I was approached by a friend recently to build her husband a website from scratch. He’s a plumber so this is a simple, modern brochure website with a contact form and some details about who he is and the work he does.
If you are interested in doing something similar, this is my process of creating a site like this from the very beginning, including some extra design stuff that isn’t normally part of these types of builds. I hope it helps you get started online too. 🤓
Planning the build.
I always approach projects like this by thinking through what the client will need, trying to pick out things that they might not have thought of yet. In this case, the client has zero assets they can provide, so it’s going to be a comprehensive build on my side.
They have nothing, so at this stage I think I will need to create these assets;
- A logo.
- Colour scheme.
When providing stuff like this for a client who only has an idea, it’s best to show 2-3 options of everything. In my experience, when someone can’t tell you exactly what they want, they will be able to tell you what they don’t want when they see examples.
Think of it as the process of elimination, but in reverse! 💪
Then I make a list of items which I know the client can help with or create for me. This will keep them busy while I am creating the frame work for the site.
- Access to the domain and/or hosting, if they have any.
- Copy for the about page
- Copy for the services page
- Copy for the contact page (at this point, I don’t know where the business is based)
- Sort through my proposed images and logo options.
Normally I would send wireframe layout options for a client to choose from, but because this is a simple build I won’t need to do this. A classic 1-page layout will be perfect.
My next step is to email the client with my proposed list and make sure I am right in my assumptions, propose a plan to move forward, and give them a rough time frame as to how long this will take.
The best advice I ever received on giving a time frame was to double what you initially think, even small jobs are never as easy as you think. YOU WILL FORGET SOMETHING, so allow for that now. If you think a job will take you 1 week, tell the client it takes 2 weeks.
Register the Domain and Hosting.
At this point, I have sent propsoed images, logo ideas and color schemes over to the client for review, but they have already decided on a domain so I can move forward with that while they review my email.
Let’s start with the domain, it doesn’t matter where you register this so go with whoever is cheapest. I have always used Blacknight here in Ireland because their customer service is amazing, but I also use Go Daddy because they can be cheaper for the first year of some more expensive domains.
While the savings aren’t huge, if you are working with a cost consious client it can work in your favour to try and save them money at every turn. Plus, if you can save them $10 100 times, that a lot of money for some people!
If you are new to WordPress, or building websites in general, go with someone like Site Ground who will be able to assist you in every step of the way. It costs a LITTLE more than some other options, but they make it so straightforward it’s worth it.
Sitegorund usually offer a free domain with their hosting packages, so for an all in one solution for a beginner, this is a great option.
There are loads of articles around the web about which WordPress host is “best” or “fastest” so I won’t go into that here, but the WP Buffs blog has an excellent list of reputable hosting providers which you can use to decide if you don’t want to use Site Ground.
Because every host is different, I won’t go through how to get WordPress installed and set up, but if you run into trouble here, use your host’s live chat or support desk for help. Most hosts are happy to install it for you to get you setup. If that doesn’t work, hit me up on Twitter and I’ll help if I can. 🦸
And that’s it, at this stage you have proposed your design to your client, you have registered their domain, bought hosting and installed WordPress which is ready for the build.
When the client comes back to you, move onto Part 2 which covers wireframing your design.