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Website Rebuild Process with Natalie McGuire Designs

Have you thought about building a website?

Maybe you’re an entrepreneur, maybe you just like writing and creating content, or perhaps you just want to be more social and you want be more engaging online.

In either case my belief is that having a website is a very important starting point.

Of course people will argue this point with me a thousand ways, but it all depends on what you want to accomplish with your entrepreneurial endeavors.

DeanBlog2

This is a glimpse into what the new site at www.deancantave.com will look like in Spring 2016.

In this post I want to talk about the process that I’ve been going through with re-building my current website at www.deancantave.com with web designer to the internet stars Natalie McGuire.

It’s been so much fun I feel as if I could do 10 more of these websites, just because!

In the video below I outline a brief overview of the process working with Natalie McGuire, her use of the Trello project management system, and some quick facts about blogging.

FIRST, THE BACKGROUND STORY

TrelloScreenshot

A screenshot of the Trello project management system that Natalie uses to manage client design projects. This system is by far one of the best project management systems I’ve experienced when engaging a contractor for such a project. Very intuitive, easy to use, and simple for the client to engage with Natalie during the process.

I have spent a great deal of time contemplating what I wanted my business to look like, how I wanted to approach it, and the best way for me to stand apart from everyone else that is doing what I am doing.

I’ve studied some of the top bloggers on the internet for years. Some notable names that you may know such as Derek Halpern, Ramit Sethi, Michael Hyatt, Pat Flynn, and Marie Forleo just to name a few.

I’ve had my current site at www.deancantave.com up for a few years now but I’ve done very little with it, or let me say I haven’t done as much with it as I could have.

So the first decision that was necessary in this journey of being a blogger/author/speaker was to establish the brand. And in establishing the brand I needed to set a baseline of some very fundamental things:

  • Who is the blog targeted at

  • Blog and logo colors that help define the brand and make it recognizable

  • Blog design

  • Blog functionality

My current site is sitting on a WordPress theme. There isn’t really anything wrong with a site sitting on a WordPress theme except that all of the major players online—most of the ones that I just mentioned about who are six-figure and seven-figure income earners in the space—more likely than not do not have sites sitting on basic WordPress themed blogs.

More likely than not they all have sites that are built on WordPress, yes, but they’re all coded and custom designed. One of the most important aspects of going into business is studying what the best of the best are doing in your niche or industry so you can have a starting point.

About two years ago I decided I wanted to pursue a custom coded and designed site but the funds weren’t there to start the project. All of that changed over the past year and I decided to engage Natalie McGuire at nataliemcguiredesigns.com to aid me with this process and it’s been an exciting and fun journey. Not to mention everything that I am learning as a result of implementing.

Accomplishing anything great is all about implementation and execution.

So here is what the process looks like with Natalie McGuire Designs

When you first engage with Natalie you’re going to have to get on her calendar. At one point she worked for another firm in the graphic design space before she decided to venture out on her own as an entrepreneur.

She eventually did that and her business took off. So much to the point now that she has at least a 6-month waiting period before she can work with you because of the demand for her services. So if you book with her now you can expect to wait at least 6 months before she can start your project.

Once you’re on her calendar she gives you a project launch date, but before the start of the project here is what you’ll need to cover with her:

  1. Questionnaire – This questionnaire is very detailed. It asks you questions like “What do you like about your business?” “What are you customer’s biggest frustrations and fears?” She will also ask questions about your market and your audience and she will ask questions about your website structure. What she is trying to do is develop a scope, which is very familiar term for those in the project management space. The scope of the project is everything that’s entailed to get to a place where the client is ultimately happy. It’s everything that’s defined and covered in the projec, of which she is responsible for delivering in the end.

  2. Proposal – This essentially comes first during the initial conversations that you will have with her. The proposal defines all of the work that needs to be on the website, the objectives, the website development plan, the outline, the actual timeline to completion, and a very detailed description and outline of the design process.

  3. Client deliverables – Weeks before the project is set to start Natalie is going to require you to do some work. Yes, you can pay her to do some amazing things on the internet but you can’t pay her to build and create your brand. So what she will need from you ahead of time to make the process go faster is:

  • Website copy

  • Website photos

  • Site hosting information

Natalie needs all of this so on day 1 she can begin running with the process without issue and also so she can complete the project on time and according to schedule.

She also has other clients that she is works with as well but one thing I can tell you is that throughout the entire process she makes you feel as if you are the only one that matters. You never know that she is working with other clients because of the level of attention and detail she gives you during the build.

 

THE BUILD with Natalie McGuire Designs

Dean Cantave Brand Board

Once the build begins she starts by taking feedback from the questionnaire and developing what she calls “mood boards”. She uses an online site called Trello to organize the project. Trello allows you to break out the project into “boards” or basically all of the distinct parts of the project that she is required to work on.

The first process of the build is design. This is all of the graphics, or the visual pieces of the site that come first. All of the text, pictures, and HTML and CSS coding that make the site look vibrant and colorful.

As the weeks progress you will collaborate with Natalie via Trello as the two of you bounce ideas, give feedback, and approve her work as the project progresses.

For every page that she is required to deliver per the agreed proposal she typically gives 3 rounds of revisions. Of course we always want to make changes and tweak things here and there so this gives you an opportunity to do just that.

You’ll repeat this design and feedback process for every page that you requested for the website. If you have other design elements that you want done just as eBook opt-in’s you’ll also discuss this along the way as well.

For my custom site I am incorporating a Podcast at some point for future growth. This is a very specific and key consideration because the functionality of having a Podcast on the site is something that needs to be included in the design from the start.

Anything that you want on your site now or in the future should be considered because it can cut down on costs later if you decide to make changes.

The incorporation of a Podcast entails very specific files that need to be added to the server ahead of time.

Every web page must be approved before she can hand all the files to a Developer for coding. The developer must also must have all the items listed on a Development Checklist Card that is required to complete the website.

Coding typically takes four to six weeks on a development server which is a technical strategy that allows you to build and test functionality of a website before going live to the internet.

This allows the developer time to custom code the site, it gives time for Natalie to load in all of your content, and it also gives both of them time to test the site on multiple browsers and platforms (from desktop to mobile to tablet). Once it’s 100% perfect on their end, Natalie will have you review and play with the site to make sure everything works and operates in the way you intended it to.

Once you approve the development site, then, her team will launch the site by putting the development site on your actual domain.

And Voila! Time for tequila!

You can be on the lookout for the launch of my new site in April 2016.

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