The Easiest Web Design Checklist for New Squarespace Designers

The Easiest Web Design Checklist for New Squarespace Designers

If you're just starting out as a web designer, the client process can get a little overwhelming. This is the exact checklist I've used with my clients from day one and it's helped me streamline, simplify and sharpen my web design process.

How it all begins:

I keep an inquiry form on my web design service page that gives me enough information to get started with a client upon receiving payment. The form is simple and tells me their industry, basic needs, and budget.

After a prospective client inquires about my services, I follow up with an email and quick phone call to discuss the scope of work. I personalize a contract for them send it over and once everything is signed and all fees are payed (lump sum or first monthly payment) we jump into my tried and true web design process...

The Easiest Web Design Checklist for New Squarespace Designers

Step 1: Prep

Action 1 - Basics: Send client your full questionnaire to fill out.  

Action 2 - Intro Meetings: Set up introductory meetings with your client. These 1-2 meetings will help you refine and expand on the responses you received in their questionnaire.

Action 3 - Industry Analysis: Research your client's industry to get a feel for your client's target audience and their most common pain points. Take notes on buzzwords used, similarities in visuals and typical website structure.

*Alert client of milestone achieved

Step 2: Kick off

Action 1 - Template : Choose 2-3 templates that meet your client's technical requirements (example: if they need a template that allows for a sidebar on all pages, you might select the Five template as an option).

If you choose to let your client in on this decision, make it clear to them that the template is customizable, so their site will not look like the template's design.

Once you've chosen a template, create a site map for the new site.

Action 2 - Settings: Toggle the backend settings. Make sure all business information, SEO, Marketing, Blogging, and Advanced settings are adjusted to your client's specifications.

Action 3 - Integrations: Set up integrations (Mailchimp or Convertkit, Gmail or Zoho mail, Facebook and Pinterest or any other social media site). When you take the time to integrate everything in the early stages, you won't be bothered with error messages when pulling content blocks later on.

*Alert client of milestone achieved

Step 3: Written content

Action 1 - Rough Draft: Based off of the sitemap you created in Step 2, Action 1, create wireframes and mockups for each page of content on your client's site. If they need a blog, you only need to create one draft for an example blog post (unless you and your client have another agreement in place).

You and your client should already know where the content is coming from adn who's responsibility it is to collect it (whether your client is writing all of it, outsourcing it or hiring you to handle it).

Action 2 - Revisions: Send the rough draft to your client for revisions. Depending on your client's standards, this could be a smooth, painless process or a lengthy, frustrating one so we'll hope for the best, but plan for the worst. 

It's best to keep this as an ongoing process during the project since changes can be easily made later one.

Management Tip: Give your client a hard date for when revisions are due so that you aren't rushing at the end, waiting for your client to get this part of the project completed on time.

Action 3 - Final Draft: Once you receive revisions from your client, whip up the final draft and send it over for final approval with a strict due date that is at least a 4-5 days before the final project is due (in case the client is late on delivery).

Management Tip: Be sure to have written in your contract that final drafts are FINAL and that you are not obligated to make any changes once they've approved this copy.

*Alert client of milestone achieved

Step 4: Customer journeys

Action 1 - Build your funnels: Create at least one purchase path and work with client to craft a brand story that will carry over through the content and graphics of the site.

Action 2 - Calls to Action: Determine where all buttons and calls to action will go on each page. Does your client need embedded forms for their customers to fill out? Map out where these will go and add them to your mockups.

*Alert client of milestone achieved

Step 5: Graphics/Look and Feel

You and your client should have already negotiated graphics (including photography and videography for the site) in the beginning stages and have outlined it in your contract.

Action 1 - Photography/Video Assets: If you're responsible for sourcing the stock photography and video assets for your client's site, now is the time to seek it out. Use free stock photo websites like StockSnap and Pexels or check out the Envato Market to gather visual content.

Action 2 - Vision Board: Put together a vision/brand board for your client. If you'd like to make this part interactive, ask your client to create a Pinterest board with some inspiration. Refine their recommendations and add your own. Then create a new one and send it to your client for approval. 

Action 3 - Brand Guidelines: Outline the brand guidelines for the site. If your client has brand guidelines from a previous designer and you've stuck to them, it's up to you whether you want to create an updated version.

*Alert client of milestone achieved

Step 6: Quality Assurance (QA) and Usability

Action 1 - QA: Make sure pages are loading within 3 seconds and lighten up the ones that aren't. If SEO is in your contract, optimize each page for designated keywords. 

Action 2 - Usability Testing: Comb through the site and make sure that all buttons, forms and links (text and graphics) are working and routing to the right destination.

*Alert client of milestone achieved

Step 7: Launch

Action 1 - Site Activation: Have your client login to their Squarespace portal and switch from a trial to a paid account. Activate the purchased domain for your clients site and re-route any outdated pages. 

Action 2 - Hand Off: Transfer ownership of the site to your client and depending on what you and your client agreed on, either add yourself as a contributor or remove yourself entirely.

Step 8 - Wrap Up

Action 1 - Final Meeting: Set up a final call with your client. Review the project with them, outline the progress you've made, and prove the ROI for them.

Action 2 -  Site Tour: You can do this 2 ways...

1) Give them a live tour and record it so that they can have a copy to refer back to

2) Send them a previously recorded, narrated tour of their site

During the tour, show them where to access basic settings, edit blog posts, view analytics, moderate comments, and manage e-commerce. You can choose to make this an add on and charge an extra fee for this or to make it complimentary.

Action 3 - Exit Interview: Send your client an exit questionnaire or conduct the interview over the phone. Make sure to ask what they loved about working with you and ask them to provide constructive feedback.

If they send mostly positive feedback, ask if they'd be willing to provide a video testimonial. Then thank them for their business (if you really want to wow them, send them a little something in the mail, like a thank you postcard).

Until next time,

Jorden Lacy

What does your web design project process look like?

 
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