Your online presence grows in a roughly predictable way. Here are the stages:
Stage 1: sowing the seeds
Time and energy goes into establishing who you are, identifying target markets, and how you want people to perceive you. Email contact lists are beginning to form, logos and slogans created, and the attitude of the company is carefully crafted and cultivated. At this point logo design and some branding imagery should be established. Integrating this branding into your social efforts (Facebook page, Twitter profile, etc.) and email campaigns are very important, so clients get a sense of who you are.
Stage 2: growth
Here comes the real website design, incorporating the branding that you worked on so everything has the same look and feel. Focusing on how your users will be accessing your site, and thinking about what your goals are allows you to create a solid base from which to build. Smart design, utilizing best practices for search optimization, makes this step extremely important and is often the most labor intensive for all parties.
Stage 3: pruning
Now you start adding in additional services like a blog, email campaigns tied in to your dynamic website content, and utilizing the right social venues to drive traffic to your site. Traffic analysis and further search optimization will be an ongoing process to make sure you are attracting your target market. Protecting your investment with backups and monitoring is also essential.