From Idea Infancy to Website Launch – Timeline Guide for Building Your WordPress Website

Hello business owners! First, let me say Congratulations on finally having your business idea! You’ve invested valuable time and effort into planning, educating yourself, and now you’re ready to make your business dreams come to fruition. But there’s one thing missing – a website!  Ugh, where to start? How long does that take? More research and education await you! By this point in your business journey, if you’re reading this, you already know that every single ‘step’ truly unravels into a layered series of mini-steps. There may even be a prequel…or a sequel! Alright, enough silly metaphors and wordplay let’s get into the details! This blog post aims to guide you through some expectations of a typical timeline of a traditional website design project, giving you a clearer understanding and removing some of the guesswork. Here we go:

The Design ‘Prequel’

How does that saying go? “Begin with the end in mind.” Well, that sentiment holds true for the design process too. You know that you want to end up with a stunning website at the culmination of the project. So, let’s start by defining stunning! What does stunning mean to you? When you begin collaborating with your designer, you’ll want to be ready to explain your vision and the functionality required. (Check back later for a future post to guide you through some tips on how to choose a designer).

An image of a website design project timeline / checklist
Planning Branding Design

What is Branding?

First things first, let’s talk about branding. If you have branding, if you don’t, etc. Think of branding as a distinct identity for your business. Your brand shapes the perception of your business in the minds of your target clientele.  You want your brand to encompass your unique values, personality, visual elements, and overall customer experience you provide. Building a strong brand helps you stand out from the competition, build trust, and establish connections with your target market.

Branding & Design

So, how does branding fit into your design timeline? An excellent question! Since your design incorporates elements of your branding, it is best to establish branding first. Doing so creates a framework for your design. Branding information will be gathered during an initial strategy session.

After discussing branding with your designer, they’ll create a design that aligns with your brand identity. This includes curating a color palette, fonts, graphics, and if needed, creating logos.

 

Paint swatches to represent color palette samples
Branding and website Design with letters spelling out 'font'

Upon completion of this milestone, your designer will review your new brand elements with you. Now is a good time to request revisions if desired. Keep in mind that once the design is layered on top of the branding, making changes becomes more time-consuming.

Design Time - The Main Event

With branding sorted out, it’s time to move forward with the design process. Typically, the design process begins with a discovery phase where the goal, target audience, and overall vision for the website are discussed. This step helps the designer understand your preferences and meet your expectations.

After the discovery phase, the designer will begin creating wireframes or mockups to present the layout and structure of the website. This step allowed the client to review and provide feedback before moving proceeding.  Once the design is approved, the designer will proceed with development, translating the design into a functional WordPress website. This includes customizing the theme, adding necessary functionalities, and beginning to optime for SEO.

Throughout the development phase, your designer will test the website’s functionality and responsiveness across different screen sizes. Based on the project requirements, target audience, and nature of the content, the designer will determine whether it’s best to establish the core layout on desktop or mobile devices first. After the core layout is fine tune, the design will be optimized for other screen sizes.

Post-Design - 'The Sequel’

After development, the next step is adding content and optimizing it for SEO. It’s important to understand that your website designer may or may not offer website copy services. It could be included in their website design package; offered as an add-on, or they may refer you to a professional copywriter. The same applies to sourcing photography. Your design may utilize both stock and personal photography. Compelling copy, with optimized keywords, and relevant images/videos enhance the user experience and boost your SEO.  For more information on the importance of photography in web design, see “Photography in Website Design”. Make sure to discuss with your designer if they will provide stock photography or if they prefer you to source and provide it. Remember that copy and content play a vital role in feeding into your overall SEO strategy.

Website design project timeline content planning
website design collaboration

Final Steps - Pre-Launch

Finally, before launching the website, your designer will test all functionality and ensure there are no bugs or issues that need to be addressed. Once everything is in tip-top shape, your website will be launched and made available to the public.

Remember, building a website is an interactive process that may take a couple rounds of feedback and revisions to bring your vision to life. As with any project, the key to a great end result is good communication and clear feedback, as well as being open to suggestions along the way.

Post Launch Success

After your shiny new website is live, you must ensure it stays in tip top shape with routine maintenance. For additional information, see the post, “Keep Your Website Running Smoothly!” which explains the importance of maintaining your website. In short, regular website maintenance is crucial to ensure your site stays secure, up-to-date, and performs optimally for your visitors. Moreover, ongoing website maintenance helps identify and address issues, implement necessary updates, and make improvements to ensure you continue to reach your business goals.

The Grand Finale of Your Website Design Project

Ahh, we’ve reached the final act.  Let’s sum up this series of steps that comprise the website design timeline. Building a WordPress website for your business is an exciting journey of stages and milestones. From defining your branding and collaborating with your designer to creating a stunning design that aligns with your brand identity – each step unravels into a layer of mini-steps. The design process encompasses discovery, development, and optimization for different screen sizes. Then, we top it off by adding compelling copy, SEO optimized content, and relevant imagery. Finally, after thorough testing and debugging, your new website will be launched and accessible to the public.

However, as discussed above, launching the website is just the beginning. To maintain success, routine website maintenance is a must. This ensures that your site is secure, fresh, and functional.

Remember, as with all projects, communication and good feedback helps the project progress smoothly. Embrace your journey, don’t forget to care and feed your website post-launch, and your online presence will flourish. If you have any questions or need further guidance, please contact us at hello@paintcreekdigital.com