A few weeks ago I was able to jump on the phone with Flight Media’s lovely Creative Director, Ashley. We spent some time brainstorming and chatting about her process to make some really awesome websites for clients. As a content marketer, I have a great appreciation for designers. But – perhaps more importantly – as an entrepreneur, I have an even greater appreciation for optimized systems. And boy, do these guys have a system in place. I got so much value out of what she shared that I knew you guys would too. Entrepreneurs of all industries and experiences seem to have one experience in common: overwhelm paralysis. You know the feeling. It’s like, there’s so much to do that you can’t really do any of it. But you have to do all of it or things won’t work right. Then – ya know – the end of the world and stuff. (source) I’ve had that when it comes to web development. Heck, I even have it when it comes to content marketing – and that’s all I do for clients! It happens to the best of us, especially early on before we’ve gotten all the team in place. And so, for all the entrepreneurs out there struggling to finish your website, I present you the 5-stage web design process the Flight Media design crew uses to skyrocket some awesome websites.
Stage #1: Discovery
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Chels, discover is great, but this is my website… I know what I want! Do you, though? Do you really? I mean, you might. That’d be great. But until it’s clearly mapped out and written down, you could change your mind 100x (like us entrepreneurs tend to do). The Flight Media discovery process looks like this…
- Onboard Call: Gather information, ask questions, understand goals…
- Sketches: Develop concepts for how pages will look.
- Sitemap: Outline the structure of the website as a whole.
- Client Approval: Get the OK from the client to move forward.
It seems simple, but what’s gathered during this process serves as the foundation for everything else moving forward. Even if you’re just designing a website for yourself, don’t overlook this stage.
Stage #2: Design
The design stage is pretty self-explanatory. It’s where the initial request for content is made. (Trust me, you’ll definitely want to start thinking about words this early in the process) And it’s where you start doing things like… Laying out wireframes… (source) Designing the homepage… (source) And then revising everything until everyone is happy.
Stage #3: Development
Once designs have been created and approved, it’s time to place things into the capable hands of an experienced developer. This is where things really start coming together. The developer runs initial testing and does the programming required to make those designs come to life. With site development underway, it’s only a matter of time now!
Stage #4: Site Testing
With all the pages designed and built, this is where we place the finalized content. And then it’s all about the testing. You see, a design could be beautiful and the developer could be experienced. But things can still get overlooked. You’re too close to the project. It’s time to get some fresh eyes. Call up a friend and do some user experience testing. Or hire someone on the Internet to do it for you. Just make sure it gets done. This testing stage will catch little hiccups you missed along the way. And that will spare you any embarrassing mishaps that would happen after launch.
Stage #5: Launch
This is the most exciting part! It means that long, treacherous journey is coming to an end and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s all just take a big sigh of relief… Launch day is great. And – even better – it’s the signal that you can start creating content, building a sales funnel and bringing in the Benjamins’. Are you struggling to finish the design of your website? Feel free to use this 5-stage web design process guide to finish it up. Or, ya know, just call up Flight Media. I’m sure the design team wouldn’t mind taking it off your plate. 😉