At Awaken Solutions we have been building websites since 2001, and we have met a lot of different clients in the process. Our portfolio shows some recent examples of websites we have built.
The techniques we use in running a successful web design company are important to understand so that our clients know where we come from. So that they understand our philosophy.
It all starts with the client
As cliché as it may sound, it really does all starts with the client. We treat each client as though they were a friend who just needed some advice. Regardless of how we were put in touch with each other, be it a referral or a Google search, we start by discussing their needs briefly over the phone to understand if we are the right fit. Then we meet in order to better get to know the client and their needs. We want to know who you are, what your business goals are, what your website goals are. The discussion is free-flowing and often times leads to new ideas and suggestions that hadn’t been thought of initially.
Building an estimate
Once we have developed a thorough understanding of the client’s business model, their objectives and the overall direction they would like to go for the website, we put together a comprehensive quote in order to offer our best price to build the best possible website for the client. We use our website quote calculator in order to build the baseline price, and we add any additional features that the client may need based on the hours we estimate it would take to build. We submit this estimate to the client electronically for their review, and are available for any additional questions they may have. We typically request 30% down payment at the beginning of the project, With the remaining 70% paid upon the successful completion of the project. Other arrangements can be made, and we are happy to discuss alternatives if the client prefers. Payments can be made securely online with a credit card or by check.
Getting started by looking back
Once an agreement has been reached, we get to work building the new website. Before we do this, it is important to look at existing content. If there is a previous website it is important to review it and see what parts of the site are worth keeping (in terms of their text and images), and which parts need to be removed. Usually we will ask the client to provide us with the newly updated content they want on the new website, either copied directly from the old site or adapted from it. Existing email addresses will not be changed, but if changes in how email is managed in the organization is desired we can discuss this and offer alternatives.
It is also important to look at the navigation structure (the menu of pages) because this reflects the way the website content is organized. In fact, this is a vehicle through which you tell your visitors what is most important in your organization, and how you categorize your different offerings. Oftentimes, these discussions and branch off into much more global discussions about the business model, the direction the company wants to take next, which offerings should be highlighted more than others, and the ways that the website itself can be used to generate leads and new business.
Based on the discussions that have been had with the client, we propose several different layouts and designs which would best represent the company’s image. We can easily change colours, fonts, and menu structure, which allows us to quickly modify the look so that the client can easily see different variations and ultimately decide on the look and feel they would like for the website.
Building the actual website
Using the chosen layout, and any existing content decided upon, we begin building the new website for the client. Typically, we push forward to building the bulk of the website over a one to two week span, and then send it to the client for their first look. During this process, the website is being hosted on a temporary server which is not visible to the public. Unless otherwise specified, our typical website quote will include five hours of these changes after the first look. Any additional changes will be billed hourly.
Launching the actual website
Once the website has been completed, all the changes have been made and the client is entirely satisfied, we launch the website. Up until now, the website was on a temporary server used for the development of the site. But now, we need to launch the website so that when anyone visits the actual URL, bass even your website. To do this, we need access To the registrar, Which is the company with a domain name was purchased. Typically we also host our clients websites, and so this aspect is handled on our end. However in the rare case where a client already has their own server and wants to host the website there, we will need access to the server in order to migrate the website to there.
Making changes to the website
We build all our websites using the most popular framework available, called WordPress. This allows the client to easily login to an administrators area and make changes to the website as desired. Adding pictures, changing texts and updating the navigation menus are easily done by most clients. More elaborate changes can be done by our team as explained in the next section.
Once the website has launched, we move into the ongoing support phase. This means that yes sir changes that the client would like, but which are not easily done on their own, the client can always ask us, and we bill those changes using an online time sheet that tracks our time automatically. The client can always access this timesheet through the secure online portal, where they can also access their invoices and make secure payments.