Our Process for Nonprofit Website Strategy and Design

The process of creating or redesigning a website can seem daunting. But rest assured, you don't have to do it alone. We have an established website design process and will work with you  step by step. Every project is a little bit different, but our typical website project looks like this:

Before the project begins ... we start with WHY?

We've been building websites for over 15 years, and the very first question we ask when someone says they need a new website is, "Why?" Websites are expensive, and we don't want you to invest in something that doesn't help your organization fulfill its mission.

So, before we talk about features, pricing, or technology, we'll ask you to fill out a Website Worksheet.

The Website Worksheet is a handy planning tool. It will help you clarify what you'd like to get out of your website, and will be a valuable document to have on hand for planning. For us, it provides a nice overview of your organization's mission, goals and expectations, so we can evaluate and recommend solutions and next steps in the process.

After you've filled out the Website Worksheet, we'll schedule a phone call to discuss your challenges, goals, priorities and budget for your project.

Brainstorming and Discovery

The brainstorming and discovery part of any website project is our chance to conceptualize ideas, discuss how your growth and marketing efforts factor in with your website, and what we can accomplish together.

From here, we'll have developed a good idea of how your website will need to look and function to serve your needs, as well as those of your target audience.

We will then send you a detailed proposal outlining recommended solutions, timeline, and investment.

Content Planning and Sitemap

Once we've agreed to move forward on the project, and the proposal is accepted, we'll get your project scheduled. Then our team will roll up our sleeves and get to work.

After we have all the information we need from you (don't worry, we help with that part, too), we create a detailed plan and develop a sitemap of your website. Remember when you had to write outlines for school papers? Yeah, it's kind of like that. This will allow us to essentially make a checklist of how the site will be organized, what content we need, and what functionality will be developed.

Building a Prototype

Rather than explaining how we will build your site, and how users will interact with it, we'll show you. We build a simple interactive prototype to demonstrate how things like the navigation menu and page structure will function. Think of it like a sketch or blueprint, but clickable.

This is an opportunity for you to really look at the structure and function of the site, rather than trying to translate technical jargon or get sidetracked by things like whether the blue should be bluer or if we need an extra comma somewhere (those details come later).

Once we hammer out the functional details in the prototype, we move on to the design and development.

Goal-focused Design

Next comes the fun part for us, because we get to play with colors and fonts and layouts and images. Our goal is to create a design that reflects your brand and organization's needs, while staying focused on what your users (visitors, clients, donors, members, etc.) are looking for on your website.

At this stage, your website starts to come to life and it visually connects with your brand. During the web design process, we integrate the structure of the prototype with your content, images and photos, keeping your visitors in mind to give them a positive experience on your website (we don't want frustrated donors!).

Development and Build Process

Once your design mockups are approved, we move on to the development process, which we also call the website build.

During this phase, we integrate the structure of the prototype with the approved design, as we customize, develop, integrate and fine-tune the features on your website such as a blog, event calendar, contact forms, social media integration, photo galleries, newsletter sign up, etc.

Sometimes this is where clients get nervous because they feel like their content has to be perfect before we can move on. But don't worry, we'll show you how to edit your content so we can add to it any time after it's launched.

Finalization & Launch

After the design and build is completed, we then go underground for a short time to make sure everything is plugged in and tested, and prepare the final details before we launch your new site.

We review your site for mobile responsiveness, SEO-readiness, and accessibility basics. If your project entails advanced add-ons for SEO or Accessibility, this is where we're adding final touches or running post-development build audits.

Once the finalizations are complete, we'll ask for your final sign off, and then your new website will be live and ready to show off to the world!

Maintenance, Support & Growth

After your site is launched, we provide training to show you how to make updates to your site (if you'd like... you may just rather have us take care of it for you).

We'll discuss which Website Care Plan will best suit your needs. Some of our clients like us to manage backups and security but don't need much more than that, others like to us to also take care of their content updates and recommend new features, and many consider us an extension of their marketing team (or be their marketing team) to collaborate on website, social media, print design and marketing strategy.

It's totally up to you and what works best for the way you prefer to work, your budget, and your marketing goals.

Ready to get started?

We'd love to hear more about your project and see if we're a good fit.