My Process for Putting Together a Successful Website

Every web developer has their own tricks and methods for handling web design projects.  My way may not be the best way, but it generates the results that myself and my clients are looking for.  After every project I look back and see what I could have done differently to improve or speed up the process.

Below is a list of steps that I take for every project I do.


The Meeting

One of the most important parts of a successful project is learning about the client and their competition.  In order to successfully represent their abilities it is necessary that I understand the market that they are working in.  This can be particularly challenging, so the initial meeting is where I begin my research.  I ask questions about the technical aspects that they would like to include in their website, as well as what types of content will need to be generated.

Programming

Once I have an idea of what goes into the project, I begin to break down the programming requirements.  Unlike many web designers, I like to do the programming before the actual design work.  This allows me to ensure that the site will function and perform the way that it is intended to.  By using placeholder images and written content, I build the framework of the site.  When I understand the programming that is necessary for the site, I can build the design work around the site’s functionality.

Wireframe and Design

When the programming is complete and I am confident that the site will function the way the client wants it to, I then begin working on the visual aspect of the project.  Before adding any design to the website, I get into Photoshop and begin building the layout of the website.  This allows me to arrange and align everything down to the very last pixel.  Depending on the specifications of the project, I will either use stock photography or custom graphics to enhance the overall look of the site.

Once I have a layout that I am satisfied with, I submit it to the client.  This is done by email or through the Client Section at brettandersondesigns.com.  I continue to work in Photoshop until the client is satisfied with the design.  Once I have approval on the layout, I begin chopping the pieces of the website up to be exported into individual images and used for the final product.

Styling

Next I take the artwork that was created in the design section and begin including it in my code.  I take the individual pieces and set them into the program that I wrote in the very beginning of the project.  I copy the image that I used in Photoshop exactly, placing each piece exactly where I want it.  Thanks to tools such as Pixel Perfect and Firebug for Firefox, I can make the site look identical to the custom Photoshop template.

Post-Production

Once the site is completely built, the client is given the opportunity to approve everything before going live.  If any marketing is necessary, it is done by this time.  If a launch date is necessary and has not been established yet, we go ahead and do that once the project is complete.  If usability testing is necessary, we will handle this now as well, before actually launching the site.

After putting the site online and linking it to the client’s domain, I continue to monitor the feedback of the site.  I always ask the client to keep an open line of communication and let me know what kind of response they are getting on the product.  If there is any concern, I continue to work on it until the client and their users are completely satisfied with the final product.

Other Stuff

During this entire process, I go out of my way to make sure that my websites are written in valid XHTML.  All sites have clean, well written CSS, JavaScript, and PHP.  I do this so they become as Search Engine friendly as possible.  This makes Search Engine Optimization easier once the site is online.  Most websites take time before appearing in popular search engines, and I continue to monitor all of my projects to make sure that they appear in search results.

The above steps are things that must take place in every web design project, but may not necessarily take place in that order.  Every project is unique, and I will do whatever is necessary to meet the client’s needs.  If you have questions about my process, please leave me a comment, or contact me through the Contact portion of this website.




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2 Responses to “My Process for Putting Together a Successful Website”



  1. Hello Brett, nice post. how do you handle domain names and hosting for your clients? do you purchase the names and hosting for the client or do you leave that up to them.



  2. Good question! Most of the time I purchase the domains for my client, and then set them up with a hosting account. I have done a few projects where clients already have a domain name and hosting account, and in those situations I just that.


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