How it works: making a website with Casey Dwayne.
It's important to know what you're paying for when building a website.
Professional web development is a sizeable investment. I've created this walkthrough of the development process to help you better understand where your investment is going.
1. Defining Success.
The first thing we need to do is hammer out exactly what it is you want your site to accomplish. You may have ideas about a theme or design already. You may know what you really want your site to do.
It's important to write down all of the key details early on in the development process. This helps to reduce confusion and potential miscommunications, resulting in a better product.
2. Developing the theme.
To most web designers, themes are the different UI and visual styles of the website (usually something designed by someone else they plan to modify a bit and sell to you as their own).
Good websites feature an actual theme. The theme consists of more than just design: it's a consistency throughout your site that delivers the real message you want people to notice.
Creating a theme means developing an atmosphere - a certain way about the site. It can be fun and exciting! It can be sleek and super serious. The takeaway is it should be on point, matching the values and quality standards that you wish to promote to the world.
Your website (when properly developed) will be highly visible. You'll be entering into a crowded ecosphere of other websites competing for the same place you want to be (attracting and engaging with your ideal visitor).
Developing the theme is about design (it will be shared across your entire site), but it's more about embodying the spirit you wish to present to the Internet. The theme will be the inspiration for a lot of the content and design decision as your site is being made, so it's important to get it right early on in your site's development process.
3. Prepping the site.
Now that we've defined success for your site and decided on the general theme, it's time to start creating content and getting your site ready to do business!
Early on, we'll focus on taking the abstract concepts and turning them into search engine optimized pages. This means defining a hierarchy for your site, separating and grouping the different topics you want your site to cover. (It's better to keep it short and sweet in the beginning. You can always add more topics and content after you have a functional site that's drawing in visitors).
During this time I'll also orchestrate the auxiliary services you'll need (such as Google Analytics, Search Console, and other tools for providing insights to how users are interacting with your site).
4. Engineering positive experiences.
We've already lain a lot of the framework for our UX (or User-Experience) with the steps above, but it's time to get serious. You have a site, it's a good site, but your users believe it could be better.
That's because up until now, we've only done the most essential steps in making a good website. Now it's time to double-down on accomplishing the real goal of making a website: conversions.
A conversion happens any time a user does what you intended for them to do. It can be as simple as clicking on the website from search, spending a certain amount of time on the page, or going all the way to the end of the sales funnel to making an actual purchase.
Whether you want your site to be seen by millions and sell a thousands of units, or you just want to connect with people and offer a service or information useful to the public - you must engineer a positive user experience.
This is a huge step and represents the bulk of the work I will be doing to make your website stand out among the competition. From what I've seen, most companies and freelancers that make websites stop at step 3 so they can move on to the next customer. They cover their poor craftsmanship with search engine marketing and overpriced add-ons after the fact. This only wastes your money, costing lost potential and effectively harming (or at the least, diminishing returns on) your overall goals.
5. Moving up in the world.
You've got a great site. Your users love it. The only thing that could make it better is if more people would visit your site!
Taking this step too soon is a rookie mistake. For the work to truly be effective, you'll need a professional. Lucky for you, you were able to find me (hopefully) before wasting your money on development work that.. well.. doesn't.
There's no point in aggressively seeking new visitors for your site unless it's the site itself is ready for that amount of traffic. If people are constantly abandoning your page because the offer isn't compelling or the experience is below average, it does you absolutely no good to waste money marketing your website.
Far too many designers/developers skip step 4. They sell you hard on step 5 because it makes them more money. I've seen entire companies devoted to selling you things that do little to nothing to help your bottom line. These people squander the very real opportunity and potential a good website has to make impressions and bring in revenue by doing things the right way.
The easy way is easier, but that doesn't make it better.
If you haven't talked with me about working together on your website, go ahead and ask me a few questions. I enjoy helping people create the site they wanted all along. A few minutes now could save you a lot of heartache down the road.
If you have already talked with me, I hope you find this guide informative, and an assurance that the site I make for you will be focused on meeting your goals.