Our Website Design Process

Website Design Process

The website design process we follow in developing new websites for small businesses consists of these four basic steps: Define, Create, Design, and Promote. The amount of work and time spent in each step of the process varies due to factors such as the availability of website content/graphics, complexity of features required, and the level of client involvement. If the task of building a new website seems daunting, remember with professional help and some preparation, the process can be completed in as little as two weeks. Use this page as a planner for preparing thoughts and gathering content prior to commencing a website design effort.



Developing an understanding of the company and its strategy, goals and customers helps lay the foundation for the content, layout, and design of the site. One of the most critical elements is the target audience for the website. Defining the target users and gaining insight into their behaviors can help the designer to optimize the design and the message. It is also important to discuss the desired look and feel of the site and what the appropriate tone should be (formal, informal, humorous, stylish, calm, energetic, etc.). It is a good idea to research a wide range of industry and competitor sites to gain an understanding of the standard and best practices, content, and closest competitor designs.

Click to learn more about: Domain Names; Your Target Audience; Web Hosting & Maintenance

Main Activities

  • Document Site Purpose, Strategy, and Goals

  • Define Target Audience

  • Research Industry and Competitor Sites

  • Define Site Look & Feel (Personality)

  • Register Domain Name and Setup Hosting Account

Do you have a domain name?
Where will website be hosted?
Do you have a logo?
Do you have a tagline?
What is the purpose of this site?
Who is the target audience (detailed description)?
How much traffic will come from mobile users?
Does your website need any special features (ecommerce, online chat, calendar)?
Who are your main competitors?
Are there any website designs you like or dislike?



In this very important second phase of the design process, the content and key messaging needs to be developed. Creating valuable content is the single most important factor in developing a great website. Good content brings users to the site, keeps them engaged, and generates conversions (for example, sales of services or products, donations, new subscribers). Content must be well organized and formatted so that users can easily find what they are looking for. Content is supported with graphics and/or photo images. Page structure and navigation can be defined once the content is generated.

Typical sections of many small business websites include: About the Company, Personal Bios, Services Offered, Products Offered, Specialties, Testimonials, Frequently-asked Questions, Pricing, Promotions, Contact Info and Map, Educational Videos, Useful Links, Forms Download, and an Informational Blog. This list is, by no means, complete and will certainly vary by industry and type of business.

Click to learn more about: Website Content; Choosing the Right Images; Keywords & Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Main Activities

  • Compile, Write and Refine Site Content

  • Compile Images and Photos (licensed or owned)

  • Create and Design Custom Graphics

  • Generate Call-to-Action Statements

  • Formulate the Key Messaging Statements

  • Identify Keywords for SEO

  • Integrate Keywords into Site Content

What main website sections from the paragraph above do you want to include?
Do you have existing website content or marketing materials?
Do you have licensed or owned photos?
Do you have or can you get client testimonials?
What distinguishes you from your competition?
What keywords do potential customers use to find you in online searches?



The third phase of the design process mainly involves the talents of a web designer. Design experience is used to structure the content to create a positive user experience. A good visual design helps define the site’s personality. A web designer requires expertise in color, balance, use of white space, typography, user behaviors, and current design trends. Page layouts must be organized in a way that is easy for the user to find information when scanning pages by using headers, short paragraphs, checklists, content boxes, and graphics. Graphic images have an extremely important impact on the look and feel of the site and should be carefully selected for the target audience and to amplify the content’s message. Remember, the human brain processes images much faster than text. If search engine optimization is an important factor for the business, key search phrases will be determined and the content of each page will be fine-tuned to improve the site’s search engine ranking.

Click to learn more about: The Psychology of Color; WordPress (CMS); The Pitfalls of DIY “Free” Websites

Main Activities

  • Outline the Page Structure and Site Navigation

  • Create Initial Draft of Page Layouts

  • Optimize Visual Design and Placement of Graphics and/or Photos

  • Define the Color Palette to be Used Throughout the Site

  • Layout the Font Styles to be Utilized and Define Sizes, Weights and Color for Body and Headings

  • Optimize the Site Design for Mobile Users

  • Optimize Each Page for Better SEO Ranking

  • Test Site Functionality Across a Range of Devices and Browsers

Do you have strong color preferences?
Do you want to collect contact information from site visitors?
Do you have forms or documents you want users to download?
Do you want to integrate social media content into the website?
Do you need to setup an online booking system?
Do you want to update some of the website content on your own?
Do you want to process payments through your site?
Will you sell products on your site?
Do you need a password protected area of the site?
Do you need a blog page?



The final phase of the design process involves promote the newly launched site to generate traffic. This can be done through various marketing channels such as word of mouth, social media, well placed ads, email campaigns, and online search results. It is important to be easily found through search engines such as Google and Bing which is a fairly complicated process. The website and contents need to be optimized for the search engines (SEO). It is helpful to have as many external links from quality sites as possible. Analytics should be used to analyze site traffic so the design can be fine-tuned.

Click to learn more about: Website Analytics

Main Activities

  • Launch the Website

  • Promote on Social Media Sites

  • Conduct Email Campaign

  • Identify External Links That Can Be Used to Improve SEO

  • Optimize Each Page for Better SEO Ranking

  • Run Online Product/Service Promotions

  • Setup and Monitor Daily Website Traffic – Use Feedback to Optimize Design

What other social media sites can be used to promote your website?
Do you have an up-to-date client contact list for email campaigns?
How can you get external websites to link to your site (helps with SEO)?
How can we use your web analytics to fine-tune the design?
What popular and relevant search terms can we use to improve SEO?