The Two-Week Website: How It Works + Why You'll Love It
You have a small business or creative venture. As a result, you’re supremely busy — and, thankfully, supremely badass (because what small business owner or creative entrepreneur isn’t?). The to-do list is never-ending, but you don’t actually hate it — you just know you have business to handle, and handle it you will. You are a badass after all.
And one of the main things on any small business owner’s to do list? Build a fabulous, professional, legitimate website to showcase just how fabulous, professional and legitimate you and your business actually are! And while there are plenty of tech savvy entrepreneurs out there who build their own sites (whom I applaud!), there are also plenty of entrepreneurs who don’t have the time to figure out templates, SEO, coding, styles and more — and these folks (whom I also applaud because they deserve it too, and I just like to share the love) also deserve kickass websites. The best way I’ve found to provide kickass sites AND kickass customer service?
The two week website!
First of all, credit where credit is due: this idea originated with Lauren Hooker of Elle & Company, and I discovered it through Squarespace Expert and web-tech extraordinarre, Paige Brunton. Both gals (whom I now worship for the knowledge they have bestowed upon me) had their own ways of working the two-week website to fit their business styles, and so do I. And honestly it can work for a multitude of business types (so check it out, because it may even work for you!).
So how do I work this system with my clients, and why do my clients and I love it more than we love cake? (Okay, maybe that’s too far…) So glad you asked!
Here’s the process in a nutshell (with more in depth details below):
Here’s how my clients and I get the ball rolling on this process:
Choosing + Booking a Design Date
First, my clients look at my calendar at the bottom of my Web Design page, and pick whichever one works best for them. My calendar is kept super up-to-date — availability is changed within 24 hours of a new client booking their slot!
From there, clients sign up for a free consultation call — this is where we get to know each other! I get to learn about the client, their business and what they’re looking for in a site, and they get to learn about me, my process and what I can offer them. We can ask and answer each other’s preliminary questions and decide if we’re a good fit from there (spoiler alert: if you toss around quotes from Parks and Rec, you’re automatically a “good fit” in my books).
If (whem, when) we decide we’re stoked to work together (yay!), then clients put down a 50% deposit to officially book and hold their design date, and we celebrate exciting things to come!
Pre-Design Fun Time
Good news: once the design date starts, the client is pretty much done with any work they need to do. Other news: clients have got a bit of “homework” before we start. Notice that I said “other news” instead of bad news, and put homework in quotes — because the things clients have to do pre-design aren’t “bad” and they (hopefully) won’t even feel like work. Most clients actually have a lot of fun with them!
Once a clients has officially booked a date, I send along a welcome packet that includes a step-by-step guide of our process and solid details about what I need from them. This pre-design work includes: creating a Pinterest inspiration board, compiling their content (i.e. photos and copy for the site), and answering a questionnaire that helps me get a feel for the client’s style, what their site might need and what they’d like to get from it.
This pre-design work is actually super important, especially since we’re on a two week schedule — there’s not a lot of wiggle room, so having these items ahead of time helps to expedite the process. It’s actually great for me and for clients because then I am able to to align with their website vision right off the bat, plus clients don’t have to go in later and swap out any text or photos — when I give clients their site at the end of the two weeks, it is 100% done (i.e. no fake text placeholders or fake photo boxes).
And now for the break down of the two weeks!
Week One (Monday)
Excitement! Happiness! Creativity! Clients and I share this and more during a one hour, touching-base phone call, where we’ll go over the items from the Pre-Design Checklist, talk about their Pinterest inspiration board, questionnaire answers and overall vision for their site to make sure we’re on the same page (and of course, answer any questions or concerns) before I dive in. After our call, I’ll create their mood board in Squarespace and ask them to look it over before we move forward.
I’ll be working away! I’ll design the client’s site structure, build their pages, add their photos and text, format everything to their brand and style, add links and button functionality, and add navigation basics. The only thing they need to do (besides take a deep breath and maybe a bubble bath because they deserve it) is be relatively available via email in case I have any other questions for them as I build. By Friday evening, I’ll have a link to send to them to look it over (it won’t be live, it’ll just be for them -- don’t worry!) and they can start making notes for…
This is where we’ll tweak and edit until their site looks and functions exactly like they hoped. Clients can request unlimited revisions -- our only deadline is our Week Two Friday, so the faster they can give me edits, the more edits we can make! ! I’ll also be optimizing their entire site for the best SEO practices, linking their third-party integrations (i.e. social media, newsletter or email systems, scheduling systems, etc.) and making sure all of their navigation is functional and their site is uniform.
Week Two (Friday)
The day has arrived! The client and I will hop back on the phone (or on Skype if we decide on a screen-sharing session) so that I can walk them through the basics of your site. In my mind, it’s really no fun to need a developer on hand for every minor change they need make to their site in the future -- I want the client to know their way around it and feel confident making some back end changes when they need to! Lastly, they’ll send me their final payment while we’re on our call and then we’ll LAUNCH! They will have a fabulous, brand spankin’ new site, the bubbles will flow and they can bask in the excitement (and then send the live link to all of their friends and family because YAY)!
After Week Two
I sent my clients some goodies because I love them. ;)
Why Clients + I Love This Process
Now that you’ve got a better picture about how all of this works, let me tell you why my clients and I loveee it. It boils down to three essential things: a guaranteed launch date, the potential for unlimited revisions and undivided attention.
Guaranteed Launch Date
As entrepreneurs with goals and plans, most clients have specific days and times where they count on things — and the day their website launches should be one of them! It’s common for design projects with agencies to drag on longer than anticipated, so knowing exactly which day your site will be live and ready can be a welcome advantage (especially if launch parties are involved too!).
No Limit on Revisions
Also unlike a lot of design agencies out there, I don’t put a number limit on the amount of revisions my clients can have — our only deadline is the Friday we launch! This means (as mentioned earlier) that the faster the client can get their edits back to me, the more edits we can make! We’ll make sure everything is up to par and ready to go on our final Friday call before we launch, too.
Okay let’s be honest, who doesn’t just love this in general? (…me. I do.) In all seriousness, this is my favorite advantage of the two week system — I love being able to not only provide my clients with one-on-one attention for two straight weeks, I also get to provide them with the knowledge that their project and their business or creative undertakings are a priority. I love being able to really get to know my clients and their unique plans, goals and dreams, and I love providing them with the knowledge that I want to help them bring all of those things to life…and I CAN because they’re my number one priority! (This is also the part where we become fast friends and I brag about your business to everyone I know.)