The 2 week website: how it works & why you’ll love it
Okay so before I even start on this post I need to give credit where credit is due.
The 2 week website was not my idea! (Though I do love it and am so darn happy I found out about it!)
The idea came from the fab Lauren Hooker who runs Elle & Company, or more specifically her husband Jake. Jake thought of the 2 week website, Lauren implemented it and then she shared it on her blog, advocating for others to considering switching to the 2 week process.
Well, it's safe to say I took it and ran with it.
And gal, let me tell you, my clients and I are sure glad I did!
While both Lauren and I both create 2 week Squarespace websites, the actual process within those 2 weeks does have quite a few differences.
I'll get into those in the meat and potatoes of the post below where I chat with y'all all about the schedule within the 2 weeks.
I used Lauren's 2 week idea as a jumping off point, and then created a design process that was tailored to my business and the different items included in my packages.
Now, before we go even a step further, I should let you know (in case this is news) that the 2 week website is not standard in the industry. In fact it's quite unheard of!
Most design studios take on anywhere between 4 to 6 clients at a time and the projects tend to range between 4 to 8 weeks. From speaking with other designers however I've heard that it's a very regular occurrence for projects to drag on longer then their allotted time frame.
Alright, into just how this 2 week thing works!
This is exactly what a 2 week website or a 2 week website and brand schedule looks like.
(I have two packages, a 2 week website, or a 2 week website and brand. Both are complete in, of course, just 2 weeks. I just have to hustle a little harder when it comes to the site and brand package.)
Picking a design date
First clients view my design calendar on my work with me page. They can see all of my available two week design period dates and pick the one that they prefer.
I make a very conscious effort to keep this calendar up to date and I change dates from available to booked within 24 hours of a new client placing their deposit and signing a contract.
So, if you're browsing it on the site, you know the available dates listed are yours for the taking!
Then clients get in touch with me through the inquiry form on my Work With Me page and we start off by having an initial consult call which tends to last 20 to 30 minutes.
It's during this call that I learned all about a potential clients business, what they're looking for in their website, explain to them exactly how the process works, and determine if we're good fit.
From their clients can place a 50% deposit and sign a contract to lock down their design date in my calendar.
(I really need to come up with a better name than 'client homework' as the work truly is fun and enjoyable, and homework doesn't tend to have those feelings associated with it. Better names suggestions are welcomed!)
From there I send them a welcome package which walks through step-by-step all of the things that need to be gathered and prepared before we begin on their website.
Client homework includes creating a Pinterest inspiration board, completing questionnaires, compiling content and sending their logins for different third-party integrations that they'd like worked into their website.
Because we're on a 2 week timeline clients must have all of their content prepared before we begin on the website. That includes their photos and their copy.
Having all of this content prepared beforehand is one of the most important aspects to ensuring the we're able to knock out their website and get it launched by our deadline.
I don't use fake text or photos in the website, I use the real content so that come the second week on Friday we actually launch the website together, clients don't need to go in later and swap out all of the photos and text for the real stuff.
Fun fact: The majority of work that the clients complete actually happens before the design date.
Week 1 Monday
On week one Monday clients and I get on the phone for an hour long call when we go through all of the clients content, discussed templates, and view their inspiration websites and Pinterest inspiration board together so that we're on the same page before I begin designing anything.
It's our time to get clear on exactly what the client would like to see in their website and go over any special requests or discuss third-party Integrations that they'll need to make their website function the way they want it to.
After call I start creating a mood board and color palette and setting all the styles within the Style Editor of Squarespace. This basically takes what we had discussed on the phone and visually communicates it again just ensuring that were on the same page before I start creating the full website.
I then send the mood board and color palette to the client and ask them to approve it or request any edits to it.
Starting on day 2 I go ahead and start building the full website out. I take this one page at a time, looking at the client's content, referring back to our mood board, and putting all the content into the site in a way that meets design best practices and is set up to convert visitors to take action on the 1 -2 site goals that we had determined before we started on the project.
In this time if a client booked the website and branding package I also start creating the logo. This process involves me mind-mapping sketching and then finally creating the artwork on illustrator in black and white and then moving on to designing in color.
On the Friday week one it's on the client a link to the live website. It's not live on their domain so only they're able to see it.
From there I invite them to send me a list of edits that they'd like to see to the website. I don't limit my clients to any number of revision rounds or edits, our only deadline is the week 2 Friday.
Week 2 is also the time where I create any other collateral items such as business cards, social media banners, media kits, pricing menus, etc. if they booked a web design & branding package.
In week 2 I also ensure that the website is meeting SEO best practices and I link up any third-party integrations such as appointment schedulers, donation boxes, online payment systems, etc.
Week 2 Friday
On week 2 Friday clients and I get on the phone for a 1.5 hr lesson and launch call.
I think it's really important that clients are able to take on their website and feel confident making updates and edits to it later. I don't want clients to ever feel that their website designer is keeping their website hostage and that they're unable to make quick edits when they need to.
For this reason I make sure that our lesson call is live and it's on their own website using their own template.
While I do have a lesson plan for this call I tend to tailor it to the client their tech abilities and specifically what they'll be doing on their website. For example, if they're blogging I'll cover the blogging pages in much more detail than I would for someone who doesn't ever plan to blog.
Clients and I do this lesson live so they're able to stop me and ask questions whenever they need to. It’s also recorded so that they can go back and refer to the lesson later if they forget the steps in doing something specifically.
We then connect any last bits such as social media accounts and their newsletter system.
Then while I'm on the call with them, they make their second remainder payment, and I go ahead to link up their domain, walk them through purchasing a Squarespace plan, and launch their website while we're on the video call together!
Why clients & I love the 2 week process
Here's some of the reasons why my clients and I love this two-week process so much and would never dream of switching.
Quick turnaround & guaranteed launch date:
We can zoom through building a website so much faster because we're dedicated to the project for just two weeks. It's not some long and painful process that keeps dragging on and on forever.
We know that it's important to respond to each other's emails or even are able to hop on the phone if we need to discuss something more in-depth quickly.
I realize that for a lot of businesses their website launch happens to coincide with their grand opening or a new marketing campaign or going to a conference or being featured online somewhere, and so having their website completed by specific date is really important to them.
With my 2 week process I'm able to guarantee that they will be launched and live on the second Friday of our design date.
From the date that they book, they can go plan a launch party because they know their website is going to be ready on time!
By giving my undivided attention to just one client they are able to trust that their website designer has their project as a priority and they won't be left alone trying to figure things out by themselves.
Plus let's be honest, who doesn't like undivided attention? Or maybe that's just the middle child in me speaking ...
No numbered limit on rounds of revision:
I don't limit clients to a certain number of revisions or edits, they have as many revisions and edits as they would like. Our only dead line is second Friday.
The faster they can get their edits back to me, the more edits we can complete.
If for some reason we haven't been able to edit the website to perfection by the second Friday I have on one occasion previously done some quick live edits while we were on our lesson and launch call so that they were fully satisfied before we actually put the website online.
For the 2 weeks my client and I are frequently communicating and we tend to build a really solid relationship over that time.
Clients know that they're not just one in a sea of other clients that I'm assisting, but that they have my attention and that I truly care about their project.
The one downfall of working for myself is that I don't have co-workers, and great social relationships at work.
However because I work one-on-one with clients, I find that they in a way become my co-worker for those two weeks, as we're working together towards a common goal create to create a website that they love!