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!
A website is the best way for any organization (especially nonprofits), as well as commercial and personal brands to communicate. According to the 2019 statistic below, the most effective communication tool in your arsenal is your website; social media comes in second. The goal is to lead your potential clients to your website—not to your social media profile, over which you have much less control.
But even more important is that you own the data on your website. It is secure and you’re in charge of how and where you present yourself. You shape your narrative.
I will help you design or redesign your website to meet your content + design needs and create a well-designed website with a content-first approach that converts.
My clients are domestic and international small to mid-sized mission- and message-driven organizations, non-profits or personal brands that have a story to tell and want to (re)design a content-rich website. I also help clients who want to launch or run social web campaign as well as arts organizations, institutions, museums and galleries that need visually appealing websites. My clients are looking for a developer who understands their unique content needs and knows how to streamline and boost it online. They realize that the technology and the site design must follow—and adapt to—the right content flow; otherwise, their content will be drowned out.
My clients have small teams and need help with their content strategy, with editorial services, site development, content upkeep and site maintenance. I will make sure that their unique message is presented honestly, clearly and enticing online, by using well-designed visual tools and a well-thought content strategy that drives engagement, builds trust and authority, increases visibility to the mission and message and converts site visitors into new members, loyal donors or returning clients.
I can help my clients with:
I am a multilingual content strategist, writer, editor and visual communicator who can translate the best of traditional journalistic values—sound research, fair sourcing, copyright attribution and diligent editing while keeping the toughest deadlines—online. I build websites around streamlined content and keep my clients’ message front and center: clear, concise and aided by web technologies, not muted and drowned out by the latest bells and whistles.
Technology needs to serve your mission, your message or the story that you want to tell.
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 Website 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. Before that call, I will sign a Non Disclosure Agreement that states that the call is confidential.
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.
Client schedules a consultation call and securely submits the Content + Design Website Evaluation Form online. Before that call, I will sign a Non Disclosure Agreement that states that the call is confidential.
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.
Content-first design is an approach that stresses the importance of your content to define the design, the layout and the navigation of your website. It ensures that your users’ needs are met with clearly-defined quality content; only then you design and style a website that adapts. It is a concept that stresses the close collaboration of writers, designers and developers.
Content-first design is a fairly new concept to ensure that your content is streamlined, highlighted and gets all the space in the design it needs. It stresses the importance of writing in the design and development process. If you’re interested to learn more, read my E-Book Why Content-First Design?
I recommend it because WordPress fuels simple 1-page blogs AND it handles enormous fully-featured commercial and publishing endeavors; it grows with your needs and you’re in charge. With WordPress, you own your data and can move and access it freely.
What about website builders, like Weebly, Wix or Squarespace? WordPress is a fully-fledged content management system that you control, while other website builders are hosted on their servers and offer much less flexibility and customization options. You can read more about the advantages of WordPress in my e-Book Why Use WordPress?
With other site builders you may end up creating a cookie-cutter site that underwhelms and is more restrictive on creativity. That might initially suffice—but the site cannot grow with your needs.
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.
Prices depend on many factors: the size of your site and its structure, the amount of content you have and how much tweaking and strategizing your content needs, whether you want a few design tweaks, a complete redesign or a move from your old platform to WordPress as is. To get a better idea of the cost of what you need, please schedule a free consultation call and fill out the Content + Design Website Evaluation Form online to assess the scope of your project, what content, features and interactivity you’ll need, who will handle content development and updates and whether or not you’d like to add site care after the design is done. Within a week of our call, you’ll receive a proposal that outlines the scope, process and cost of your project. Payments are done in three installments: after we sign the contract, midway and just before the site goes live.
Building websites with site builders like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace is a dying trend for serious businesses because designing websites is more than copying/pasting text; every site needs to be unique in its design to convert and to stand out from the competition.
A good website follows a strict content strategy and has a clear focus on its User Experience (UX), Consumer Experience (CX) and User Interface (UI) to convert. Longform and storytelling are back (or never left) and the best design to capture that is simple and clean and highly customizable; not a cookie-cutter content-restricting approach that many site builders/platforms offer.
I also believe that an organization or a business that wants to stand out should never use cheap designers who don’t have their back after the design is done. I had to redo many a website after the initial youngster who built it disappeared.
Most importantly, however, is that a good designer will make sure that the website is truly mobile-friendly. That means designing mobile-first; not only responsive according to screen size. The content placement has to shift too according to the devices used. Try that in Wix, Weebly, Squarespace…
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.
All my clients have access to their own password-protected Client Portal (view a sample portal), where we upload, share and store all documents and content needed for the project, including the signed contract, the proposal and project outline, the timeline, workflow, logins and useful checklists. You can securely 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.