I don't like surprises, and I'm sure you don't either. In discovery, I analyze your competition by examining websites that are similar to yours. You point out elements you think are cool. You tell me what you hate. I let you know what works, and explain what's involved. But you don't need to be an expert to know what's visually appealing, what's usable, and what's fun.
Once we know about what the other guys are doing, I get to know what you want to do. I learn about your values, your tastes, and your personality. If you're in the area, let's meet face-to-face.
The mantra "content is king" still holds true today, despite all the bells and whistles of the ever-evolving web. The usefulness, uniqueness, and accessibility of your website's content to the rest of the web determine the viability of your web presence. In this phase, I sculpt the architecture of your site from the truckload of content—in the form of text, photos, audio, or video—that you provide. I devise logical hierarchies for your content to make your website's organization transparent to your users.
The end result is the creation of the sitemap and a wireframe we can refer back to as we move into the final steps. The sitemap allows us to map out the relationship between pages and types of content in your website, whereas the wireframe is a bare-bones skeleton of your website's visual layout, indicating what goes where and how it all fits together.
Now that we've determined the scope, content, and organization of your website, it's time to design the look and feel or "visual design." I often team up with one of my designer friends who works in tandem with me to carry over the strategies we developed in the discovery and user experience phases. In this step, we mock up a design of two or three pages that are exemplary of most pages in your website. Usually, this means designing your front page and pages the user will see as she clicks around.
Your website's design is its outer shell, exactly what your users will see and interact with once your website goes live. At this stage, all our abstract efforts earlier on are realized in a visual layout for the first time. You have the opportunity to tweak elements of the design, implement changes or suggest an entirely different direction for your website's look and feel.
Once you have approved the website's look and feel, I'll get to work wiring up your website. At this point, you can sit back and relax, as the behind-the-scenes web development process is all me.
When I slice apart your website's design and code it up for the web, you can rest assured that your website's markup is efficient, semantic, and search-engine friendly. In every website I develop, I adhere to the latest, international World Wide Web Consortium standards and ensure that your website is crossbrowser compatible and optimized for performance.
By building your website on top of WordPress, a free, open-source content management system, I empower you completely to control your content after it goes live. You can update your content and create new pages whenever you want, from any web browser, and without any web expertise whatsoever.
In the last leg of the process, I make your website accessible to the public at a dotcom all your own. This is called "going live."
I will help you purchase your domain (http://www.yourwebsite.com) and select an affordable web host so that I can upload your website to your host's servers. Once I upload your files, your site is live.
From there on out, you will be able to log in to your website from the WordPress Dashboard and manage your content through WordPress's easy-to-use administrative interface.