Launching a client website is SUCH an amazing, and fun experience. There's so much work and collaboration that goes into a business launch. It feels kinda like giving birth. Without the drugs and the pain (thank goodness). But you do get an adorable little website baby to love and show off. You get what I'm saying right?
Kayce is a special client because not only is she talented and such an extraordinarily giving human being, but she's also my little sister.
This past month she published her first book, a Bible Study called 'Spirit Lead Me.' Now I realize you probably think I'm biased, but you guys. It's so good.
She needed a little home on the internet where she could connect with people, introduce others to her study, and book speaking engagements.
Project Phase 1: Branding
The first thing we started with was the branding for her business. As a speaker and author, it was important that her name was used in her business name, so that was pretty straightforward.
From there we talked about the different aspects of her ministry and the Bible Study, her likes and dislikes, ideal audience and more. I always have new branding clients start with my online Branding Personality Quiz, (which you can also access for free by the way). It's just a fun and easy way to get started in the right direction.
Next, I created 2 different branding boards for her to look over. These are generally a jumping off point. As a designer, more than anything I really want my clients to be thrilled and I expect there to be changes. When working on such a big and personal project like this, communication is SO important.
Kayce really loved aspects from both designs. This is very common. But it was during her commercial photo shoot that I realized, along with her, the perfect direction that we needed to go with her branding. After a few more tweaks, this was Kayce's final Brand Design.
Project Phase 2: Commercial Photo Shoot
Next we planned Kayce's photo shoot. She knew with a brand new website, she would need some images to start off her library showcasing herself, and her new book. I suggested we do the shoot in her home, where she does all of her writing. It's important that your audience gets to see you in your daily environment whether that be your storefront, or the place where you work, wherever that happens to be.
We chose to shoot during the day to get the best natural lighting in her home. The shoot was a lot of fun and the images really helped tell the story she was wanting to communicate through her website.
Shooting for a website is a little different than shooting for portraits. Color schemes and layouts are super important, including making sure there are several images with negative space.
Project Phase 3: Website Design
Next it was time to put these ingredients together and bake a Kayce Website Cake! I knew through our conversations that the website needed to include the following pages:
- E-Commerce Store
- Calendar of Events
- Contact Forms
- MailChimp Integration
By default, all of my websites are mobile friendly and set-up on a good foundation for SEO. While I can design on most any platform, I often recommend Squarespace to my clients.
Squarespace is a one stop shop where they can host and purchase their domain. It's extremely stable so they never have to worry about upgrades or plugin issues. But most importantly, it allows me to spend more time on the design and user experience. This means I am able to charge MUCH less than if I were to build the site from scratch. And last, but not least, I'm able to confidently hand off a client site knowing that they are able to update and make changes themselves because it's very user-friendly.
When it's time to deliver a site, I schedule a one-hour Skype call to walk through their site with them, and teach them how to make updates. Some clients may prefer to send changes and updates over to me after their site is delivered and I love to continue to help my clients in this way. But I know many business owners that would rather do this themselves and I want to make sure they have a site that fits those goals.
Website Design Process
To begin the design process, I always create the foundation pages and navigation to start. I have found that it's easier for clients to see a rough framework from which we can start rather than a blank slate. As a designer, it's my job to interpret their needs and give them a starting place and help implement their vision.
After the first draft of their site is sent over, we get down to the nuts and bolts of the site. This takes a collaboration and a lot of communication between myself and the client. All of my communications are loaded into a client portal where the tasks and timelines are stored in one easy place.
From there, we schedule meetings and phone calls as needed to make changes and revisions. I find that going through the site page by page is very beneficial.
Project Phase 4: Website Delivery
Once all of the revisions have been made, it's time to go live! During the building process, I always create a beautiful landing page that the client can share on social media to garner excitement around the launch. You can see an example of one here.
When it's time to go live, we schedule a Skype call to go through the website and so I can show the client how to make updates and changes. After that, I transfer the website ownership and billing into the client's name and a successfull baby website is born!