KillerSites Blog

The Web Design Business Process

January 9, 2008

The web design business process is what happens between the web designer and the client they are serving.

The following article targets two groups of people:

  • Web designers who want to get into the business of web design.
  • People who are looking to higher a web designer and want to get a better idea of the process – at a high level.

When first approached by someone looking to get a web site built, the first thing you need to do is figure some details about the website. Things like:

  • Features/functionality; do they need e-commerce, a blog, password protected pages etc.
  • Scale: how big will the website be? How many pages?
  • Purpose of the site: will it be a branding site? Will they need to be found by the search engines or will the site be more about serving an established client base?

These basic questions can have a big impact on how you build the site, the budget and the skills you will need as a web designer/consultant to complete the job.

To make my life easier, I’ve put together a quick to fill out web design quote form for clients – it saves a lot of time.

It is important that you keep forms like this as short as possible. Long forms usually means you will asking questions that many clients will simply not have the answer too … this can be very frustrating for people. And you don’t want to start asking nerd-details like: ‘Do you need PHP?’

… I can guarantee that most clients will not know PHP from CSS!

Side note:

That reminds me of something; don’t try to sell your web design skills or a website based on CSS or some other nerd centric topic. Most clients will not care, because they will have no idea what you are talking about!

Instead, keep it high level: if you want to stress that you are using CSS, just say that you build websites using modern methods that help keep cost low.

Back to the discussion …

Once we have the above information, this is how we typically proceed:

  1. We would get more details from the client regarding what exactly they want for their site.
  2. We would then present the client with a few layouts for them to choose from. This is where website templates come in really handy.
  3. Once we’ve got the basic layout, style and color scheme the client likes, we put together the website using images and text that the client wants to use.

When do web designers get paid?

The best way to handle payment, so it is fair to both the client and the web designer, is to have the payment broken down in two or three stages:

  • Two payments: 50% up front and 50% on completion of the job.
  • Three payments: 33% up front, 33% on the delivery of the first draft and the final payment when the job is complete.

It is important that the client sign-off when the web site is complete. This will avoid arguments down the road.


This has been just an outline of the process of building a website from the business perspective. Yet, it should give you a good foundation to work with, either as a client or a web designer/consultant.

Thanks for reading,

Stefan Mischook