Do you cook? The other day, while preparing one of my husband’s favorite dishes, it suddenly occurred to me that designing a website is a lot like cooking mussels in white wine — it only takes a few minutes to cook the mussels, but planning, prep and clean up takes up to 5 times longer.
Step one: Website Planning / The Menu
I design websites that sell products or services, so the first step is to determine what my clients need in order to engage and educate their prospects. During this first stage we set-up the following:
1. Main navigation
2. Sub navigation
4. E-commerce or client access areas
We also determine which online marketing links they’ll need like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube, plus:
• Buttons that promote a call to action
• Email signup boxes to build subscriber list
• Plugins to customize the WordPress website
Step two: Home Page Wireframing / The Ingredients
Typically, a wireframe is a one color webpage, usually black white and grey, but WordPress templates let my clients see a more developed website including:
• Navigation order
• Email signup boxes
• Company logo
• Introductory copy
A WordPress site also lets my clients see if the theme I’ve chosen for them meets their own vision for their website.
Step Three: Website Prep / Soaking & Chopping
Preparing these key ingredients ahead of time will make website building a breeze:
• Web header
• Irresistible Free Offer Graphic (IFO): designed from the inside out
• E-mail signup box
• All copy
• All images
• Web buttons
• Footer image links
Step Four: Website Building / Cooking
With the planning and wireframing in place, and all the ingredients ready to go, it’s finally time to cook up a storm. Here’s where the magic happens:
• Place all the design elements: header, IFO, web buttons
• Pour in the text and add heading tags
• Add and place the images
• Add plugins
• Add code to widget areas
Step Five: Testing / Let’s Eat!
Once your site is designed and the web elements are in place, it’s time to see if your visitor will follow the path you’ve laid out for them. Testing a website involves watching people move through your site, and asking why they made the choices they did.
Step Six: Final Touches / Clean Up
Testing can bring about unexpected results, so before your site is launched, it’s time to make any last minute changes to assure your visitors have the experience you intended.
Best wishes for a delicious site!