We don’t have to tell you twice: The web design process can get messy. Each project has so many moving parts to it, from interfacing with clients to all that goes into any iterative design.
That makes it all the more important to come equipped to each project with a standard process you trust in that’ll guide you and your client from onboarding to handover.
The payoff is big. For example, settling on when to introduce full content into your sketches, or when to establish guidelines for the feedback process, doesn’t just let you use your time most effectively. It also helps you win the trust of more clients.
However, arriving at the right process can take several cycles of trial and error. So we say: Skip out on the learning curve. That’s why we put this list together for you:
The 7 recommended steps to a more efficient web design process
Read through each section below for valuable tips on how to streamline your workflow.
Create an intake form with the right questions
Craft a persuasive web design proposal
Start designing your client’s website
Finalize your design
Test the website before client handoff
Launch the website
Monitor and maintain the website
I. THE CLIENT ONBOARDING PHASE
01. Create an intake form with the right questions
Before embarking on the web design process, you first need clients. And the way you generate leads - including the information you make available about your services on your website - is how you land your business in front of the eyes of great potential clients.
Forget spending time engaged in discussions with clients whose budgets don’t reach the minimum charge of your services. Or with ones who aren’t exactly sure what they want yet. The new objective is finding those clients who bode good news for your bottom line, and who will know how to make use of your skills and time.
One way to immediately identify these leads is by creating a page on your website that clearly states how much you charge and the range of your services. This allows visitors to self-select, so neither of you are wasting the other’s time.
Placing an intake form on your site can help you evaluate from the get-go whether a client will be a good fit. Some sample questions to pose include:
Contact information: What is your email address and phone number?
What service is needed? (A drop-down menu could work well here)
What industry is your business in?
What business goals are you hoping to accomplish with your website launch or redesign?
What is your timeline?
What is your budget?
What are some examples of websites you like? What stands out to you about them?
Open space to write additional notes
Based on the responses you receive, you can reach out via email to schedule a meeting with the clients who you want to work with. There, you’ll share your proposed roadmap to business success with this potential client. If possible, in-person meetings are ideal, yet phone, video, and email are all suitable alternatives.
02. Craft a persuasive web design proposal
Assemble a web design proposal that wins you a contract:
After your meeting is set, it’s time to write the project proposal that advances your relationship with this client towards a contract. Besides making a notable impression, a thoroughly-researched proposal helps you get in sync with the client from square one and lay out a pathway to a collaborative relationship going forward.
Granted, your original proposition will probably undergo a few drafts after this stage, as your client becomes more precise with their ‘asks,’ or as they match their budget to the reality of what is possible. Entering the meeting with a strong vision is also valuable for proving why you’re the best one for the job.
Remember - you’re not selling a website. You’re selling a solution that aligns with and advances the client’s business goals. To underscore that point, every excellent web design proposal should include these key components:
Demonstrated understanding of the client: Conduct extensive research into their brand. What product or service do they offer? Who are their competitors and how does this product or service differ from others out there? What is the tone of voice and story they are trying to convey? Speaking the language and story of a particular brand will resonate well with that potential client.
Clearly articulated goal: Identify the challenge at hand, and then name the solution that you will provide. This answer should be defined as a measurable, business-oriented outcome. In short: What is the value that you will provide to them? This is arguably the most important stage of the entire web design process, because it will inform every aspect of what you continue on to do, from the way you structure the website to the wording of CTAs. Some examples of possible KPIs (key performance indicators) could be: Increasing landing page conversions by 30% over one year. Doubling eCommerce sales each month. Reducing the average cart abandonment rate by 15% over 6 months. Be specific and confident in your ability to do a fantastic job. Yet still make sur