Website Development, Everything You Need to Know to Build Websites & Maintain Them

1. Client Communication

Client Communication is crucial to a great outcome. This walks you through all you need to get from the client and how to keep them in the loop as you go along. This includes a video overview and detailed written instructions.

Video Overview: About Initial Client Mtg, Online Design Brief and Communication

About Communication – Initial Meeting & During Project

Your first client meeting you’ll want to ask lots of questions, get logins, and then put all this information into a Design Brief in Google Docs. Then you’ll share this with the client.

Communicate How to Communicate

Communication is key for a great outcome. We use the Design Brief to keep a history of ideas and what the client wants initially as well as all their edits as we go along.

  • Ask client who should receive communications?
  • What is their best form of communication? We prefer email so we have a record of everything.
  • Let them know we use an Online Design Brief to keep emails short. We always include the link to the document and a short description about what’s going on.

Ask For Logins & History of Website:

  • If they have an existing website. What is the domain?
  • Where it’s registered. Get Login.
  • Where it hosted. Get Login.
  • If it’s on WordPress. Get Login.
  • Social Media. Get links.

If they don’t have existing website

  • Help them purchase name at Go Daddy. (They own it – use their credit card)
  • Get login information for Go Daddy
  • Use our hosting if they are clients we like to work with and can pay us later for work.

Get Design Ideas + Links to Existing Photos and Visual Ideas

  • Have them supply you with 3 websites they love with links.
  • Interview and take detailed notes about what they like about each
  • Ask for all images to be put into Dropbox and have them provide you link.
  • Ask if they have existing video they want on the site. Have them Provide you links.
  • Ask if they have a Font they like. (Serif or San Serif). Tell them this might change depending on browser compatibility.
  • Ask if they have a logo. Have them provide logo via same Dropbox.
  • Take them to to see visuals that may be needed for site. Save links for Design Brief
The Online Design Brief is a Google Doc where we keep all information pertaining to the project. So everything you have in way of notes is best kept in a place where you can copy and paste it into the Online Design Brief.
It’s important to regularly communicate with clients. Put on the calendar to update them at least once a week via email.

Each time you add something to the Design Brief, you can let them know via email to check the brief.

Some clients don’t like a lot of communication. So it’s good that you ask first and let them know how it’s going to work.

Email Outline:

1. “Their Day or Week”

Hi Andy;

I hope your week is going great!

2. Have Design Brief Link Available Every Email (and Temp Home Page of Website if Applicable)

Hi Andy;

I hope your week is going great!



3. Tell Them What This Email is About with Bullet Points

Hi Andy;

I hope your week is going great!



This email is to let you know three things:

  • The Design Brief has some questions in the comment area about your edits
  • We can’t move the text upside down
  • The image you gave us is too small but we found another that you’ll see in the design brief

4. Closer: Something Positive (Thank You)

2. Registration and Hosting

This section talks about Registration and Hosting the website. This includes a video overview and detailed written instructions.

Video Overview: About Registration + Hosting and Setting Up

About Registration and Hosting…

Most clients get their website name registered at “Go Daddy” or “” but it can be somewhere else! Here is where you find the DNS or Domain Name Servers. These are numbers put into a field that point the domain to the files.

Your files need to be hosted someplace. We use “Host Gator” or sometimes other hosting sites. Hosting is a place where you get in the backend of the website and can see your files.
Hosting can be on:

  • Our own hosting plan. (Preferred)
  • Get the client their own (If you don’t want to work with them in the future, or they don’t have much money)
  • Sometimes a client has their own hosting. (I usually bring them to ours in the begining if they’re someone we like working with)

We prefer steering our clients toward our hosting because they don’t understand websites need maintenance. The website you’re building them will eventually break or go down in some way and they will see it as our fault. If we are maintaining it, then we calendar to look at their site, and fix anything that breaks.

Hosting will control the size of the files you upload, and our websites have big videos & images pretty often. Hosting also has what’s called the “cpanel” where you can see the actual files. You want to be comfortable with the cpanel and how it looks.

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Setup Instructions:  Cpanel Hosting, WordPress Install & Emails

Logging In and Getting Around the Cpanel

Your cpanel may look different depending on what host or if they’ve upgraded the cpanel. But the components you’ll need will all be here!

How to Login to Cpanel: Usually to login to cpanel, you’ll put in the domain name + /cpanel. When hosting on our hosting plan use

Existing Live Website While Building New Site

If a site needs to stay “live” until I complete building it, I’ll purchase a temporary domain name to build a website then “migrate” the files later to the real domain.  Migrate: means move the files.

Host Gator will do it for us, or we can copy the files ourselves to the new domain.

Even in this case I put an “In Construction” page on the home page and make the site un searchable by Google.

Brand New Website

If the site is new, I put up an “In Construction” page and build the site on pages that are not linked to home page. Once complete I make the home page the correct page.

Create an Add-On Domain

If we are adding a new website to our hosting this is how it’s done!

Whether adding a temporary new URL to build the site, or a brand new site you need to add on the new domain to our hosting.

  • Login to the Cpanel by going to
  • Find Add-On Domains
  • Add the Domain
  • Use password: conga200 

Domain Name Servers (DNS) are usually numbers and/or letters, that when copied into a field at your registrar (Usually Go Daddy), direct your registered name to your website files so they’re visible. The website files are hosted at a hosting company like Host Gator.

NOTE: When clients have emails associated with their domain, changing the name servers can make the email go down. It will need to be setup at the new hosting. I tell clients it will be down up to 48 hours

Finding & Changing the DNS (Domain Name Servers)

  • In our hosting plan right now, NameServers are down the left side and in an email sent to us long ago.
  • If you’re setting up new hosting it will come in an email, and in the hosting plan.

Once you locate the nameservers, you need them LATER to direct the domain to “point” to the files.

  • Copy and paste the nameservers at Go Daddy or other Registrar once website is ready to be live.

When is a Website Ready to Have Name Servers Changed?

When it goes live!

Building on Temporary URL (Migrate Later)

  • Sometimes we build on a temporary URL so the clients site can remain live while we’re building. I purchase a name at Go Daddy and change name servers at Go Daddy to point to Host Gator Now.
  • Once we’re ready for their real domain to show the new files, we MIGRATE the files to their domain name at our hosting. (Host Gator can help you – or we can do it ourselves by searching on HELP at Host Gator)
  • Migrate means copying the files and/or moving them.
  • Once files are migrated to their domain name, change name servers at Go daddy or other registrar and setup their emails.

Building on New Domain

  • I purchase a name at Go Daddy and change name servers at Go Daddy or other registrar to point to Host Gator Now. Add an “in construction” page to home page and build on pages not linked to home page.

Where are Name Servers Changed at Go Daddy or Other Registrar?

Sometimes it’s difficult to find where nameserers are changed. If you need to, call the registrar to find out where that change is made.

  • CALL: You’ll say “I need to redirect the name servers please walk me through your website”.

Save DNS In Design Brief

Keep DNS (Domain Name Servers) in the clients information or Design Brief in Google Docs. You’ll need them later when the site is ready to be live.


Installing WordPress

Look for the W in the Cpanel and click it. You’ll need to find the new domain in the dropdown menu if you’re adding this domain to our hosting. Install WordPress.

Get login information either by them emailing it, or it shows up in the upper right on this new webpage.

If you need to install WordPress on another Host it’s usually the same.

Put all login information in Design Brief. Login for WordPress is different than Cpanel login.

Setting up Emails

Explanation: To setup emails, you need to first make a webmail address at Hostgator or where ever we’re hosting the site. This sends the emails to HostGator where they could login and get email. But no one wants to do that so we also setup a forwarder that sends the email to their work or personal emails such as receives emails from

If the client wants it to look like they’re emailing from their domain, that is setup at their personal email at Gmail or Yahoo. Each has it’s own way of setting up what’s called an Alias.

  • Go to Mail in Cpanel
  • Go to Email Accounts and Add Email Account to Correct Domain in Dropdown
  • Use “conga200” as password
  • Click “create account”
  • Go back to Cpanel (usually clicking home image in upper left)
  • Go to Mail in Cpanel
  • Go to Forwarders
  • Create Forwarder to clients actual email which may be Gmail or Yahoo etc.
  • If client wants to respond “from” this happens on their end in their Gmail or Yahoo. They need our Cpanel login and other information to setup.

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3. Purchasing + Uploading the Theme

This section talks about purchasing and Uploading your Theme. This includes a video overview and detailed written instructions.

Video Overview: About Purchasing and Setting Up Theme

Setup Instructions:  Purchase Theme, Install Directions, Child Themes

Design Instructions:  Working with Designing Theme