Building Your Website

If you want to create a brand new website or redesign an existing one, our team can help you. Building a strategic website takes time and planning. Whether you work with us on a Drupal project or on your own through Wordpress, there are certain steps you need to take to build a cohesive, user-friendly website.

If you have questions about your website, from technical support to content strategy, plan to attend our weekly Office Hours.


Web Project Process 

1; lightbulb




If you have an existing site, complete a content audit by reviewing every page and take note to determine what is there and what needs to be updated, deleted or added. Look at your Google Analytics to see what content is most visited and how users are interacting with your website. If you don’t have an existing website, create a content outline to determine what you need to include.

In addition to the assessment on GW Drupal projects, our team will talk with you in an intake meeting so we can learn as much as possible about your organization and can work together to define your goals and audiences. All of the information we gather will be used to inform the strategy and architecture of your site.

2; checklist



Web Strategy

A website strategy is essential for success. Review our tips to create an effective strategy including identifying your organizational goals, audiences and key tasks. Once these are determined, we can help you create and implement a strategy on your site by making recommendations about structure, tactics and visuals to meet the needs of your audiences.

3; computer monitor with wireframe



Sitemaps & Wireframes

A sitemap is a blueprint for your website and defines the:

  • Navigation and structure for your site
  • Pages on your site, including the titles and content represented on each (i.e. About Us or Programs)

It is key to plan out each page of your site and what content will live there before you start writing text and planning for visuals. Use a spreadsheet or document to create your sitemap and list all pages and their hierarchy. You can use a tool or sketch your ideas on paper to determine how you want the site to look.

For GW Drupal projects, we’ll work with you to create a sitemap and wireframes for select pages, which are basic plans for the layout of each page. Wireframes provide and define the content needed to develop and publish the page.

4; pencil



Web Best Practices

Writing for the web is unique, with its own style and best practices. Users consume content differently online and skim instead of reading every word. You must also consider other factors  such as accessibility guidelines, which ensure all users have access to the content on your website. You can schedule time to meet with your content strategist, attend a training session and/or use our web writing checklist (PDF) to guide your writing.

5; pencil, graphics and keyboard



Content Development

Once your sitemap is finalized and your wireframes are done, use each as a guide to develop your content. When writing for each page, follow web best practices (PDF), proofread and make edits before you consider it final. Choose photos and have graphics created to accompany your text.

If you are working with us on your GW Drupal website, we’ll review your content and ideas for visuals, providing recommendations for areas to edit or improve. We will facilitate the production of all graphics and photos with our design and photography teams.

For blogs you can request support from our design team for graphics. You can also create graphics on your own as long as you follow GW’s visual identity guidelines. If you need photos for your pages, request support from our photography team to get the visuals you need.

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Content Entry

Once your content has been written and graphics have been developed, you are ready to start adding it to your site or blog.

If you’re working with us, we’ll use your content to conduct an in-person one-on-one GW Drupal training. If you are already familiar with GW Drupal, but need specific support or to refresh your memory, come to our weekly Office Hours or use our Drupal Demo & Training website.

If you’re working on your own and using GW Drupal, attend an upcoming training and use our content entry checklist (PDF). Support for blogs can be found through WordPress.

7; magnifying glass on screen looking at text



Site Assessment

Before your site goes live, proofread and double-check everything. Look for typos, test links and review text to ensure it makes sense. Define a process within your team to review each page and make edits as necessary.

When working with us, we expect you to proof your site. We will also conduct a thorough review and provide you with detailed edits to make before launch.

8; rocket ship on computer monitor




Once you’ve made final edits and you are proud of your site, it is time to make it live. We will facilitate the launch of your new site with the Division of Information Technology and it will replace your old one, if applicable. You should continue to pay attention to your site and use your strategy to make timely updates post-launch.