It’s true, there are many important steps to launching a website. But when working with clients, we find it easier to break down projects into 5 simple steps. These serve as milestones to help clients understand where they stand throughout the website-building process. Our 5 simple steps to launching a website are 1) Sitemap, 2) Wireframe, 3) Web Design, 4) Web Development, and 5) Transfer Ownership / Launch.
When launching a website, it’s important to note that the process usually starts with a phone call to discuss vision, goals, etc. We need to understand the client’s business so that we can take into consideration all things from the beginning. Once we have that information, it’s time to start the process. Below we break down each step and show you how we guide clients from start to finish
Once we have a clear understanding of the business, we start the project off with a sitemap. You can think of this as a skeleton outline of all of the pages for the website. Creating a sitemap not only helps the client think about what they need, it is crucial for agencies to help formulate an estimate. The whole idea is to map out the scope of work so that both parties can be in agreement. Once the sitemap is finalized and pricing is agreed, it’s time to move on to wireframing.
Wireframing involves laying out content and functionality for each web page. This is when a user experience “UX” designer comes into play. The UX designer will need to establish the basic structure of a page before visual design and content is added. The UX designer will do this by taking into consideration the typical user of your website, and their user journey.
3. Web Design
Once the sitemap and wireframes are established, it’s time to start adding some design. Using the structural elements of the wireframe, a web designer will add appearance to your website. For instance, adding colors, fonts, and images that relate to the business. A good web design is easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, and suits the user group and brand of the website. Many webpages are designed with a focus on simplicity, so that no extraneous information and functionality that might distract or confuse users appears.
4. Web Development
After a few rounds of web design, it’s time to develop the website. Essentially, this means bringing to life the design online. If you’re interested in learning more about web development, check out our breakdown at Web Design vs Web Development. At WebWorks LA, we test the development of each website on a private subdomain. That way, the client can review the website online before it goes live on their actual domain. It’s important to note that there are many different ways to develop a website. If you are considering using an agency, or hiring someone to build your website, be sure to ask how they plan to build it. For instance, we like to use WordPress as our primary content management system due to its flexibility and ease of use for clients. Asking this question in the beginning can potentially save you a huge headache down the road.
5. Transfer Ownership & Launch
Before launching a website on a primary domain, its important that your client is satisfied with the test site. Once you have approval, its time to make the transition. However, this part of the process can vary depending on the CMS you are using. At WebWorks LA, we prefer to use WordPress for all of our websites and require clients have it installed on their primary domain before we can make the transfer. If you have any questions about how to do this, we’d be happy to walk you through the process. The other option is to point your domain to our hosting provider, and we’d be happy to host the site for you.
In summary, there are many important steps to launching a website. But when working with clients, we’ve found it easier to break down a project into 5 simple steps. After your initial discovery phone call, the first thing you should do is build a Sitemap for the website. This will force the client to think about what they need, plus it is crucial for you to to formulate an estimate. Next, wireframe the web pages with a functional layout & add web design that suits the user group and brand of the website. Lastly, develop and test the website on a private domain before transferring ownership and going live.
About WebWorks LA
Are you a business owner that needs help with your website? WebWorks LA can help you get started. We are based in Los Angeles and have developed and launched several websites for local businesses. If you’re interested in starting a new project, submit your project details here. We look forward to hearing from you!