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How To Properly Plan A New Website

Before actually beginning to make a website mockup, it is a good idea to have a plan set out first. By developing a step by step process prior to making a website mockup, your time can be used more efficiently. The following are some steps that can be used prior to creating or even designing your next website mockup. ( A website mockup is a graphic or image that represents what a website can look like . )

Website Goals

Before creating a website mockup ask what goals the client wants the website to achieve. Find out whether they want something as simple as putting their contact information online for visitors to see or full online interactive applications. By knowing the website’s goals it will help to design the website mockup right the first time.

Company Goals Or Client Goals

Good websites need to be kept up to date, so it’s a good idea to ask the client what your client’s future goals are as to the company or business. Knowing what to prepare for down the road will help when designing a website so that it will allow for easier modifications in the future. There is nothing worse then having to practically re-design a website layout because the original layout did not compensate for future content updates and changes.

Website Design Preferences ( Look & Feel )

Trying to guess at a color scheme when creating a website mockup is actually harder than finding a needle in a haystack. Instead of trying to guess, ask the client what colors they like. In some instances, the color scheme of the mockup is determined by the company’s logo or already established identity.

Ask the client for examples of websites they like, by doing so you can get a good understanding of their taste, which is important in designing their website mockup. Since not everyone has the same taste it’s a great idea to get a feel for what your client likes. By knowing what the client likes on other sites, it will help to understand what they envision their website to look like.

Is SEO Important?

It is a good idea to know prior to creating a website mockup if you client wants a Search Engine Optimized website. Building a search engine optimized website requires a lot more time and planning than a non search engine optimized website. If SEO is important to the client than you can take the opportunity to explain to them that designing/building a search engine optimized website requires more time on your part which in turn means more money is required from them. In a lot of cases, this simple question can make the designing of the mockup for the project more profitable.

Understand the Client's Expectations

Find out what the client sees their website looking like in their head? If you know what they envision their site to look like it will make designing their website mockup easier. Sometimes the client’s mind is blank which leaves the creativity up to the designer. On the rare occasion the client actually has an idea in their head it can give you a good place to start designing your mockup.

Creating a project scope could very well be the single most important step in designing a website mockup. The following is a small example of how WebDuck Designs creates a project scope.

Click Here to download a simple generic project scope in a PDF format.

Please take note that creating a project scope not only help with the designing / creating of a website, but it also defines what your responsibilities are as the designer / developer as well as what the client is actually paying for. This step, in some cases, can prove to be invaluable, especially when you are dealing with clients that like to add “little” things here and there that eventually add up to a project with little or no profit margin. When the scope of a project is clearly defined it gives the developer the control over whether or not to charge for add-ons. If a client wants to add something that you feel you should charge for, then you have the right to do so. On the other hand it gives the developer the opportunity to “throw things in” that are not on the scope, which helps enhance your relationship with the client and shows good customer service practice. Even if the change or add on takes you 5 minutes, make sure to mention it is not listed in the project scope but you are doing it for them anyways.

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