How We Were Able To Finally Streamline Our Web Design Process

Ok so there’s something you should know about us. Before we developed Yalla, we were a web design and internet marketing agency. In fact, our experience working with tons of different types of businesses is what helped to shape the way we built Yalla.

We built Yalla for us to use internally and realized that it also had lots of value to our clients. Many of the problems we faced in our business, our clients also faced in their respective businesses even though we were in different industries.

The biggest problem we faced in our web design business was the never ending web design project. If you’re a web designer, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

We’d start a project for a client after a lengthy “sales process,” as we do everything we can to convince our new client that we’re “legit.” Then we go into the content gathering phase. This might be the most frustrating part of the process. Everyone wants a website finished “like yesterday” but no one likes to gather the content that needs to be on the website. And seriously…we don’t know your industry so you’re going to need to come up with that stuff on your own. Even a professional copywriter doesn’t have the ability to write authoritatively for a cardiologist.

So back and forth we go trying to get information from the client. We would really like to get the project done and moving, but sometimes a client might go months without responding. Then one day they’ll respond and ask if their website is done…and we’re like “cmon, are you kidding? We need to get your content before we can build the site!”

Finally we start to get some content, but it doesn’t come all packed up in a zip file. It’s more like someone decides to throw up all over us. A trickle of information hits our inbox. Awesome…but wait…the logo you sent is a PDF?

Google

After some time goes by, the designer finally gets enough information to build the site. A little content and a lot of Lorem Ipsum but were ready to show the client. After all if we never get done with the site, we’ll never be able to collect the second half of the fee to build the site!

You show the beta site and the client comes back to you and asks if there’s a way that you could “make it pop better.” You ask for some explanation but they’re “not quite sure what it is,” but they really think it should “pop more.”

Long story short…you realize that what they paid you for, the site isn’t going to cover even a tenth of what it’s going to cost to build the site after all of this back and forth.

The next email you get is from the client asking you to include his fourteen year old son in on the design process because he’s really smart and took a web course in junior high. Oh boy…

After too many of these situations, there came a day in which we needed to streamline our web design process or it just wasn’t going to work out for us as designers.

So we did two things:

1. We changed the way we sold websites to potential clients

The change we made was easy…and it actually helped us sell more websites. Not only did it help us sell more sites but it cut our design and invoice time down by 90%.

Here’s what we did. We would first determine what type of client we were working with. We offered one of two different types of websites and let the client decide what type of client they wanted to be.

The first type of website we would offer would be our “responsive lead gen website.” We would explain that this type of website is one that we will build based on our industry knowledge and experience. We ask the client to trust us with the look and feel, the call to actions, the layout…everything (aside from the content.) There isn’t a lot of back and forth and the client can ask for a few minor visual tweaks once we’ve delivered a beta site to them. We offer that type of site on average for about $1,200-$1,500 dollars.

The second type of website we’d offer the potential client is the “hand holding, meet whenever you’d like, make however many changes you’d like, collaborate as much as you want, call as much as you want” type of site. Call it what you want but we would offer that site starting at a minimum of $5,000 dollars and it could go way up from there. If a client isn’t worried about money, then we’ll let them turn us into their personal web design slaves.

web design process

But never again was someone going to take us for a ride for a $1,200 dollar site. As long as we gave them the option up front, most of them would go with the cheaper price and then let us do our job! If not…well then we’d bump them up to “the works” package and we were just as happy to make the big bucks.

2. We Built a Web Design Process Management System Into Yalla

Having a good web design process was something that we lacked. We had no idea what stage the various sites that we had begun to build were in. We kind of just hoped we’d remember to do what we needed to do for each client we were building websites for. That mentality works when you don’t have very much work, but is completely unsustainable when you start taking on more work. So we built a “process management” system called Funnels into Yalla to help us manage and visualize our web design workload. We created the various stages of the web design process and then we would drag, drop, and move the websites along the funnel until we reached completion. These funnels enabled us to know exactly where each website was and what needed to be done in order to move a website forward in the process.

Yalla Funnels

Then we built fully customizable email notifications that would go out to the the client when their website was moved by one of us into a new stage of the funnel. It saved us all kinds of time while giving us a clear picture of our workload. We knew exactly how many clients we had in “waiting for content” or “beta-site delivered.”

But we used Yalla’s funnels for so much more. We made funnels for sales, for internet marketing projects, and for anything else that required a process. We used the CRM with the client facing portal so that clients could log in, communicate with us, and see all of the outstanding projects that we had on the table for them. We used Yalla to save us from the insanity of trying to remember everything in our heads, in emails, and in text messages.

Just implementing these two simple items into our workflow enabled us to streamline our web design process, make more money, and have less headaches.

Let me know if you’ve come across something else that has helped your web design team streamline their web design process.

  • John Rowa

    Yes!

  • Yes! John…

  • Paul Testagrossa

    Dude. This is f***ing awesome.

    • Paul! This is definitely the kind of enthusiasm that gets us fired up! Thanks for it!

  • I, like many other web designers, constantly struggle with pricing. I love collaborating with clients on their site and the final result always achieves the desired goals, but this method of design is expensive and I often get passed over for agencies that can deliver sites within a two week turnaround on the cheap (vs. my 2+ months at $2000+ min). I’ve been searching for better ways of streamlining the process and like the idea of a cheaper option where there are fewer feedback touchpoints. What happens if they don’t like the site, though (how detailed is the final round of feedback)? Have there been issues with payment with the cheaper option? If a client gets bumped up to the next tier, is it at the $5000 min? Thank you for the helpful post!

    • Serina – It’s always changing for us… but the main reason we made the tiers so far apart was to emphasize the value of our time. Many of the small clients we quote under 2k think that they are entitled to run us ragged. That pricing conversation is more for the beginning of the relationship in order to get things off on the right foot and set boundaries. If they don’t like the site or if there are quite a few changes, we’ll normally make those changes happily but if they start to get out of control then we remind them that they chose to go with the lower tier, and part of that tier includes the fact that they decided to trust us with the design of the site in the beginning in order to save money. We offer to bump them up to the higher tier and provide as much collaboration as they need. That normally cause them to take a step back and not be as picky. If we bump them to the next tier, it doesn’t have to be $5,000. That price point is just there as a reminder to everyone that our time is valuable and we can’t go back and forth all day because their cousin went to design school and had some “suggestions.” 🙂 Thanks for your comment Serina!