So you want to earn money by making websites? Five years ago, I was in your shoes searching for an article like this one.
Whether you know it or you’re about to find out, building a website for a client has a lot of moving pieces.
You need to design, hosting, building, communication with the client, learn how to structure your contract, and more. On your first project, you’re almost guaranteed to miss something, and that’s okay. You’ll get better with every site you build.
I would’ve saved so much time if someone sat me down before my first project and showed me their workflow and the tools they used.
And that’s what we’ll do today, show you the end-to-end workflow of how I create a website for a client.
Hi, I’m Dylan, a Cloud Engineer living in Oregon. I made my first website for a client as a Senior in high school.
That was five years ago. I like to think my workflow is dialed in now. But it wasn’t always that way. It took a ton of trial and error. Hopefully, by showing you the end-to-end process of how I make websites for clients, you can save yourself the hours of trial and error I went through to find a workflow that works.
First is your initial meeting with your client. The first meeting sets the tone for the rest of your interactions.
Before we start the meeting, I think about getting my client in the right mindset. And throughout the whole meeting, I stress the value of a high-quality website. They’re usually busy people and view overhauling their website as a “chore”. So I make sure they know that the time they spend working on it will transfer to their bottom line.
I have a few goals for this meeting,
If there’s one thing to steal from me, it’s asking the golden question.
⭐️ When someone comes to your website, what do you want them to do?
This allows me to understand how I can help them achieve their business objectives.
At the end of the day, 99% of the time the website exists for users to buy, schedule an appointment, or subscribe.
A tip for getting the vibe is to come to the meeting prepared with three websites of similar businesses. Let them tell you what they like and dislike about each.
I keep all meeting notes in a Google Drive shared with the client so we can both reference them as the project goes on.
Next, I use Figma to make an initial design of the website. It’s tempting to hop right into building, especially if you’re new to the tools, but trust me, just taking the time to learn a design tool like Figma will save you so much time down the road.
The mockup stage is where you want to get as close to your final design as possible. Once you and the client are both in love with the design, then and only then, move to the next step.
Once we love the design, it’s time to build.
For a long time, I thought it was cool to build a website from scratch using pure HTML and CSS. I had this fear that the client would think I’m cheating if I used Wix.
And you know what, they don’t care at all. They want an awesome website. That’s all they want.
⭐️ Actually, let me repeat that. All they want is an awesome website, they don’t care how you got there, that’s why they hired you.
It’s up to you as the expert to decide the best tools for the job. If I’m making a static website for the local dentist’s office, I use Wix; they don’t need anything custom and it’ll probably look better than trying to design it on my own.
If they need something custom, I use React, Tailwindcss for the front end and AWS Amplify for the backend.
After the website is built, test it thoroughly then show it to the client. Almost always there will be some changes.
Once you’re both happy it’s time to deploy. If you’re using Wix, they make it obvious how to deploy through them and as of right now will give you a free domain name for a year if you sign up for a premium package.
If they don’t have the domain name promo, I use NameCheap.
Amplify is also very straightforward to deploy and connect a domain name. I just follow the steps on the dashboard.
Lastly is payment. One of the most difficult parts I have in the whole process is getting my clients to pay me.
I finally found a strategy this year that works out of ClockWork by Mike Michalowitz.
⭐️ When we negotiate the price, in the beginning, I offer the client a 15% discount if they pay in full upfront. I just mark the price up 15% so I’m still getting paid what I want if they say yes, and if they say no, they still pay half upfront or we make milestones.
And there you have it. This was a 10,000-foot overview, let me know if you want more depth on any of the steps.
In the beginning, I referenced the hi-five conversion formula. The ultimate goal of your customers' website is for someone to buy, schedule an appointment, or subscribe and the formula outlines how to make a website that does that. Check out the YouTube video here if you’re interested.
Thanks for reading, I’ll see you in the next article!