When outlining the web design and development process, almost all freelancers and agencies list the exact same steps for building a WordPress website: discovery, design, development, and deployment. It’s a great first start, but those four steps don’t cover the whole project.
When planning a new WordPress project, my outline includes more of the project:
- Onboarding / Discovery
- Website Launch
- Training / Follow Up
This six-step website creation process keeps the focus on the client and uses more simple terms they understand. This breakdown of the creative process also provides specific milestones that allow you to connect with the client more often, nurture the relationship, and ensure their experience is in alignment with your brand.
Each project milestone is an opportunity to take a break from email, get out of your project management system, and have a live, personal, real conversation with your client, where you not only talk about the WordPress project you’re working on together, but you banter back and forth a bit and get to know each other better.
Let’s take a look at the five client touchpoints every successful WordPress project should include to maximize client experience:
1. Project Kick Off
As soon as the client signs and returns their contract and pays their deposit, it’s time to welcome them to your business and to the project. Instead of just welcoming new clients with an email, add a quick welcome call or project kick-off video chat to your process so you can connect with your client personally, set the tone for the entire project, and prepare your client for what comes next.
2. Design Strategy
After your automated onboarding process educates your client about WordPress and your process, equips your client with the language and understanding they need, and empowers them to communicate confidently with you, it should deliver a project questionnaire. The receipt of this completed questionnaire brings the second touch point opportunity: the design strategy call.
On this phone call or video chat, clarifying answers the client provided in the questionnaire, digging deeper into their thoughts and reasons behind them, and asking questions.
You need this call or chat to gather the information and insight needed to begin the design of the WordPress project.
Your clients need this call to feel like they are part of the project and that they have a voice, and to feel listened to and heard and valued.
Even if you feel like you don’t need a design strategy call, do it anyway because the design part of the project provides the best opportunities to engage with the client and help them fall in love with you.
3. Next Steps
Official design approval creates the perfect third major client touchpoint opportunity. When the client approves the design mockups and the project moves into the design phase, schedule a phone call or video chat with the client to discuss the next steps.
The development phase of a website project is the part of the project that is most removed from the client, which also tends to mean that it’s the part of the project clients understand the least. Because development is this semi-mysterious thing that happens behind the scenes, there is typically very little client interactions during this time, and when a client doesn’t hear from you, they start to wonder what you’re doing and if you’re even working on their project.
A next steps meeting allows you to personally connect with the client, celebrate the completion of the design process and outline exactly what comes next and what will happen during development. If the client has anything they need to get done, it’s also a great time to remind them of their homework.
4. Launch Preparation
At the end of the development phase, as you near the website launch, schedule the fourth live touchpoint, a launch preparation meeting—and again, this can be a phone call, video chat, or even an in-person meeting.
Many clients aren’t aware of all the work that goes into a website launch and think it’s like flipping a switch, so the launch preparation call provides an opportunity to explain what goes into a website launch (all the work you’re doing). On this call, you can also schedule the actual launch, the post-launch training, and let the client know what you need them to do.
5. Training / Follow Up
The fifth and final major client touchpoint is the website training session, ideally done through video chat and screen sharing or live in-person. During the website training, in addition to walking the client through their new WordPress website, this is the perfect opportunity to continue any conversations you may have had with the client about additional services, seal the deal for ongoing support, or upsell future work.
Live Client Touchpoints Elevate Your Relationships
As people who work behind a computer every day, it can be easy to fall into a rut of only communicating by email because it is easy.
But here’s the thing—when you connect with your clients live in-person, on the phone, or through a video chat, they get to hear your voice, see your facial expressions, or watch your body language. They get to connect with you on a deeper level and you get the ability to banter back and forth with a casual conversation that helps everyone on the call or at the meeting get to know each other better.
The small talk that happens during these touchpoints—asking about their weekend, family, weather, sports, etc.—helps strengthen the relationship and the stronger your relationship is, the longer the engagement will last, the more work they will send your way, and the more money you will make.