Solidifying our web process as a growing business has been a work in process. With each contract we sign, and project we work on, we figure out new and innovative ways to speed things up and provide professional results to our clients. Accepting that our process will always be an ever-improving project has saved us tons of headache. So what does our web process look like today, and how does it look for our clients?
The Initial Client Meeting
This meeting is where we get as much information about our client and their customers as possible. Having a solid understanding of not only who our clients are, but who their customers are is the backbone of moving forward with a plan that will leave everyone happy. It helps shed light on what our clients want and aids us in suggesting solutions that provide them with exactly what they need. Sometimes this starts as a client wanting a website but walking away with not only a new website but also branding and video.
The Website Homework/Checklist
You heard it right HOMEWORK, ugh, but hear us out. The website homework is a follow-up to our initial meeting. It helps note, in writing, specific details about their business, their customers, and their competition that aids our graphic design team in providing our clients with mock-ups and wireframes that boost them above the rest in their industry. It helps give our team a solid understanding of their design aesthetic and the target audience of their website. The website checklist, helps us get the basic background information to move forward with a website, it includes the boring stuff like login information, domains, etc.
The Content Gathering
I’m not going to lie. Gathering content is one of the most difficult parts of the website process. When a business comes to us to build a website, more often than not, they also want to replace most of the content/copy on their website. To help with this process, our team combines all the content from their current website into a Google Doc separated by page. We then suggest new navigation and re-order the content that they previously had into the new page layout. Once we have done this, we share it with the client and allow them access to edit and re-word the content that we have consolidated. During this process, many of our clients realize that this is a large project, and will ask us to help them. We have content-writers here at Michigan Creative who are all-stars at working with clients to help shape their content in a way that makes a large impact on their customers.
Now the fun part beings! We send the homework, checklist, content and notes to our creative team and they use all these notes to help design a customized mock-up of our client’s website which includes all their branding and is tailored specifically for their business. Depending on the project and complexity, the mock-up could include only their homepage and one inner page. Another option is it could include several pages of their website. Once it is all finished, we schedule a meeting with the client, where we present the mock-up and explain the interactive elements, and how the website will flow and function. After this time, we allow the clients some time to think about the mock-up and come back to us a week or so later with updates and changes that they would like to see.
The Dev Site
We are almost finished now! Now that we have finished all the preparation and design work, we are ready to build the website and allow the clients to test it out. We take the mock-ups and wireframes designed by our web team and integrate them into a WordPress installation. Customizing a theme to fit the wireframes, and building out the pages to include all the content, images, and other media that was gathered in the earlier stages. We also test each page for mobile functionality, to make sure that your visitors are always getting the best experience of your brand, regardless of what device they use to view your website. We build these sites to be both beautiful and easy for our clients to update in the future. Once we are all finished, we send the link to the development site to our clients, and give them some time to look it over, test it out, and come back to us a week or so later with updates and changes they would like to see.
Once we have anything approved and all additional changes made, we are ready to make the website live. Typically, we like to do this late at night, so that we are not interrupting any activity on their website, and provide us with ample time to test it out before people start using it. Once the website is live, we like to pay close attention to the website and monitor the traffic to ensure that we didn’t miss any bugs or errors.
This process is what we have found works for us at Michigan Creative after eight years of building websites for our clients. By no means is this process perfect, and we are always looking for ways to improve and speed this process up. Who knows, maybe by the time this is posted we will have changed something else.
What is your process? We are always open to suggestions and improvements. Want to learn more? Reach out, and we can explain this in more detail. Maybe you are looking for a new website? I hope this helps give you an idea of what our process looks like and what to expect when working with Michigan Creative.