9 Steps to a Website
Although getting everything ready to start building your new website can be a tedious exercise, in this text we are going to try to help you a little by giving you a set of nine steps you should follow when building your new website.
We’ve already outlined the most essential 4 things you need to do when planning and building a new site, but in this text, we’re going to go through the actual methodology we use in our Build Module and that we feel can be very useful to you as well
Step 1 – Create a Clear Brief:
Whether you’re building the website yourself or having someone build it for you, having a clear website brief is essential. A brief should consist of knowing exactly what you need, why you need it and what the new website should be achieving for your new business. It’s like an outline that describes the basic outline of your site, the functions, and the goals.
How does 9 Steps create a brief?
We answer any and all questions that you may have and get a concise outline to understand your needs. We also will always try and meet your individual business needs, if it can fall under the scope of our team’s skills. We won’t oversell but we will try and tailor the website work to your specific needs. The benefit of choosing us is that our small team can get a lot of work done since we come from many diverse backgrounds and experiences. We explain the process and the costs involved and allow you to get every single question answered.
After that, we are able to compile a succinct plan, outlining your website and business needs so we can agree on what we are doing moving forward.
Schedule a free consultation with our team:
Step 2 – Sign an Agreement:
In case you have contracted someone to build you a website, make sure you sign a contract with them that protects you. Make sure that the payments are within your budget and be sure to confirm the following things:
- Agree on your budget and added costs (hosting, wordpress, etc.)
- Establish financing options and payment flexibility or timeline
- Make sure you are able to retain full operation and rights over your site and discovery materials after website completion
- Check and agree on any competition clause’s if you so desire
- Clarify your contractor’s timeline and revision process
How does 9 Steps set up an agreement?
When you sign our agreements it only requires you make a payment of 33% upfront.
We will only ask for the final payment once we’ve delivered everything to your liking. Sometimes, it can be hard to find the right match when outsourcing for things like website building. Fortunately, we do everything to give you what you want, what you need, and what makes sense for your business. We won’t tack on extra hours to go back to the drawing board unless it’s truly outside of our scope.
We just ask to keep everything within reason! It’s a working partnership that we want to respect. We don’t want to start completely over after building a site, but we do want to give you what you need. So we’ve set up focused feedback checkpoints and a really rigorous discovery phase to make sure we are always on track.
We will always consider financing and payment options and try to meet your requirements. After we finish your site, we hand over control of everything. Though you can retain us to do upkeep and data analytics, it’s not required! This is because you will be in full ownership of all the locks and keys that make up your site. It’s paramount that you hold the ownership of all the elements of your site, all internal and external tools and all profiles. If you are on a timeline, we will do our best to schedule everything within the scope of the deadline and are actively flexible as needed.
Step 3 – Keep all Access Passwords Secure:
Whether you’re doing it on your own or having someone do it for you, you need to make sure that all access points and passwords are kept secure. That includes passwords for Google Suite, Facebook, Instagram, Marketing Channels and more. For example, using a password manager is essential, but you can always make sure to back up your passwords with extra checkpoints like phone confirmation, email confirmation and other 2-step processes.
How do we secure and gain edit access to your business accounts?
We use 1Password to secure all the accounts we work with but there are many other options. Depending on what we will be working on together, we will be needing temporary access to your accounts in order to align and make changes, sometimes across all of your marketing and brand channels. Sharing access to your business accounts can include:
- Sharing the website passwords (if you have one) & inviting us to relevant documents and accounts.
- Sharing access to or getting Google Suite for business if you don’t already have it. (We can help you out!)
- Adding us as your Facebook / Instagram as admins.
We use a password manager to make sure to secure every one of your business accounts, and thoroughly backup content and copy in case it gets lost!
Step 4 – Discovery Documents:
It’s called the Discovery Process, but it can also be considered business planning, market research or really just exploring your entire business. It’s where you look at where there is potential in the market, within your brand and with your customers. Make sure you write down at length your business history, model, customers, products and services to get a comprehensive understanding of your entire business. Each of these are essential to building your online presence, marketing to the right customers and understanding where you can grow your business digitally.
How does 9 Steps build discovery documents?
We have you fill out our 3-part discovery document series. They can be big and they can sometimes get very specific with their questions, but we designed them to get information on every detail of your business. We always encourage our clients to fill them out to the best of their ability even if something is confusing or not yet a part of your own business model. It helps us understand your business thinking. We also tend to find that your gut or first intuition to a question is actually the most valuable. This way we learn about your business in your own words before we dive in at a meeting. We break our discovery documents up into three parts:
- A business overview that covers history, goals, mission, marketing, brand and more
- A customer persona worksheet that defines every customer segment your business targets, who they are and what they are like
- A product market-fit worksheet that goes into detail about every product or service, how it’s done/what it is and which customers buy it.
These documents are designed to get you thinking about things you know and do every day and put them into words that we can translate into an exciting website!
Step 5: The Kick-Off Meeting
Always take the time to sit down and go over your discovery materials. Whether you decide to put it in new writing or use your own materials and documents, it’s always important to align with your team or your contractor, to make sure you understand the full scope of the business, what you need in order to turn that business into a website and where you need to make enhancements. It’s a vital time spent between you as the business owner and creator and the person who is trying to absorb that brand and make it digital.
Remember, it’s always essential to dig into your business model, your vision, your competitors and market share, your customers and your services or products to understand the full business picture. Hash out the details and align on your branding, language and voice. It’s a time to decide on how you present your business as a website. And since it’s often the first place someone new finds you, it’s important to get this part right!
How does a kick-off call look with 9 Steps?
We get on a two hour call to go over your discovery sheets, ask follow-up questions and allow you time to elaborate on your business in person so we can get a second insight for your overall business model. We make sure to leave the meeting understanding your business and who you are and allow time for brainstorming and ideation. We also allow for follow-up phone calls to discuss anything at length that isn’t covered in our initial call. However, we are usually able to start building your site after our first 2 hour meeting.
We will browse all of the functionalities and details and determine which ones will you need:
- Determine the main call to action (CTA)
- Define your online business structure (Schedule a call / an appointment; Call us; etc., Leave us a message / Get a Quote form)
- Agree on e-Commerce related actions (pre-pay, book or buy)
- Establish any email list building requirements
- Explore, your resources for ongoing content creation
- Nail down pricing (if relevant) and build the capacity to charge your clients directly from the site
- Establish products being sold (TCC drop shipping module)
Also, we’ll examine and investigate any additional services you might need from us from the get-go. They include things like:
- Logo design
- Color swatch
- Business cards
- Social media package (profile and cover photos for all your social media profiles)
- Product packaging and labels
- Personalized illustrations and graphics
This session is also a time to get to know each other, set expectations and have fun with the creative process of building a website!
Step 6: Development prep phase:
Your old site, if you have one, should remain live as you move your domain to new hosting or get to building or rebuilding. It’s important to take this time to get your customer base excited about your new site by taking the time to advertise and tease your new website. Blast the news across your social media, send mailers and talk up your new page with customers so they can get excited to join, subscribe or benefit from your brand new site.
Your site should be built in a staging environment that allows you to build, write, edit and preview your site. It’s not visible to the public but all of your collaborators should be able to see it. Some designers or developers might be building you a site from scratch and some may use tools like WordPress to get it up. Typically, WordPress has every functionality of a basic to moderate website, meaning, it’s not overly technical and needs to function for reading, visuals and basic functions like purchasing, slideshows, joining an email list and recommending products or services.
How does 9 Steps prepare your site?
We move your domain to our hosting while keeping your current website live at all times. In case you don’t have a website we’ll create a nice ‘Coming Soon’ page so you can announce a new site to your network. We are free and available to build marketing and branding for your customers before you launch. This can include planning for a welcome email, starting a twitter campaign or posting on facebook.
Additionally, we create a staging environment for your website where we will actually do the work to build your site. The staging site is not visible to the public, only to you and our team. This way we will be able to collaborate together, receive feedback and build a stronger team mindset.
Step 7: Collaborate and Iterate
Think about your building your website as a deeply creative and collaborative process. You’ve already decided on the principle components and captured your brand’s voice and tone. Now you write, test, edit and do it again. It’s a process that requires teamwork from the businesses leaders and marketers as well as essential insights from the designers and developers. You need to think about your customer’s journey on your site and how you will communicate your products and services in a way that results in a lead. It’s important to be flexible, agree on a timeline and agree on your iteration or revision process as you build!
How does 9 Steps collaborate and iterate?
We will keep you involved with the development and writing process at every stage. As we build your site we will have timely regular feedback to ensure efficiency with launching your site. As we add pages and integrate processes, we ask you to check and provide your thoughts and changes. We generally are very happy to apply your input and can be available to get on the phone to hash out any details. Above all, we need to know that we are giving you exactly what you need, so we give you ample opportunity for feedback and pivoting.
Step 8: Design and content mockup presentation for final review
Depending on whether you are building your site yourself or hiring someone to build it for you, you will need to be flexible here. It often happens that a timeline, vision or communication levels can just get crossed. When you get the mock up for your full website, it should be 99% done according to the discovery and planning phases. Once you do receive a working version, also known as alpha or a prototype, make sure it has all the functionalities that you’ve agreed upon. Always ask to see the website as you build in order to make sure you are getting what you want. You never want to start over.
It’s best to iterate and revise in stages so that when you get your full mockup, you are tweaking, changing a few words and optimizing strategically for the best possible final site. Always make sure you and the business that’s building your site agree on this stage before you walk into a mockup review. It saves time to make big changes earlier in the building process. So get on the same page earlier, get your voice in sooner, agree on your final review and stick as closely as possible to the small changes and additions.
How do we present your website to you for final review?
First off, it won’t be the first, second or third time you see the site. While you can be hands off, we encourage you early feedback and comments to make sure we stick to your needs and vision. At final review, we will present to you the design and content mockups as fully functioning site and you will give finals comments and feedback. After some usually quick changes and only upon your approval, we go ahead with the implementation.
In the event that you’ve ordered some of the additional design services, we’ll review these things as well to check for a cohesive brand with your site. We always make sure to keep your needs in mind. Your input and feedback will be necessary to make sure we are giving you the exact product you are looking for.
Step 9: Launch!
Your launch day is exciting! Just remember it can be very intense for the developers.
They need to make sure that all your functionalities, database versions and API calls are ready to be moved to production (made live) without breaking.
Once the site is released, be sure to check it on multiple devices at launch to confirm it’s working. Check your site speed, test your flows and make sure everything is working properly. Attain all passwords, rights, accounts and materials from the people commissioned to build your site. Just button up the little details so you can have full ownership of your new page.
Most importantly, celebrate your new site! Follow up on all of your social media channels to announce your website. Send out mailers to advertise and get the news out there. It’s a great time to boost your presence with a few promotions, giveaways or even just a thank you to your loyal customers!
How does 9 Step launch your site?
Here we release your website to the public by moving it from the old domain it’s brand new page. We’ll transfer all the knowledge and documents we accumulated to a file for you, so you can be independent if you want! All discovery materials, specs and more will be dropped into your folder!
We test, support and follow up on any concerns at launch. We are available for committed back up in the first few days to help you get used to your site. And we are always available to help with any campaigns, announcements, and more.
We hope this text was useful and that it will help you in your next website building project. If you need any help, we can jump on a call with you and discuss the opportunities with you. The call is completely free, it lasts around 30 minutes and we can exchange ideas and pick our brains together. The focus of the call is you and your business.
Schedule a free consultation with our team: