Process Part 4: Website Development

Process Part 4: Website Development

This part of my process is where most of my work happens, but before this, there may be client homework required to help me develop websites.  During this step, I will be doing the following steps:

  • Creating a static redesign of your site if doing a redesign of your current web builder.  I will create a JPEG mockup that should be viewed in sections to get an idea of what the new website will look like.  After the static designs are approved, I will begin making the edits on the live site.

  • If I am building a new website with WordPress, I will create a test website on my domain,  input the Devi theme, and create various layouts and add content.  This test site is not the final product!  The reason why I think this works is that sometimes it can be hard to tell what kind of website product you are receiving from a static design, such as subtle animations or placement of content. For this test site, it is crucial for you to know the following:
    • Nothing on this site is final until the content and overall pages are approved.  My Progress Checklist is updated as I work on pieces of the website for your viewing.  
    • You can add notes on what you need to be changed, and I will make them as I work on the overall test site.
    • The more feedback I get while creating this test site, the more it will fit the vision of you and your business.  
    • A fully functioning website allows you to pick different features and find out what works best for your business, so sometimes, my test sites will have different ways of doing the same thing.
    • For Example, having social media appear in the header, or in the footer, or with the content, or as a popup.  There is no need to have the social media display in all of those areas, but a test site can help you figure out where you want that feature.  The same is true for galleries, contact forms, and other content pieces.
    • The site may run slow because no cache plugins are active while I am building and making changes.  Image Optimizer plugins are also uploaded and implemented last for the same reason.  These plugins resize images and lower resolution, which can affect photos in prominent areas like the header that require a higher resolution.  

 

  • A Progress Checklist is created and shared on a Google drive.  This Google drive is also where clients can put their content, photos, videos, and any other items that need to be incorporated into a website.
  • For my purposes, I will track time dedicated to client work using my An Co account that creates my invoices and contracts. Though my projects are not charged by the hour, it is important for clients to see how much value they are receiving.   

What is Client Homework and why do I need it?

Client homework is example website layouts that you like, sample writing, Google analytics numbers, and other information that I may need for completing your website.  

For example, a writing sample helps me to write better in your voice.  When writing copywriting, I will consider the target avatar and write to that specific audience.  However, it is very important that the tone and the style reflect you and your voice.  This can only be accomplished with a writing sample.  

Sometimes I will need more direction on what photos you need in certain areas.  If you are a local business, I can meet with you to choose photos.

Other things I may need are detailed contact form layouts, or forms or contracts if your businesses need that service.

What Could Cause Delays?

Client homework and feedback is vital to completing your project on time.  Feedback also ensures that I create a product that best reflects you and your business.  The earlier I get client homework and feedback, the sooner I can complete the milestones for completing your website.  Without feedback, I can end up working in the wrong direction.

Want to help your business reach the sky with professional branding and web design, than contact me at 505-270-6794.

Process Part 2: Contracting and Timelines

Process Part 2: Contracting and Timelines

If you haven’t guessed by now, these Process themed posts are about how I conduct business in providing both marketing consulting and design services. I mentioned in an earlier post how transparency is essential to personal branding because it is the easiest way to establish trust with your clients. This article may help new clients understand how I may conduct business with them, and they may help you determine and share your process for how you do business.

The Importance of Contracts

Contracts are essential to any design work because they protect both the client and my business. Contracts have legal implications that ensure that I will get paid for the work I have produced, and also ensure that you get a product that helps your business. Contracts are the best documents for creating a good working relationship with boundaries that will protect both parties. By setting up a contract, you show your clients that you mean business and are looking out for their best interests in creating the work. They are the best way of setting up a business relationship on the right foot.

I have designed my business to do all contracting and invoicing through AND CO, a company that allows me to create contracts, project trackers, time management tool, and sending invoices that will enable my clients to pay online for their convenience. It also tracks my business expenses, saves receipts, and helps to prepare my taxes. It helps me to keep my business documents organized and saves me time, so I can focus on doing the business that I love.

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Timelines and Payment Plans

One of the things I outline in my contracts is a timeline of when deliverables are expected to be completed. Deliverables are the actual products I make for you, such as your logo, copywriting, website designs, and final website build.

I make accommodations for my clients since they are mostly small business owners who may need a payment plan to pay for my services.

If the payments are over a couple of several months, deliverables will be spaced apart because I will have to find other client work to pay my bills.

If a client can pay the full sum, I require half of the payment up front, partly because it is a deposit, and because it is needed to purchase items such as website domains and other expenses that may be required to pay for their website development.

Final invoices are paid after the client is happy with their finished product.

Marketing and Consulting Interview

I am not just your designer, but also your marketing consultant. One way that my business is very different from other website or branding businesses is that I provide marketing consulting that takes more into consideration than just online marketing. I do research on your competitors, and I look into the other ways on how they find work.

For instance, your competitors may have profiles on services like Gigmasters, a service that offers business profiles for service based gigs such as face painting or party hosting. Getting a profile established on those lead website may also help to increase your business, and it’s slightly different for every industry.

Are you ready to give your branding or website an upgrade?  Contact me today!

$50 Marketing Promotion!  Copywriting Book Cover

$50 Marketing Promotion! Copywriting Book Cover

Example of an eBook cover for Copywriting.

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Blue Skies has a limited promotion to highlight some of your other business needs.  For today’s Friday, there is a $50 Promotion for a custom cover design for your business Ebook.

The cover of your Ebook is essential because in a way, it the immediate branding of your book.  It sets the tone and communicates what your book is about.  A professionally designed cover will set your book apart from the rest of the sea of self-published books. 

 Email me here or call me at 505-270-6794 if you would like a more custom cover for this limited $50.   I can also do layout and design for ebooks, and feel free to contact me at the above for a quote.  

I want to help your book sell, and I love feedback.  All covers are one of a kind, although variants may be created from some covers.  The images are high quality in 3000 x 4200 at 300 dpi or larger and can resize as needed. The format will be JPG and TIFF as desired.  If you need a cover for print ( spine and back cover), please let me know for an added cost of $60.  

Process Part 1: The Value of a Consulting Interview

Process Part 1: The Value of a Consulting Interview

The hardest part of upgrading your branding or website is identifying the strengths and weaknesses of what you currently have, and how it performs TODAY. A consulting interview is essential in figuring out what work needs to conducted on your website or personal brand.

Rarely, there is a one-solution for fixing the issues that could be effecting engagement on your website. This is because small business owners often have niche audiences that require a different type of reach or engagement. It would be a mistake to try a one-type fix such as solely focusing on one element of your website.

What do I mean by one-type fixes? A one-type fix may be the redesigning the overall layout of your website, or rebranding, creating different social media engagement, or focusing on solely on SEO, or search engine optimization. A well-designed website will keep users on the site.

While Search Engine Optimization is essential to get your audience even to see your web presence, the algorithms, and methods that SEO regularly change. The SEO practices of five years ago would include creating large sites full of pages with repeating keywords to make the websites rank higher in search engines.

Today, the best practices include creating meaningful content that engages the viewer enough not to click away from the page but continue to scroll through the material. Content is king, and long landing pages with exciting multimedia content are what keeps users engaged.

If you would like to schedule a free consulting interview to see what could make your website level up, call me at 505-270-6794 or email me here.  

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See Your Website With a New Set of Eyes

A consulting interview can give you a fresh pair of eyes to see your website and branding. You are an expert in your industry, and it is easy to get caught up using jargon or technical terms that may not make sense to your audience.

A consultation with me can also help determine if you are promoting the right message, in the right tone of voice to your target audience.

For example, therapists will need to sound professional, but also human and approachable. Life coaches are selling themselves and the story of how you can improve your life.

Artists and writers may have artist statements of why they create their work, but telling it in a story or witty clips is more engaging.

One of the potential problems in working with an agency is the one type all marketing may not apply to your business. You may have a beautifully designed website, but need better-written content, or vice verses.

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