The Web Design Process — Getting Started
Communication is the key to a successful outcome. If we have not already talked, the first step in your web design project is a free consultation to discuss your ideas.
After the initial consultation, here's how the web design process works:
Proposal and Contract
Based on the decisions made during our preliminary talk, I will prepare a project proposal detailing the site requirements and their estimated costs. Upon acceptance of the proposal, I will send you a contract to be signed and returned to me. I will then sign and return a copy of the contract to you that contains both of our signatures for your records.
- 50% Down Payment
A deposit is required before work on your project begins. Typically, the down payment is 50% of the estimated cost of your project. The down payment includes a $600.00 design fee that covers the initial research necessary for your project through the creation of the final design concept. If the project cost is less than $1200.00, the minimum down payment will be the $600.00 design fee. Once a contract has been signed and I have received the deposit, I will schedule your project and we can get to work. The down payment is non-refundable once I have begun research and/or started working on design concepts.
- 25% Progress Payment
Once you have accepted the final design proof, the next payment for 25% of the estimated design cost will be due. Payment must be received before I start creating and coding the actual website pages.
- Final Payment
Once the website is completed, tested, and approved by you, I will issue an invoice for the final 25% of the total estimated project cost plus any additional costs for work that you requested that was not part of the original quote. Upon receipt of the final payment, your website files will be uploaded to your web hosting server and your site will then be live.
You can pay by check, money order or credit card. I process credit card payments via PayPal. You do not have to have a PayPal account to pay by credit card.
Your input is not only welcome but is necessary. The more I know about your site requirements and design preferences, the more successful I will be in creating a design that is perfect for you.
Site Design — Appearance and Layout
We will determine the look and feel of your site. Things to consider:
- Do you have printed materials (business cards, brochures, etc.) that your website should complement?
- Do you have a logo that should be displayed on your website?
- What colors do you like?
- What tone will your site express? Will it be serious, spa-like, playful, bright, or conservative?
- Where do you want the main navigation menu to appear? At the top or on the left?
Assignment: Look at other websites and provide me with a list of sites that have features, colors and styles that reflect your ideas for your site.
It's not absolutely necessary, but it is helpful if I have content as early in the design phase as possible. At the very least, I will need to know approximately how many pages your site will have and their purpose so I can design the navigation architecture accordingly.
You will provide the text for your site. The text should be ready to publish, already spell-checked and edited for grammar and punctuation. I will only be formatting and coding the content layout, not proofreading it for errors.
Please email content to me in a format that allows me to copy and paste the text into my web editor. Word processing documents (like Microsoft Word) or plain text files sent as email attachments work best. If you fax or mail documents that require that I scan and/or type text manually, an extra charge will be added to your final invoice for time spent scanning, typing and proofreading at my $45.00 per hour design rate.
You may have a logo, photo, or other images that you want displayed on your site. You may want to use stock images to complement your text. If you have ideas but don't already have your images, I can suggest some affordable online graphic and photo resources.
Images can be emailed to me as attachments, or you can put them on a CD and mail them to me.
Optimizing Content for Search Engines
Depending on how reliant you are on getting traffic from search engines, a separate discussion on search engine optimization (SEO) may be in order. SEO is a complex and long-term process, but the basics are fairly simple to put in place. You can implement simple SEO strategies as you create your site content, or we can tackle optimizing your site and tracking traffic as a post-launch project.
Development and Coding
During this stage, I code the actual web pages based on the design you approved using the content you have provided. I will post your website pages on my server for you to review as the site develops.
When all of the pages are completed, we check for errors and make sure everything is functioning properly. You may see a few changes that you would like to make. There is no charge for minor tweaks. However, if you decide that your site needs any significant changes that go beyond the scope of the contract, the design you approved, or the content originally provided by you, there may be additional costs to make these changes.
Launching Your Website
Once you have reviewed the completed site located on my server and approved it to be ready to go live, I will invoice you for the final 25% of your project cost plus any fees for extra work that you requested. Upon receipt of your payment, I will upload your website files to your server and your site will be live!
After the site is live on your server, we will test that all links and interactive features, such as forms, are functioning properly. We can still make any final minor adjustments that might have been missed prior to launch. If you are using email addresses associated with your website domain name, we will make sure you can receive and send email.
Any additional work beyond minor tweaking will now be considered to be post-launch website maintenance. Tracking your site's traffic and enhancing your online presence with additional features and functionality can be addressed at any time. Your website is never finished. It will be evolving as your online needs change.
If you have any questions about creating your website or working with me, please contact me!