Websites are where your entire business is housed online. Let’s compare it to an actual house – or anything brick and mortar.
You aren’t going to start by putting the roof on the house. You start with the planning, the blueprints, and working with professionals on the architecture. Then you dig and pour in the foundation. Layer by layer the house gets built.
It seems like it’s about the halfway point in a house building project when people get kind of stressed (according to my limited perspective on house building as brought to you by the show Grand Designs). It looks nothing like the original vision and things are in shambles.
What keeps the homeowners from giving up and going to the next contractor?
What stops them is they know that house must be built from the ground up, and the end result will be realized in time, as long as they continue to follow the steps.
Websites are the same. I really learned this deeply in my first year in the business of websites which was 2014/2015. I didn’t have a structure to my service, and projects were kind of messy. I slowly realized that things needed to be done in order if the project was to go smoothly.
By showing the clients the steps, and holding their hand as I walked them through, I was able to bring them to the end product stress-free so they could see their vision completely realized.
I highly recommend you follow the same steps that I take when creating your own website…in order. Picture it like you’re building your dream home, except you’re doing it online.
Enough gibber gabber, let’s get to it. What exactly are the 5 steps?
Step 1: Planning
You must create a solid plan first. Take stock of where you are right now and where you want to go. Then plan everything that will go into the website so that it can take you where you want to go.
Step 2: Copywriting
Putting copywriting as the second step is the secret to my success with clients. You must craft your entire message and what will be said on all the pages before you move on. Your copywriting will set the tone for your branding. On the other hand your branding and design should not influence your copywriting.
Step 3: Branding & Design
I put these steps together but really they are two separate steps. When I say branding, understand that I understand that the entire process from planning-design-content strategy (which is not part of this list) all falls under branding. For simplicities sake, I talk about this step as finding your personal and unique aesthetic. In this step, you’ll discover your personal aesthetic and then translate that into colours, fonts, logos and then designs of web pages.
Personally I like to separate design and development. It’s much much easier to design a website (I use photoshop, but you can use pen and paper if you like) knowing where your images and words will all be laid out, then to head straight into development. The latter usually creates a messy end product, lots of back and forth, a messy backend of a website, and tech headaches.
Step 4: Development
Now that you have the design you can get that website on the web. Install WordPress on your web host, choose a theme that works for you and take the design mockups you created and get them developed onto the actual internet.
You should also set up some website systems for security, speed optimization, backups, etc.
Step 5: Tech Support
You must maintain your website. I highly recommend creating regular content, and if you’re doing that you’ll be on your website a lot and you’ll be able to create backups and update the software.
If you aren’t on your website often, you need to make sure you go in at least once a month and create a full backup, test all your links, buttons and forms, and update any software. If you can’t do it then hire someone to do it for you. I’ve had clients neglect their sites (when they didn’t follow my advice or hire me to help) and had certain parts of their websites break unexpectedly resulting in lost profits.
Take responsibility for this! Website thingies break all the time (software updates and stuff cause it) to pretty much anyone with a website.
Each one of these steps presented is what I call an umbrella step. They are more like the five leaps you need to take to create your website, or the five categories of steps to take.
It isn’t easy to create a website, but it’s simple – it all comes down to taking step by step actions.