The best way to start is to sit down together and chat. We can talk through your current situation and your expectations of a new website. If you already have a website I will need to know how you expect the new site to improve upon it. I will explain the technologies that I use, and show you some of me previous work in more detail.
If appropriate at this stage we can discuss basic design guidelines, site structure, functionality and more.
I will produce a written proposal which will explain what I will do for you, how much it will cost and what I will need you to do for me. I will also try to estimate a timescale, although I do find that this can often be dictated more by how quickly you can provide content than how quickly I can create the website!
I will do the technical work on my own private server, communicating frequently with you to ensure that everything is on track. At frequent intervals I will upload a password-protected version of the evolving site to a 'staging server'; somewhere that you can access it (without the rest of the world being able to do so) and provide me with feedback.
When the development is complete I will spend sufficient time with you and your staff to ensure that you and they fully understand how to maintain the content, and (if appropriate) how the new site interacts with social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
I will fully manage the transfer of the site from my development server to your own domain and web hosting package. The new site will be hidden behind a "Coming Soon" page until training is completed, to ensure that the launch is controlled. If you wish it can be coordinated with your own social media campaign to ensure the launch makes a sufficiently big splash.
Typically I will include six months of maintenance within the overall cost. This is nogotiable, of course. I will ensure that anything that fails to work as I have promised is fixed in a timely fashion. Any additional functionality that you require can be discussed as appropriate.