $1000.00

This cost includes:

  • Custom design of site
  • 6-10 pages of content (contact form is included in this page count)
  • Contact form
  • Development and deployment of site on web host of your choice (I am happy to make suggestions if you wish)
  • Submission to major search engines
  • On-page SEO
  • Linking to your social media sites
  • Website encryption using Let's Encrypt SSL certificates

Items that may be included in your site at additional cost:

  • Photo galleries
  • Slideshows/sliders
  • Calendars
  • Additional pages
  • Additional forms (contact forms or registration forms)
  • E-commerce
  • Blog
  • Custom designed logo
  • Custom designed graphics

Other Frequently Asked Questions

1What is WordPress?
WordPress is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. To function, WordPress has to be installed on a web server.

Features include a plugin architecture and a template system. WordPress was used by more than 41.4% of the top 10 million websites as of May 2021. WordPress is reportedly the most popular website management or blogging system in use on the Web, supporting more than 60 million websites.
Source: Wikipedia
2What is Website Encryption and why do I need it?
HTTPS (HTTP Secure) is an adaptation of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) for secure communication over a computer network.

Historically, HTTPS connections were primarily used for payment transactions on the World Wide Web, e-mail, and for sensitive transactions in corporate information systems. In the late 2000s and early 2010s, HTTPS was increasingly used for protecting page authenticity on all types of websites, securing accounts, and keeping user communications, identity and web browsing private.

If you collect any type of information from your website visitors, you should encrypt your website. For more information, please read this short article.
3What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine's unpaid results—often referred to as "natural", "organic", or "earned" results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a website appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users; these visitors can then be converted into customers.
Source: Wikipedia
For more information, Moz.com has compiled an excellent beginners guide to SEO. If you'd like to understand SEO a bit better, I suggest you read this article.