Whether you have a current site that needs an overhaul or are starting from scratch, these steps will make sure your online presence is saying the right things about you.
1. Get the right team on the job. It should include business stakeholders, designers, developers, users, user experience (UX) experts, search engine optimization (SEO) experts and content specialists.
2. Do your research. Determine site requirements, both on behalf of your business and customers or users. Review your competitors’ sites and select sites outside the industry that you feel have effective layout and design, for inspiration.
3. Brainstorm. Get all ideas on the table of what your site needs to accomplish.
4. Create a site map. Start to focus in on your main objectives and filter through your brainstorm to decide what will make the cut. A site map is basically a flow chart showing every page you plan to have on the site and how they are related to each other. It is a critical step in getting the team on the same page and organizing your direction.
5. Draw up a wireframe. Wireframes are not your design. They are a way to further organize your content and determine what information goes on which page. You can begin to work through placement decisions and start a hierarchy of information with these, but try to resist designing them to look like the end product.
6. Graphic design. This is where your creativity can really get warmed up, particularly in our industry, where there is no shortage of beauty. Make sure the design fits with your brand and assists in further communicating to your customers who you are and what you do.
7. Development. You’ll need someone who is familiar with web development to make sure you follow best practices for web development and accessibility.
8. Launch. Take the step and put your site out there for the world to see.
9. Get the word out. Take pride in all the work you’ve done and make sure you let people know it’s time to revisit your website.