Web Designer

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Web Designer – Project Timeline

The titles vary, Digital Media Manager, Social Media Manager, Social Media Marketing Manager . What does a Social or Digital Media Manager do ? What is their average day like. ?  Every June the world celebrates Social Media Day 2015 .   Social Media Day was launched in 2010 by Mashable to celebrate social media’s impact on global communication. I wrote a post for this website and my social media pages detailing the average day of the Digital Manger.  Web Design is not easy to describe so I will provide a summary of my approach to a Web Design project for a client.

My average project timeline is between  3 to 4 months and a bit more depending on the project. I try to meet to client requests but it is better to set a hard time up front. The client is  not disappointed if we cannot meet their deadline.  The one word which comes to mind to describe Website Design  ” Patience” .  My first brush with web design started back in 2009 using Blogger to launch my first fashion blog, Fashionmomblog . My first formal lesson in coding was 2 years ago during my Web Design certification at Emory University in Atlanta.  That experience helped to enhance my work with content management systems for websites.  Word Press is my platform of choice and I have used it to build some excellent websites for family and other clients.

The Daily Read –  There are many reading options online but my favorites are Elegant Themes – WordPress Experts , Creative BloqSearch Engine Watch or other Web Design related articles. I save some for reading later. I also review my Twitter feed, I follow anything and all things Web Design and Social Media so there is always something new to learn. The sun never sets on the digital and web world.

Clients  –  Just as it is with Digital Media, I need to find and build a client base for Web Design. Prospective clients are very selective about their web designer choices. The financial investment is high ( not as high as digital media based on some rates ) and the website is representing their brand. Having a user centered website and a website which functions effectively are also very important. Getting the right designer who can execute all three is extremely difficult.  Personal referrals, previous work  and time ( how long have you been in business, 5 years is the starting sweet spot ) counts to help build a web designer’s reputation.  The only way to become a good web designer is through practice and that means you have to build sites to get experience.   Not every client is the right fit, sometimes it works out and sometimes it does not.

The Starting Point –  My Web Design day usually begins with a review of my project and a review of client needs for the project.  If I am building a site, we have started with an client meeting and interview, 1 or 2 surveys and a mood board ( it helps me to build a story and for them to either change that story or build on it .). This is the chapter of project work where in depth discussions about what the client really expects and want from a website is dissected and discussed. Landing pages, SEO and other important areas which pertain to the business is also reviewed.  That is just the beginning of a wonderful relationship!

Where are we going ?  – The next steps involve project definition, landing page goals, overall strategy and a second review and analysis of potential competition and threats.

Base Camp  –  We develop a site map, discuss SEO integration,  domain name, hosting, pricing during this period. This is the foundation of the final result.  The client is updated as often as possible throughout the entire process.  Content, images and site navigation are also determined during my base camp period.

The Word Press Themes  – Even though we are using Word Press it is always prudent to sketch ideas on paper,  test mock ups and wire frames in Illustrator or Photoshop.  The client will probably go through several theme changes before settling on a final framework.   There are thousands of  Word Press themes to choose from, There are free themes and paid themes. I think all of the themes are great, they work for any type of business or individual.

Pricing – There is usually a deposit to get the project underway.  Hosting and other costs can be paid by the client or we include it in the final costs.

Creation – Create Pages, add content, add SEO, add social media ( in some cases  I am adding SM pages and content for the client as well ). The client should be reviewing everything throughout the process. Getting Content and images from the client often results in project delays which affects the final deadline.

Testing – If the final look is approved, great,  but does it work ? Is it responsive ? How does it look on mobile ? How is site hosting working for the client ? How fast is the site loading ? What about that final layout ?  Send a sample to several users for final testing and feedback. This is the most crucial part of the process before going live. The Users and their comments.  Make all of the changes recommended and then you are ready to go.

The pieces of the puzzle fall into place – Final Stage, testing worked well, the client is ready to get new revenue streams.

Every Web Designer will tell you that the design process never goes the way my plan is laid out and they are 100% correct. The timeline is usually under estimated and the client may not like anything you present. That can also mean the end of the project. You walk away having learned how to do better the next time.   You must have a great framework and foundation in place for the design process to be a success. I did not provide many details here but hours are spent making sure that the final result is top notch and everything functions as it should.

Is this what you imagined a web project would be ? Any surprises ? Share your thoughts ! Thank you for reading!

 

Packages and Pricing 

Debra Gibson-Welch is a Freelance Web Designer and Digital Marketing Manager living in Atlanta, GA. Her services include website development and design, landing pages, SEO, Website Mangement and Social Media Services.  Her clients include,  Eldorado TechnologyZumba Karen Argrett Richardson , Let’s Talk Wellness and others. Visit her DEEG Consulting. Packages and Pricing