The web design process from start to finish can be full of surprises. But whether you’re a seasoned marketing professional or a brand new business owner—a website project or update is likely in your future. You simply can’t build a website and expect it to perform and deliver for years to come, you need to keep it up-to-date with the latest best practices.
An effective website has the power to expedite the sales cycle, reach new target audiences and build your brand awareness. So if you’re planning to work with an agency like 10x digital to design (or redesign) your website, here’s what you can expect.
1. Goal Setting
Every web design project should start with an alignment on the core goals and mission. Think of your new/updated website like you would any member of your internal team. You need to onboard them and ensure they’re ready for success. For example, when setting the foundation, we’ll ask clients questions such as:
- What are the goals your site needs to achieve?
- What are the benchmarks that we can use to measure success?
- What role will it play in your sales cycle or marketing mix?
- What kind of content do you need to host?
- What capabilities are essential to have?
By establishing the answers to these questions early on, we can easily tie all initiatives, designs and new ideas back to a common goal.
2. Design and Brand Parameters
Your website needs to become a cohesive part of your brand. This means that the colors, logos, style and tone should match what you’re already sharing with your audience. In some cases, a website can be a great opportunity to start a rebrand—but that doesn’t mean you’ll start from scratch. Creativity is nothing without constraints, and sharing your preferences and needs from a brand perspective will successfully guide the project.
We’re all familiar with Pinterest, right? The popular social network is often used to create mood boards of ideas to inspire a final project. While web designers may not use Pinterest itself, it’s normal to expect a period of inspiration-gathering and idea-generating.
For instance, when working with 10x, we’ll ask you to send us examples of sites you like and don’t. We’ll also find competitor benchmarks to dissect so we can assess useful elements to use on your site.
In addition, when you’re in the early stages of a project, it’s pretty low-risk to explore different avenues and pivot your way of thinking. This is why it’s crucial to have a strong ideation phase to explore all the possibilities early on.
This phase is one of the most important, but it doesn’t always seem glamorous. You can think of wireframes as the skeleton of your website. Using a series of boxes and lines, often gray and black, web designers will “outline” the structure of your site.
Don’t plan on fancy typography or photography here. Instead, focus on your website’s page layouts and the overall user experience (UX). Wireframes require imagination, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask for clarification if you need it.
Next, the website goes into the design phase. This is where your brand colors, photography and copy all come to life on the page. It’s pretty common to have feedback after this phase.
However, thanks to the wireframes, you won’t need to worry about critiquing the overall layout of your website but rather the core visual design. Keep in mind, these designs have to work in an online environment and not just a PDF. Compromises may be required in order to successfully translate what you’re seeing to a live website. (There are also many other factors at play like SEO, UX and overall functionality).
In the development phase, you’ll enter into a few weeks of waiting. While that might not sound fun, this is when it really counts to get it right. Both front and back-end developers take the designs you’ve approved and begin translating them to a usable website. The process of building functionalities and perfecting layouts can take time, so prepare yourself to practice a little patience. Developers will likely send you a “beta” or “test” version of the website to review. This test website will then be used for the “Quality Assurance” (QA) phase.
The QA phase is where the website is reviewed for any technical bugs or issues that prevent it from working properly. This phase is different from a user testing phase because it’s performed by a QA tester who can simulate how the final website should work. It’s completely normal for a beta website to have a few bugs, so don’t feel stressed if there are elements that aren’t operating at 100 percent yet. This is also when you can review all the copy/content on your website and ensure that you’re free of errors.
Right before launch, there’s usually a pre-launch checklist that you’ll follow to make sure you’re ready to go. This can include anything from checking all the website links to adding in your SEO content. While this is your last stop before launch, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to make adjustments later. In fact, websites are meant to be adapted over time. As you gather more data on your website’s performance, you’ll be able to make changes and improvements.
8. Post-Launch Evaluation
Now that you’ve made it to the end of your website project, it’s time to put the website to work! Based on statistics from Hubspot, 47 percent of consumers engage with three to five pieces of content before connecting with a sales representative. That means your website needs to be full of different content pathways to engage your target audience and get them to your end goal.
Jump Start the Web Design Process!
If you’re not sure where to get started or want to learn more about the web design process, the team at 10x digital is ready to help you build the pathway to a new website and a better digital brand.