Building a website of any kind can feel intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before or you’re already overwhelmed by the projects on your plate.
So whether you’re looking for help designing a new website or considering a website redesign, we have a process that works.
When looking for help, it’s much easier to trust someone who has a plan and has worked it over and over again.
So, that’s what we’re going to do in this article. This 3-Step Website Plan is the same process we’ve used for clients in executive coaching, manufacturing, e-commerce, cannabis, consumer packaged goods, and more.
If you’re in one of those industries, that’s great! But even if you’re not, this plan will work for you. With Define, Design, and Development, we’ll work together to build a website that has your customers hooked.
Step 1: Website Definition
All website projects start with a free 30-minute Consult Call where we’ll gain an understanding of what you’re hoping to create. We’ll ask questions like…
- Why do you need a new website?
- What do you need your website to do for your business?
- How did your last website perform? What worked/didn’t work?
- Which platforms are you using and do you like them?
During this call, we’ll also be able to recommend a design package that fits your goals. Once you decide on a package, we’ll start with a Website Workshop.
The beginning deliverables in the design package are intended to help define what we’re going to create. Here are some of the deliverables you can expect:
- Website Workshop
- User Flow Chart
- Website Audit
Once we understand your business and user goals, we can start to develop a plan for your project. We’ll also look at your existing website, if you have one, and see what’s working and what needs improvement.
The final step in the definition process ends with wireframes. These are like the blueprints to your website and help us finalize each page’s content, user flow, and functionality.
Step 2: Website Design
What is a website design? Website design isn’t just mocking up a pretty version of your brand, it’s designing a framework (a home, if you will) for your business to engage with your customers and achieve your business goals.
Whether you’re looking for a fresh, new look for your website or want to redesign an existing site, the process begins with understanding what makes a great design.
A great website design is:
- Visually appealing and on-brand
- Well organized and easy to navigate
- Engaging with compelling content
- Designed for your target audience
- Optimized for search engines
- Responsive, so it looks good on all devices
Creating a website design that meets all of these criteria can seem daunting, but it’s important to remember that your website is a key part of your business and should reflect your brand and meet your business goals.
The Structure Website Design Package you choose will determine what you receive from the process. However, some of the deliverables you can expect:
- Website Style Board
- Desktop Designs
- Mobile Designs
- Tablet Designs
- Content & Media
- Functional Specification
If you’re not sure where to start, our team of website design experts can help. We’ll work with you to understand your goals, target audience, and what you need from your website, then we’ll create a custom website design that’s just right for you.
Step 3: Website Development
Upon your review, our development team will begin building your website on a development site so your live website isn’t affected.
We’ll optimize your website for all devices, conversion, SEO, accessibility, and load speed as standard practice. Then, you’ll get to try to break your website. Good luck! However, if you can, we’ll implement a fix so it can’t be broken again.
When ready, we’ll launch your website and push it live onto your domain for customers to use and love.
In the end, you’ll have a new website to delight every visitor. Your website will be easy to manage and set up to work for your business.
Lastly, all websites must be updated and optimized, especially after being redesigned. After all, how do you know your redesign made the website experience better for your users and not worse?
We’re not fans of locking you into a hosting plan you don’t know why you’re paying for. That’s not our style, and, to be honest, they’re typically a rip-off.
We want to hand off your website to your team with training and support to ensure it’s working and meeting your business goals.
However, some clients don’t have a team to hand their website off to, so we continue working with an active website maintenance retainer. Think of it as a partnership for growth; through ongoing strategy, conversion optimization, design, and development.
We’re here for whatever you need, as long as you need it.
Website Design Process Common Questions
How much does a website cost?
There’s no easy answer to this question. However, you can expect to spend at least $5,000 when you hire an agency to make your website. For Structure, this is the minimum website project fee that we offer. The average cost of a website we make is more near the $10,000 range.
However, whether you’re wanting a new website site or redesign, there are a few one-time and ongoing cost factors to consider:
- Hiring an expert ($5,000 to $400,000)
- Software fees ($30 to $300/month)
- Hosting fees ($5 to $2,500/month)
The best way to find out is to create a Website RFP and take it to a few experts to see what they have to say.
How do we know you’re the right fit for us?
The best way to know is to start. We offer a free discovery call (what we covered in step one of this article) where we’ll get to know each other and share how we can help.
As a rule of thumb, we typically don’t do small website builds for bloggers on Squarespace. We work with funded companies who are looking to make significant growth in the next few years.
Do you use WordPress?
We build the majority of custom websites on WordPress using advanced custom fields so that it's easy for our clients to make content adjustments on their own. It's a time-honored CMS that just works. That being said, different companies have different needs. That's why we've also built on custom websites on Webflow, Squarespace, Shopify, and CraftCMS. We'll weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each for your custom website design and development project.
What types of clients do we take on?
We work with organizations of all sizes—from solo founders and small startups to established mid-size companies. You can see our work with Warrick (an ambitious one-man consultancy), Supportist (a powerful Bend startup), and BlackRock Coffee Bar (a national coffee chain).
What if our project is highly technical or complex?
First of all, we thrive in challenging environments. However, if it’s outside of our expertise, we have a trusted network of partners that we work with to deliver a great product.
Do you work with existing marketing, technology, or design teams?
Building digital products is a team sport. On many of our projects, we work beside internal and external teams within the organization. In fact, this is our preference.
Will I be able to make changes or updates to our website myself?
Absolutely. Whether we’re building a website in WordPress, Shopify, or another platform, we make sure it’s easy to update on your own. Nobody likes paying a developer just to update copy, so we try to help you avoid that if all possible.
What if my website has a lot going on and is a mess?
The truth is, most people don’t hire us when they have it all figured out. So if your website has a lot going on or feels like a mess, you’re in good company.
Not to mention, your website is probably not as bad as you think. We’ll dive deep and figure it out together.
If by chance we run into anything that’s too complicated for our team or needs additional resources or support, we have a trusted network of partners that we work with to deliver a great product.
Can you build a website for us using Elementor?
Yes, we do build in Elementor. As with any website builder, there are benefits and drawbacks to consider, especially if you're a growing company. The best way to determine if Elementor is right for you is by scheduling a discovery session with our team and we'll make sure you have a good plan.
What if I want to switch e-commerce platforms?
Not a problem at all. We’ve worked with clients to help them switch from Shopify to WooCommerce and vise versa. We’ve also helped clients switch from Squarespace to WordPress.
E-commerce replatforming, especially during a redesign, is a very common task to undertake. It's also a great time to do it!