When working on any type of project together, we believe that knowing exactly what is going to happen and when it will happen is the key ingredient to a successful working relationship and finished product.
Here at Exhale Design Co, branding and website projects are divided into three phases:
- Phase One: Discovery
- Phase Two: Design
- Phase Three: Development
Now that you know what the phases are, let’s dive into the WWW: why each phase is so important, what each phase involves and what happens after each phase is complete.
Phase One: The Discovery Phase
The purpose of the Discovery Phase is to gather important information about your business, your goals and wishes, any relevant website history we may need to take into consideration, and the features and functionalities you want and need on your website. Without this phase, it is difficult to outline the scope of work, provide an accurate project fee and set a realistic timeframe.
The bulk of the Discovery Phase is related to your website. However, if branding is part of your project, we’ll complete your branding discovery and brand design before beginning your website discovery. Completing your branding before your website is ready to launch will allow you to get business cards printed, social media profiles created or even have us build a coming soon page on your domain (incorporating your logo, colors and fonts).
While this phase is quite thorough, we assure you it will be stress-free and enjoyable. The goal of this phase is to ensure that the Design and Development phases run smoothly and efficiently.
Here's what the Discovery Phase looks like:
Contract and Payment
After our intro call, we’ll send over your contract and invoice for the Discovery Phase. The Discovery investment is $1,250 (+ tax for Texas residents), and more details on exactly what will occur during Discovery may be found below. But first, we interrupt this program to discuss your branding.
If Branding is part of your project:
- Branding Discovery is included at no additional cost and consists of one branding questionnaire and one branding strategy session.
- After the strategy session, we’ll send over your contract and first invoice for the branding portion of your project. A typical investment for branding is between $2,500-5,000 depending on the scope of the project.
- Once the branding contract is signed and the first invoice is paid, we’ll get started on your branding, which includes:
- A creative brief and mood board(s)
- Logo options and 2-3 rounds of revisions
- Design of any additional collateral per the contract (i.e. business cards, letterhead, social media templates, etc.)
- Final logo files and brand style guide (final invoice to be paid prior to delivery)
After branding is complete or if branding is not part of your project, we’ll begin the Website Discovery Phase. This phase consists of three questionnaires and three strategy sessions to be completed over the course of three weeks. After each questionnaire is completed, you will receive a link to schedule a strategy session where we will go over the information in your questionnaire and cover any additional details. Shorter strategy sessions ensure that we stay on task and have the opportunity to tackle any “homework” that may need to be done before the next session.
The purpose of this research phase is to dive deep into your business and your website goals so we can create the timeline for your project, know each party’s responsibilities, have a clear idea of your design and functionality preferences, and accurately quote your project. The questionnaires and strategy sessions focus on topics such as:
- Getting to know your business
- Website goals and project expectations
- Website content and functionality
- Email marketing and SEO
- Site design
- And much more!
Following our third strategy session, you’ll receive a Project Roadmap. This is a detailed summary of our strategy sessions as well as a sitemap for your website. The Roadmap will ensure that the scope of your project is clear and approved before moving to Phase Two—the design of your website. Your contract and first invoice for Phases Two and Three will be sent along with your Roadmap. Then, Phase Two begins!
The investment for custom website design and development starts at $3,500 and goes up based on additional features, functionality and pages beyond what is deemed essential for a website to perform well for site visitors and search engines.
Phase Two: The Design Phase
The purpose of this phase is to design the different elements of your website before we start the building phase. This allows us to visually experience how these different elements will look on the screen, such as your logo and navigation menu, parent and child pages, email opt-in form, footer, and many other key elements. Think of it as the architectural stage before we get out the hammer and nails to put it all together.
You'll review, provide feedback on, and approve all of the above elements before we move to the Development (a.k.a. building) Phase.
Phase Three: The Development Phase
During the Development Phase, we’ll take the designs you approved and bring them to life on the screen. You’ll review and approve various aspects during the building phase, and then we’ll complete a slew of tasks to ensure your site is ready to go live and be out there for the whole world to see and admire!
Right before your site is ready to go live, you’ll sign off on it and pay your final invoice. Within one week after your site launches, you’ll receive your personalized Website Owner’s Manual.
In case you haven't done so already by this point, now is the time to celebrate and show off your new online home to the world! CONGRATS!!
OK, so my site is live on the world wide web…what happens now?
A website is very similar to your home, car, and health. It takes ongoing maintenance to run smoothly and stay up to date. And just like your home, car, and health, a website comes with no guarantees that there will never be any issues. With proper maintenance and TLC, both of which are made possible by our Website Maintenance and Hosting Plan (WMP), your website will stay safe, updated, and backed up. If something were to go awry, the WMP has you covered with free hack repair; backups and the ability to restore a backup quickly and easily; and priority support for content updates, troubleshooting and more!
Your website project includes four weeks of email support and three months of the WMP. Two months after your site goes live, you will receive all the information you need to continue the WMP.
The WMP is $97/month for most websites, and higher-tiered plans are available for e-commerce and/or high traffic websites.
Frequently Asked Questions
We partner with WordKeeper to host all of our clients’ websites. WordKeeper is located in Oklahoma, and their team of highly experienced professionals can tackle any support issue quickly and easily. Some call them WordPress experts, we call them life-savers!
The fee you pay us for the WMP includes your hosting fee. In other words, we pay WordKeeper on your behalf so you have one less invoice to deal with.
WordKeeper provides 24/7 security monitoring of your website as well as daily backups, which can be quickly and easily restored whenever needed.
The WMP includes priority support, so whenever you have a question, something appears to be broken, or you need any other type of website assistance, just reach out by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have an after-hours, website-related emergency, you may contact WordKeeper directly at email@example.com. Otherwise, we’ll be your go-between so you only have to remember one email address to use for support requests.
You can always look at Google Analytics, but we understand that can be a bit daunting. If you need help reviewing and analyzing your website traffic, let us know so we can assist you.
We will do our best to accommodate your requests, but please keep in mind that anything outside the scope of your contract may incur additional fees and delay the launch of your website.
That’s great, and that’s exactly why we use the WordPress content management system! Your website is built to scale, and we are here to assist with any additional pages, features or functionality you need. Depending on your needs, we may bill your project at our hourly rate (with your WMP client discount) or it may require a custom quote.