At the Starting Line….

web design TorontoAssuming that you’ve registered your domain name, your hosting account has been set up and that you’ve chosen WordPress as the platform for your website and blog, you’re now ready to prepare your content and the fun of designing your website is about to begin!

Working through this 7-step list of standard things to pull together should help make the process a little easier.

  1. Check out your competition – Send me a list of links to your competitor’s sites and other sites that you like, NOT to copy from them but so that I get an idea of what you like and what you don’t. We want to ensure that your site stands out above the competition.
  2. Make a Sitemap – A sitemap is a great planning tool for web design outlining the structural layout of the site. It is a list of all pages and their child-pages.
  3. Site Features – When you review other sites keep an eye out for features that you like. Knowing what features you require will help me to research plugins that we will need to install.
  4. Logo – A logo is a great place to start. A logo can inform the look and feel of the site and dictate colour scheme. If you don’t have a logo yet, speak to me I will refer you to a graphic designer. If you don’t feel the need for a logo we should at least choose a font that you like, come up with a great tagline and select colours that can be used consistently for identifying your brand.
  5. Stock Images – Create a free account on istockphoto and then create a free lightbox. Don’t buy the images yet we can use the watermarked images in the mockup and purchase them when we know for sure which ones we want to use where. Put the images that you think might work into your lightbox and then share the lightbox with me. Keep an eye on the number of credits required to purchase the image. It is good to keep in mind the colours of the site and select images that have a similar palette.
  6. Content –  Great content means three things: that (1) your web copy is optimized for search engines and site visitors with targeted keywords (2) it speaks to your customers and (3) your content consistently conveys your marketing message for site visitors. My colleague, Dawn Comber, can review your content and help you make it great.
  7. Dropbox – I like to use Dropbox with my clients. Ask me to send you an invitation to Dropbox and then signup for a free account. You can then create a folder and share it with me. Put all your website files in the shared folder for me to access. This saves me from having to search through emails for attachments and ensures that I am always working from the latest version of the document. You can read more about dropbox here.

If you have any questions about any of these steps please contact me.

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