The Website Design Process

There are many ways to build a website and different people and agencies will have their own processes in place.

For me, I’ve found over the years that designing and developing websites is best done in phases. This way we’re able to methodically move from one phase to the next and each will continue to build on the work that preceded it. It’s this process that ensures we’re able to work together to complete your project in a timely manner and don’t miss any important details. 

A typical website design project consists of eight phases. 

Phase 1: Your Sitemap

The very first phase will develop your sitemap. This is a simple “map” of your website that we’ll need to plan to ensure the structure allows your visitors to easily navigate and find what they’re looking for. This determines what pages will link where and will help to establish your user flow. 

msd website sitemap
The Sitemap Used to Plan the New MSD Website

Here’s an example of my own website’s sitemap I created when redesigning the site in 2019. My website has grown and more pages have been added since the initial map but starting off with a solid foundation will allow for additional pages to be added and internally linked easily. 

Phase 2: Colors & Typography

A colors and typography document will be created. This document will include the colors that will be used on your new website as well as the fonts to be used. This can be based (or expanded ) upon your current branding-or, we can create a completely custom style sheet if you don’t have any branding already in place. 

MYC colors and typography document sample
Colors & Typography Sample

Phase 3: Initial Design

Once we know what pages will be developed, how they’ll connect to one another, and the aesthetics have been chosen, the development begins. Your home page will be created first along with the header (with navigation) and footer layout. If your written content hasn’t been supplied at this time, placeholder text will be used to help demonstrate the final look. 

Designing the home page first will help nail down the way the rest of your website will look as well. When the home page is complete and approved only then will the interior pages be built. Doing it this way reduces potential issues down the road where we might have otherwise needed to rebuild substantial portions of the site. 

Phase 4: All Content is Collected

If you’ve chosen to write your own copy for your website this is the phase that it will be collected. Building the rest of your website without knowing what the written content will be is difficult since the length of copy determines the layout of each page.

At this point, you’ll need to supply me with the final content for your website. This includes all text, photography, logos, graphics, and/or assets that will need to be included within your website build.

Phase 5: Full Site Development

With all the design elements and content acquired, I’ll finish developing the remainder of the pages found within your sitemap and eCommerce functionality will be added (if eCommerce is part the scope of your project). 

At the end of this stage your website will be nearly completed!

Phase 6: Launch Checklist

Once the full site has been approved, I will put it through a 50+ point checklist to ensure everything is in place for a successful launch. We will also select a day and time to launch your website.

Phase 7: Website Launch

During this phase your domain will be pointed to your newly designed site. This will require access to your domain registrar and DNS information (don’t worry, if that sounds foreign I can help you access this).

Phase 8: Testing and Debugging

Over the course of the next 30 days I will test and debug any issues with your site. This does not include making changes to previous phases, only fixing any unintended errors or omissions on my part.