Behind the Scenes of a Website Makeover – PART I

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Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of a web design process? I’d like to share with you an insider view of the process of a web site makeover in this two part series. You’ll learn what happens from start to finish including: getting the job, pricing the job, creating an action plan, outsourcing the work, and finishing the job.

PART I

Getting the Job

My client, Joanne Jordan, came to me by referral of my business coach Philip Humbert.
She had an existing web site, done for free by a friend, and wanted to update it. While her original site looked nice, she wanted to upgrade the look of it to create a more professional appearance.

I wrote Joanne back and told her that I’d take a look at her site and give her a quick estimate along with a brief set of recommendations for the site. So, off I went to look at the home page of her site. Take a peek at a screen capture of the old home page here: Old Home Page

The Problem

While her entry page was okay, it lacked in a couple of areas. First of all, it didn’t really tell the visitors WHAT Joanne’s company did (COACHING) and it also did little to interest the visitor to click and visit the rest of the site.

Additionally, her site was in need of a visual boost! We could create a new set of graphics that would drastically improve the professional appearance of her web site.

Another problem was that her site lacked consistent navigation for the site. She had about 3 different layouts and configurations of buttons and links and it made navigation confusing. Some pages had the buttons on the bottom like this page Old Navigation Page . And other pages featured these same buttons placed as left navigation. This can confuse visitors and make it difficult to navigate her web site. I proposed to change all pages to have consistent left navigation buttons.

Lastly, she needed some help getting her site search engine ready. Her site only had Meta tags on the front page, YIKES! If she added some keyword and description tags to her other pages it could help improve her search engine find-ability for those pages. And Joanne couldn’t even remember the last time she submitted her site to the search engines.

The Solution

What this site needed was some new professional graphics, rewritten sales copy, and some help to get her more "search engine ready". And so off I went to write up a set of recommendations and present the quote to the client.

Pricing the Job

My rate is $80 per hour. I price as such because I have three years experience as a designer and 9 years of professional marketing. As an experienced designer, I can accomplish in 1 hour, what might take a novice designer 2 hours to complete.

For simplicity I quote a rate of $80 per page instead of the traditional hourly billing system. It usually takes about 1 hour per page. It’s a win-win situation that works better for both my clients and I.

My clients feel more comfortable when I quote them by the page rather than the mysteriously elusive hourly rate. When a web designer quotes an hourly rate it leaves the final cost in the air. This can be a little scary and a bit of a turn-off for some clients.

Finally, as a busy working mother of two, the per page rate makes for easier billing! Keeping track of hours when you are working 5 minutes, cleaning up a spill and ending disputes over sharing toys etc. can be a pain. Billing by the page is an easy alternative.

Here’s my proposal note to her

I took a brief look at your web site and would recommend the following:

$250 New Graphics, logo, headers, including mouseover buttons
$125 to apply the new graphics to the site
$75 to develop meta tags and register you with the search engines
$25 per month hosting

If this sounds good and you’d like to get started or have questions, please
give me a call at 1-888-212-3255.
Sincerely,
Kristie Tamsevicius
Kristie’s Custom Design
www.kcustom.com

How I Won the Client

Joanne was thrilled and said that my ideas were within her budget. So we agreed to start work. She also said that while she talked with several designers, the reason she chose to work with me was because I offered help with conceptualizing and enriching her content. The other designers would simply cut and paste what she sent them. She was looking for creative and marketing help and I was going to provide it!

"So glad I called you! I'm going to email Phil (the person who referred her) and let him know how helpful his suggestion was. After speaking with you, I felt so comfortable and excited about my new web site.

Warmly,
Joanne"

Stay tuned to SitePoint for more on what goes on "Behind the Scenes of a Website Makeover".
Part II, Now on SitePoint!

Part II will discuss getting the project started, outsourcing part of the job, discovering a new look for the client, graphics/content changes, submitting to the search engines, and most importantly the client’s reaction.

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