Working with clients always starts with a free consultation call, where we discuss your content and design wishes, your target users and the goal of your new, or redesigned, website.
I will follow up with a detailed proposal and the customized design package that I believe best fits your needs. The proposal includes the price, the proposed timeline and details on the next steps.
If you decide to work with me, we will digitally sign a contract, and after receiving the first payment, I will get to work.
I am looking forward to working with you to find the right design for your content!
The consultation call is your discovery phase, a workshop to define and clarify your vision and get a better idea how to approach your website project and translate your ideas into actions. In doing this, we can clarify the scope of the project and the costs. This is especially helpful if you’re not sure how to start or how to best present the value you offer to your site visitors and how to lead them to a clear call-to-action. A big part of the discovery phase is brainstorming how to leverage your unique content to achieve results.
But before we can do that, I’ll ask you to fill out the Content + Design Evaluation Form securely online to help us pinpoint your goals, evaluate your needs and, if applicable, go over your organization’s/company’s Website Design Request for Proposal (RFP). Every project should start with initial answers to what you want your site to achieve, what content you have or will need and who your target users are. On the call, we will go over your answers, discuss your color and design preferences, initial navigation strategies, visuals you have or would need and websites and designs that you like.
There is no one-size-fits-all project workflow, but the following approach has worked best. In addition, we will hold weekly check-ins—via Skype, email or by phone according to your preferences—to make sure that every deliverable step in the workflow, i.e. content gathering, stays on track and within the time frame we have specified for the project.
On the call, we discuss the client’s design and content goals to arrive at a clear objective. The client shares his/her expectations from the re/design and provides a briefing of the targeted results of the new site. If applicable, we will go over the organization’s/company’s Website Design Request for Proposal (RFP).
Client receives a project proposal with timeline, scope of work and pricing within a week of the call
Contract is signed and first payment is due. Signing the contract and paying the first payment secures your place on my development schedule.
Client submits a Client Content & Workbook Form securely online, with his/her login info—i.e. current host and/or WordPress logins, social media feeds, email marketing providers, email addresses—and receives a link to our shared Google Drive/Dropbox folder.
Discovery Phase. Competition research done and shared with client.
Content Phase. Client starts assembling new content (copy text, images, logos, blog posts) and evaluates existing content. This phase usually lasts 30 days. Weekly check-in calls will help us stay on track, eliminate bottle necks, fine tune the copy and your messages and move the content along to keep us in the time frame allotted for the project and meet our deadline. We may use an online content gathering tool like Content Snare for efficiency.
Sitemap. Based on the content needs of the client, we create a visual sitemap flowchart, which outlines every page on the new site, the navigation, the internal link flow and page hierarchies.
Design Phase. Color scheme, mood boards created.
Once all the content is gathered, I create live mock-ups (prototype) of 1-2 pages (homepage and one landing page). The client can navigate these pages online using a login and password provided.
Revision Phase. 1st revision (by email or call), which culminates with a written approval by the client to move forward.
Second payment is due.
Finishing the design, SEO and all content uploads.
2nd revision (by email or call) and written approval by the client to finalize the design. Major revisions after this point will be charged separately and will change the timeline of the project.
Quality control (links, navigation, content).
3rd (final) payment is due.
Training (screen share or video) shared with client or added to their WordPress dashboard.
Client receives a style guide and maintenance schedule.
It usually takes about 3 months to launch a website. It all depends on the amount of content a client has, how fast we can pull together all that content, how much of the content needs to be created from scratch and how much effort is needed for re-branding. Remember, I will build your website to adapt to your content, and the design phase can only begin once all that content is in, i.e. your images and logo, your About and Mission story, your call-to-action and freebie if you offer one, a few blog posts to populate your blog, the services you offer, testimonials etc.
Absolutely! We will go through the same workflow but will spend less time gathering your content. We will buy your domain name, choose a host and move your content to the new site. We will also make sure that all existing SEO traffic stats to your old pages are left intact and moved over to your new site, by properly redirecting all old page URLs to your new site.
I am a visual person and believe simple, static mock-ups on paper, like drawings or flow charts, can not show you how your site will look and feel like to navigate. I prefer to create a sample home page and landing page on a local development server. The pages can only be accessed with a username and password. Once logged in, you can browser the site as if it were live. This way you will get a much better feel about the design and content flow, and you can resize your screen to see how it looks on different devices. But if you prefer a static mock-up on paper, I can provide that too.
Depending on the design package you chose you get up to 3 revisions included in the price. Once a revision is approved and we move on, I will ask you to keep future major revisions to a minimum. A site navigation or layout is easily changed at the beginning of the project, but is much more time-consuming toward the end. If you change your mind on the design after you approved prior revisions, I need to charge additional fees. That’s why it is important to review every stage of the design carefully so as not to add major changes that are outside of the agreed-upon scope of the project later on.
I like to share a Dropbox folder with my clients but work with Google Drive as well. You can upload all your content there, no matter the size, and can review and approve images, logos, videos and content that I have created for you.
First payment is due after we sign the contract; second midway, after the first revision; the last payment is due just before the site goes live.
I don’t accept cashier checks, which are often used by scammers to fraud freelancers and small business owners (here is my own story how I was once targeted—and dodged—a scam like that). Better safe than sorry. The most secure, easiest and fastest way for the client and myself is to send payments electronically directly to my PayPal account after receiving my invoice. Signing up for a PayPal account is free, and fast: after logging in, you can send your payments directly to my email address and get alerted when the money is received. Another secure option is to directly deposit your payments electronically to my bank account via Zelle (an app that many banks include in their own online banking services’ app), by using my email address.
We decide on the project scope and your preferred timeline before we sign the contract. If the deadline changes in a major way midway after work has started, additional charges may apply.
I will purchase all plugins needed after discussing them with you and add the fees to the final invoice. If an annual subscription is needed (i.e. domain, host, backup service), I will purchase those in your name for a year and give you all the info needed so that you can renew on you own going forward.
Yes, there are a few options: we can have a screen-sharing session to walk you through your site at the back-end and show you how to update it. Or I can create a brief video for you to show you all the steps needed. All my content + design services include the assurance that you will always have someone to help you when you get stuck. That is my promise to my clients: I will have your back.
I will share with you all logins, passwords, a list of plugins used and a maintenance schedule for backups, as well as a style guide with color-, font- and image-size specifications and other style conventions used in the design and the content throughout your site.
You will receive up to 6 months of free security, plugin and theme updates as well as up to 6 full monthly backups, depending on the design package you choose. After that, you can purchase my monthly or annual Peace-of-Mind Maintenance Retainer, and I will continue taking care of updates, security monitoring and back ups for you.
Or we can continue working together on an hourly-basis with my Content Packages to help you with creating, editing or uploading your content or with refreshing your social media feed(s).
Absolutely. A good designer builds websites to fit the clients’ needs and doesn’t persuade them to go with a design they don’t like. My clients’ websites don’t necessarily reflect my own design preferences: the site has to function for the client, not the designer. That said, there are some best practices that I would always urge my clients to follow that have to do with functionality, content flow and accessibility, i.e. never underline text that is not a link and don’t chose colors that can be misinterpreted by color blind users or confuse your visitors. And always design your site around your content.