It is tempting to leap into design ideas, but there are important steps that must precede it. These are the typical steps that I will go through for your project:
In this stage I understand what you want to achieve. I discuss who you want to visit your website and what they will want from a visit. I will collect existing material from a current website, as well as stationery and brochures. I will prepare a review of any existing site. I will understand what your own skills are; this will be important if you want responsibility for the site on completion.
This stage will look at broad options, including possible site architectures (what sections and pages there will be). I will generate alternative high-level designs and technical architectures.
In the case of smaller projects, this is generally combined with the following Design stage.
Once the alternative designs from Strategy have been discussed and a selection made, I will prepare designs for different types of page, prepare basic site graphics and build a prototype. You can review this and discuss it with me.
In this stage I combine any existing and new content. I will develop any databases and scripts. During this phase, I will work with you to test the web site and resolve problems.
At this stage, I will conduct testing on the completed web site.
I will help you with ensuring your site appears in search engines, and advise you on press releases and other publicity.
If you are going to maintain your site, I will help you in this handover phase.
I will also discuss any follow-on projects; these will in turn begin with a new Information Gathering phase.