When I design a website I consider many factors. First, I determine whether or not the website I am building is for personal use or for business use. These can be major differences when building a site. Most people are not near as picky when you are building them a personal site. However, most businesses have many specific requirements and it takes a lot more preparation time to get the job done correctly.
When I first meet with a client, I try to get a really good idea of what there business is about and what their goal is for their website. Some people simply want a website for the sake of looking professional and having an easy way to find their company. While others want their website to be a foundation for their business by bringing in more revenue. This is key information to find out.
Once I have an idea of their wants and needs, I will then get an idea of how many pages they are wanting and if a lot of custom coding or database integration is necessary. This all affects the amount of time spent on designing a site and can greatly influence the price. It is very important to know these things up front so you don’t end up short-changing yourself or surprising your client with an enormous bill at the end of the project.
Next step is to outline the project and create a time line for myself in order to estimate the length of the project. You will want to do this especially if you have more than one client. You will have to learn to set aside time for specific tasks and if you have it all laid out in the beginning, its very easy to maintain.
Finally I will begin to build the website and present it to them once it is completed. I do not like to show the client progress of the site as I am building it for many reasons. One is that they always criticize the unfinished work and its easier if they do not see it at all. The other reason is that when you work with them throughout the entire project, they tend to change their minds often, causing you more work.