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Great websites don’t happen by accident, they require thorough planning and research, as well as a carefully considered structural foundation.

When you partner with a web design agency like Wilkes Wood, your experience depends as much on the journey as a whole as it does on the final delivered product. 

It’s all very well getting a good website at the end of it, but if you’ve hated your experience along the way, you’re not going to leave satisfied (and neither are we!)

The good news is that a tried and tested web design process not only provides the best experience possible for you throughout the build, but it also enables us to create the very best website for your business or project.

In this blog post, we’ll be breaking down the different stages of our website development process to help you understand what your journey will look like when working with us to develop your new website.

Web Design Process Overview.

Here are the 6 stages in our overall process:

  1. Discovery Phase
  2. Planning Phase
  3. Design Phase
  4. Development Phase
  5. Launch & Handover
  6. Post-Launch

These phases take you from the beginning of a project right through to launch and handover, as well as ongoing support and maintenance. 

Regardless of whether we’re building you a single-page brochure site or a complex multi-page website, this process will guide the entire process and ensure you’re able to be as hands-on as you’d like to be throughout the build.

Phase 1 – Discovery

Discovery is all about fact-finding. We want to understand exactly where you are now, where you’d like to be, and how we can best fit into that picture to help you get there.

Discovery starts as soon as you reach out to us, and usually takes the form of an introductory meeting, either on Zoom or in person.

This is a chance to discuss the budget and deadlines, and to get a preliminary idea of the scale, complexity, and purpose of the project. 

Some clients come to us with these things very much clear in their heads, but that’s not an expectation at this stage. We can help take your ideas and objectives and figure out exactly what we could make with you to achieve them.

Although these discussions may vary from project to project, this phase of the web design process is about discovering the real purpose of your website, who you are targeting, and what the competitive landscape looks like.

That means we can start from a place of unity and understanding, and ensure that we’re best placed to deliver value.

Phase 2 – Planning & Project Agreements

The planning phase is where we take all of the information we’ve acquired during discovery and make something more tangible. 

By the end of this stage, you will know exactly what we are going to build, what we’d need from you to build it, and how the process will work throughout.

Typically, this phase starts with us working on a low-fidelity wireframe together. This is a great way to bring clarity to the process and start to turn ideas into reality. 

By working on a wireframe, we can establish the foundation of your website and see how site pages, functionality, and the content will link between and interact with one another.

After this is complete, we’ll know exactly what information will be presented, giving us an efficient way to establish what content will need to be curated or produced for the build to begin.

Once the meeting has ended, we will go away and make sure the wireframe is refined and accurate. We will then send over a meeting follow-up email to go over anything we’ve discussed during the meeting.

Phase 3 – Design & Content

Once your project is live, we can turn our attention toward the look and feel of your website. If you have a pre-existing visual identity, we will ensure we operate within established guidelines to create consistency across your brand.

If you do not have a brand identity, we will work with you to create the assets you need, such as logos or graphic elements, as well as colour palettes, font selection, icons and more.

Depending on the complexity of the project at hand, we will create full website mock-ups to clarify our design before developing the site itself. 

For simpler projects, the design and development process can be combined, saving time and enabling you to get a hands-on look at your site as it’s being built.

By looking at the wireframe from the previous phase and creating folders that correspond to page titles, we make the content curation stage an intuitive and easy process.

We help gather existing content you might have and also support you in the creation of anything new that may be required.

It’s also an opportunity for us to bring content in line with the best SEO practices, guided by our SEO guru Tom.

By the end of this stage we will have access to all content and copy required to start the build your site with, helping to greatly expedite later phases and ensuring we are building with a clear understanding of site content.

You will also have a complete understanding of the design of your website and have a clear idea of what the final delivered product will look like.

Phase 4 – Development

Prior to this stage, everything we work on is related to planning, research or content preparation. This phase is where all of this hard work comes together into something tangible and we can execute on our plan.

You may be under the impression that we go away on our own, disappear, then re-emerge with a website and say “Done!”.

That couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re here to help you and your business, and you’re the person who understands those things the most. That’s why we have developed our process to be as collaborative as you want.

We work on a feedback basis, so there are consistent touchpoints where you have opportunity to guide our work – our job is not only to build the site itself, but ensure you’re kept in the loop and feel that your feedback is listened to, acted upon, and valued.

This is, after all, your website!

From a technical perspective, this is where we will pay close attention to the “invisible” parts of your website, ensuring your site is fully optimised for search engines and users alike. 

This is often where corners are cut, so we pride ourselves on making sure things are done correctly and our quality control throughout the process is obsessively maintained.

Once we have worked through the feedback process and you feel that the website is done, we will then go through and do our final checks. These cover everything from internal links to spelling mistakes, and once they’re done we’re ready for the next phase…

Phase 5 – Launch

Congratulations, you’ve got a new website! Your website is now ready to launch, which we can do immediately or hold for a specific launch date, event or campaign. 

The work doesn’t stop there – we’re on hand to ensure the launch goes smoothly, double-checking the site is working correctly and setting up monitoring systems to ensure we’re notified should it go down for any reason. 

This is also the time for us to show you how to use your website. We do this through a video call, which is recorded so you can refer back to it should you need to in the future. 

During this call, we will introduce you to the back end of the site, ensure you and your team can log in and access what you need to access, and demonstrate how to operate your site – text tweaks, image swapping, blog posting, page creation, and admin controls are all covered!

We will also take the opportunity to schedule in a future call, between 1 and 3 months ahead, for us to go over site performance and see if there are any improvements we can make based on real life data.

Phase 6 – Post-Launch & Aftercare

During the build process, we will have spoken to you about aftercare and discussed what options would be most suitable for your needs.

We offer a selection of ongoing support packages designed for a range of businesses – each of these provides different levels of retained support for maintenance, performance review, and content creation so you can be sure that we’re helping you as you continue to grow.

This ensures that we are keeping track of your site’s performance and providing you with real-world feedback on how visitors are using your site, finding your site, and what potential improvements could be introduced to add value to your site.

You also have access to a range of SEO specific packages should you want to invest in bringing highly qualified organic traffic to your site.

Our ambition with every client, no matter their size or ambition, is to be long-term partners of growth. We want you to see us as an extension of your team, and nothing makes us happier than supporting businesses like yours in achieving their goals.

If you want an obligation-free chat to see if we can help you and your business grow, get in touch today.

Our ambition with every client, no matter their size or ambition, is to be long-term partners of growth. We want you to see us as an extension of your team, and nothing makes us happier than supporting businesses like yours in achieving their goals.

If you want an obligation-free chat to see if we can help you and your business grow, get in touch today.

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