Just a brief overview of what has been an effective strategy for developing and delivering a business-oriented web design:
Step 1 – Establish Goals and a Big Picture
In order to know what pages and other content needs to be here, we need to establish a purpose. For most business IT websites, the primary goal is to educate visitors on the value of a product or service and drive sales. So, for this example we’ll start there. Everything else is an outgrowth of that. This may mean hosting literature, and/or placing strategic calls to action for trial downloads, consultations, webinars, or simple form data collection. Map out the objectives, because the goal (sales) is simple.
Step 2 – Identify Inspiration & Execute a Design
This “design” phase is in my opinion quite ironically the least important. It should really be as simple as discussing with your designer (or if you ARE the designer, discussing with your client) some examples of design work they consider noteworthy and relevant. Sometimes they’re competitor websites, and other times they’re unrelated. Knowing what the buyer is after makes it easier to hit the target quickly.
Step 3 – Revisions & Delivery
Unless the buyer doesn’t know what they want or has too much time on their hands, this should go very quickly. If it doesn’t, something has gone very wrong and either the designer sucks or the client sucks. More often than not, a buyer who indicates in clear terms what they’re after has little trouble getting that if they’ve gone to a designer that they can communicate with. Once the revisions seem to hit the spot, delivery should be made in whatever formats suit the project.
Don’t get hung up on technology and brands and methods, because it doesn’t matter from a business standpoint for design considerations. The server technology is irrelevant for design purposes (I will happily but politely rebut anyone who says otherwise). The tool you use to create the markup and CSS – Dreamweaver, Frontpage, whatever – is irrelevant. It simply doesn’t matter HOW it is done, as long as it is done – and done right.