“Client’s business as our own” refers to the approach of treating the client’s business with the same level of care, dedication, and commitment as if it were our own. It implies taking ownership, understanding the client’s goals and challenges, and working collaboratively to achieve mutual success.


Potential clients may be new to understanding how the project process works. Educating clients on your project process is a great chance to demonstrate your expertise, credibility, and authority in providing project that get results. In this post, we’ll break down the project process into different steps.



Quality is much more than building a project, and having a step-by-step approach to projects shows all the work and skill involved in developing a successful project. Maybe you’ve never thought about your approach to the design process in these terms, but maybe the outline in this post can help shape your own.

Take these steps and point new clients to your project process. Most clients will prefer a clear, actionable plan for their project, and clarifying your project process will help with communication throughout the project, ultimately leading to happier clients–and less work (and headaches) for you.

Step 1: Discover

The Discover phase of the project process is all about information-gathering. This step is important for you to understand more about your client’s business and industry, their target market and customers, and the ultimate goal/aim for the project.

While it’s easy to skip the discovery and planning steps and jump right into design, these first two steps are critical to building the correct project for a client’s needs.

Questions to Ask Your Clients During This Step:

What does your business or organization do?

What sets your business or organization apart from your competition?

Who are your competitors?

Who is your ideal customer?

Describe the concept, project, product, package or service this project is intended to provide or promote.

What is the goal of your project?

Who is coming to your project?

What is your dream for this project?

Is there a budget for their project?

The suggested questions are divided into seven main groups: client, project, audience, brand, features and scope, eCommerce, and time and budget. Each group offers important areas of potential information that will help shape the overall project.

Using the approach included in the Questions post, the Discover step of the project process is really more like an initial consultation meeting with a potential client. During they Discovery phase, you can better gauge the chemistry between you and the potential client, investigate the working conditions you will have with the potential client, and estimate the scope of the project.

This meeting is also when you can inform the potential client about your process of project (hint: this post!), and suggest additional features that can meet the client’s goals. This is also a good time to educate the potential client on the importance of your ongoing services for project maintenance.

Step 2: Plan

Just like information-gathering, the planning step of project is a critical part of launching a new project. As designers, it’s easy to want to jump right into the design step, since that’s the most creative (and enjoyable) part of a project. But, ultimately, research and planning will help clarify your objectives for the project and guide your design, so spend a generous amount of time in this stage of the process. Just like the saying, “measure twice, cut once,” spending time on project planning is a good investment that will ultimately save you time and even money in the long-run.

During the planning phase, you’ll want to review or create an SEO strategy for the project. Since projects often organize lots of information into a user-friendly format, this is also a good time to get an idea of missing content before you start designing anything. The planning phase also helps clients understand their role in meeting deadlines with content so the launch process isn’t held up.

The planning phase of project design includes 3 basic tasks:

1. Review Or Create An SEO Strategy

Consult with the client on search terms for their business/industry

Research and review keyword volumes

Create a spreadsheet of keywords/keyphrases

Audit existing content for SEO focus

Make a list of SEO content needs to fill gaps

Map keywords/keyphrases to existing or needed content

2. Create The Project Map

After working on an SEO Strategy, it’s time build the project map. A project map is essentially an outline of the structure of the pages that will comprise the project. Planning the project map prior to working on any project design has several benefits since you can build your design around the most important pages, plan the project navigation more efficiently, and get an overall idea of the content that still needs to be written.

Using your SEO Strategy, build a project map with appropriate page hierarchies and content silos.

Create an actual document for your project map/project outline. You can use the project map as a checklist to guide the project.

Include basic project pages (About, Contact, etc.) plus additional keyword/keyphrase pages.

3. Content Review & Development

The last part of the project planning process includes an in-depth review of the project content. You’ll need to take an audit of existing content (if the client has a project content already) and make a plan for producing new content. Clients can be responsible for creating new content, but sometimes it’s helpful to contract with a freelance writer to finish up content needs.

Review existing project content

Ask for non-project content such as brochures, business cards or flyers

Hire or assign writers for content needs

Put deadlines on content completion

Step 3: Design

The third step of the project process is to design how the project will look. In this step, a project wireframe is created with basic  elements such as the header, navigation, widgets, etc. The wireframe can then be moved into a more realistic mockup using a program such as Photoshop.

The challenge of good project design, like all design, is balancing form and function. Use the information you gathered in the Discover and Plan steps to shape your design. Good project designers have intention behind every design decision.

Design should also accommodate content. Content often accommodates design instead, and content ends up receiving very little attention. project content is the number one thing you want viewers to notice. For each page design, ask yourself these questions:

What is the main goal of the page?

Is it clear to users what action they need to take?

How does the design encourage users to take an action?

Good project designers also keep in mind how a design will translate to code. Even if you aren’t doing the development yourself, as a designer, it’s a good idea to invest in your coding skills. Have a developer review a design before it goes to the client.

Finally, use the Design step to finalize the overall look of the project with the client and discuss decisions for colors, typography, and imagery. Confirm the design with the client before moving on to any development.

Step 4: Develop

In the Develop step, the project design is translated to actual code that makes the project work. This stage can be the most lengthy, so keep clients informed on the status of the project.

A 3-sentence email like this one is great for maintaining client communication:

“This is what we did this week (past). This is where things are (present). This is what’s next (future).”

The basic steps of project development include:

Install project on a localhost or testing server.

Install a starter product, package or service.

Install a backup. Running a backup plugin during development makes it easy to

00001) revert file changes and

00002) move the project to the live domain or server for launch.

Using the mockup, translate the design to the live project.

Test and optimize along the way.

Step 5: Launch

Finally, it’s time to launch the project. Since there are so many steps involved in launching a project, it’s a good idea to use a checklist to make sure you haven’t missed a step.

Use these checklist posts to make sure your project launch goes smoothly:

The Complete project Launch Checklist for Developers

The Essential project Launch Checklist

The Ultimate project Checklist: 80+ Tasks for Every Project Owner

Step 6: Maintain

This last and final step of project is often overlooked by freelancers, but project maintenance is important for the long-term health and success of a project, as well as a source of potential recurring revenue.

Before a new  project even begins, educate potential clients on the long-term responsibilities of owning a project. Just like owning a car or house, a project will need upkeep and maintenance. Offer a monthly Project maintenance service to take project maintenance tasks off your clients.

On a basic level, a Project maintenance service includes the following necessary actions to keep a Project running smoothly:

Project Updates

Products, Packages or Services Updates

Project Backups

Project Security

Analytics Tracking & Reporting

Project Hosting

Project maintenance can also extend into other areas of project upkeep such as SEO, adding new content or updating existing content, comment approval/replies, spam cleanup and more.

If you manage multiple projects, use a service to manage Project updates and more from one dashboard.

Ask your clients: Is there a long-term strategy to edit, update, and promote your project? Who will be in charge of maintaining the project Be ready to offer your monthly maintenance rate and inform clients about hourly rates if they need you to fix project problems, make changes to content, etc.



By following these steps outline above, the project design process should go more smoothly. With a little research and planning, your project design will be more informed. By following a checklist for development and launch, you won’t miss crucial steps. And finally, maintaining a project protects the investment made in building the project. Ultimately, clients will be more satisfied with their experience and see the value in their project.