PDQ Library:  8 Steps to a Website

There are many steps to plan, create and promote a Website. This page describes the process if you hire a web design service, or create a website yourself. Yet another alternative is an onine website builder -- you choose a template, create web page using your images (or theirs) and your business information content. You save the cost of a custom design. (But buy your own domain name which can point to the website.) Do a web search for "What is the best website builder?". Many of the steps below still apply.

Step 1: Planning  

You should review your business plan and your goals for a Website. This is the most important step, and requires spending some time and thought.

The website content will likely change over time, but you should spend some time planning what it should contain at the beginning. Text from previous brochures and marketing advertising may be used, but will probably need to be modified for the Internet (we can do this).  

You may want to have price lists, order forms, catalogs, staff photos, historical information, distributors, suppliers, links to other information or related services. Consider including information that would reduce the time that staff now spends answering telephone questions.  Start with basics:

  • Information about your organization (history, staff, suppliers, clients)
  • Mission statement
  • List of services or products (details, photos, prices)
  • How to contact you (address, email, phone, fax)
  • How to locate your business (driving instructions)

Step 2: Fill out a Client Information Form

Provide some basic information about your business from postal address to service area.

Step 3: Consultation Meeting

We will meet (in person or on the phone) to discuss your plans and how a Website can help your business. Before our first meeting you should consider these questions.

  1. Do you have a domain name and Website hosting services?
  2. How do you promote your business now?
  3. What forms of communication do you use with customers, suppliers, etc.?
  4. Who is your target audience(s) for a Website?
  5. What is your target geographical area?
  6. What can you contribute to create the site? (i.e. photos, logos, documents, brochures, graphics)
  7. What are your preferences for colours or styles? (bookmarks are helpful)
  8. Do you want links to external information or businesses?
  9. What is your target date for completion?
  10. Will you need update services after the site is published?

Step 4: Work Order

Once we have determined what services you want, we prepare a list of what the Website job will include with an estimate of cost. Someone responsible for your organization signs a work order, provides a deposit, and delivers all materials and files you want used. Some jobs require a contract in addition to a work order. If you wish to change anything in the work order, the cost of the job may increase.

Step 5: We Create a Design

We start by creating a sample page using any preferences and information from our meeting. We choose the best structure, layout and navigation method unless you specify otherwise. If you don't like the design, we change it or try something else.

Step 6: We Implement the Design

The rest of the Website is completed using the sample design. Documents are converted to Web pages, graphics are created or modified, all images are sized and optimized for speed, relevant scripts are written, and forms are created.

There is a fair amount of testing at this stage. Our Websites will display correctly on different Web browsers, display sizes and resolution settings. All pages will be optimized to load quickly. We follow Web design accessibility and coding standards so that people can use your site even if they are blind or using a hand-held device. We also make your Website search-friendly - so that any future web marketing will result in "being found"!

Finally, we publish the site and it appears on the Web for all to see!

Step 7: Our Web Marketing

Once your new Website is visible to people, we need to attract visitors to it. There are various methods we may use, depending on the site.  We usually submit your site to a standard list of popular search engines and Web directories. It can take 4 months for your site to be found in search engines, but the sites we design are designed for top placement.

Step 8: Your Marketing

Be sure to get new business cards with your new Website and email address. You should also add it to all letterhead, invoices, brochures, and advertising.

This all may seem a bit overwhelming, but you can always phone or email to ask questions.  It's a complicated process, but shouldn't take longer than 2 weeks once all the material has been assembled. The result will be worth it!

After all, your next customer is on the Web, looking for you right now.

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