This article is designed to give potential clients a better understanding of the design and development process for creating your custom WordPress website.

Although the developer will lead this process, it is very much one that requires mutual cooperation and input.  We genuinely want every client to come to the end of the process with a site that truly reflects their business and their brand.  To do that we need to understand the heart of your business and we need to receive your feedback at key points.  The process will look a little different with each client, but in general you should expect to see the following 4 stages of the design process.

Discovery

The first stage is where we really dig into the details of your business.  This is the stage that requires the greatest amount of time commitment from you as the client, but it is by FAR the most important!  Nobody knows your business like you do.  No one is more passionate about your work.  And we want you to share that knowledge and passion with us, so that we can reflect it in your website.  We want to hear about your overall marketing plan, your biggest challenges, and your vision for the future.  We especially want you to describe the ideal client that you would like to attract with your website.  Tell us about your products and services, and about any key staff that need to be highlighted on the website.  We will also need to flesh out the workflow for what happens to contact forms once your customer has submitted a request through your site.

During this time we also need to get copies of any important logos or branding materials.  We may need you to provide specific photos that you want included.  (A note about logos and photos – in order to be used on your site, they must be submitted in a high quality resolution and in a format that we are able to work with.  We will discuss this as well!)  We will also find out if there are any specific colors or design styles that want integrated into your site.  As a part of our design packages, we include assistance in generating written content at your direction, however, there may be certain areas where you will want or need to provide your own written content.  When including photos of yourself, your staff, or your facility having professional high quality photos is absolutely essential!  (Nothing screams “unprofessional” like having a photo you took with your cell phone as your cover photo!)  If you are local, we will usually include the services of a professional photographer in your package when feasible.  To kick off this stage, we will usually request you to fill out a detailed online form to lay out essential information.  After the initial consultation, we will follow-up as necessary during the rest of the process.

Concept

Once we have the information we need from you to get started, we will design and build a certain portion of your site and then request your feedback on the design.  Exactly what areas we build first and how much work we complete during this phase will vary based on the nature of the product.  The gist is that we will build enough of your design for you to get a feel for it and make sure that we’re on the right track.  We will use your feedback to continue the build and also make any requested changes.

A side note about change requests…  As natural problem solvers, we will go out of our way to make you happy and to solve technical barriers.  However, there are certain technical limits to every WordPress theme and some modifications may be outside the scope of your project.  Basically, we try to make any changes requested, but those changes have to be within the technical limitations of your theme and the scope of the project that we have agreed upon.  KEY ADVICE:  If you have have any specific “must haves” for your website, please let us know when you request a proposal!

Build

The Build stage is where we finalize the aesthetic touches and complete the development of your WordPress website based on your feedback from the Concept stage.  Even if you do not see or hear from us as much during this period, you can rest assured that we are hard at work!  At the end of the Build period, we will test your site across various browsers and devices to make sure your website is fast and efficient!  As soon as it’s complete, we will ask for your…

Final Approval

The last stage is to present you the finished product and seek your final approval.  At this stage you can either approve the website, or you can request one more round of revisions.  If any revisions are requested, we will get right to work!  Once the revisions have been made, your site is complete and we will send you the final invoice.

 

Summary

We hope this has given you a better understanding of how the design process works from the client’s perspective.  (There is a lot more work that goes on behind the scenes!)  Every website and project is as unique as the entrepreneur driving their business, so you can expect some minor variations.  We will try to give you a general estimate of time to completion before you sign your contract, however, please understand that because this is a partnership between both of us – we are depending on your involvement at certain key points.  For that reason, we generally do not give guaranteed completion dates.  If you have any specific requirements, please let us know when you request a proposal!  We strongly believe in open honest communication, clear expectations, and mutual respect!