Website Development Process
1. FIRST STEPS
Before we start work on your site, we gather a lot of information from you on what the site is for, who it is targeted at, and what message the site is supposed to communicate.
Knowing your message is vital to the development process. We need to understand something about your business to do it right.
We also need to know how you want the site to look and work. We will build a site that, based on our marketing experience, will be effective in accomplishing its marketing purpose. That still leaves plenty of room for taste and preferences.
What colors do you like? What kind of shapes or imagery do you want on your site? What sites do you like or dislike? This is important information we need as guidance in creating a look for you. Otherwise, we may be left trying to guess what kind of a look might be appealing to you. Of course, you can leave this completely up to us, but if this is something you have strong feelings about, we need to know what they are.
This is best communicated by sending us links to some websites you like, with your comments about what you like about them.
From the beginning, to even start work, we’ll need your logo (if you have one) and any other imagery that will be a vital part of the site look (such as the book’s cover, for a book website, or the equipment you are selling). Note: If the logo or other provided key imagery isn’t consistent with the message, that will be a point of discussion.
2. KICKOFF CALL
Once we’ve done our homework on your industry, business, likes and dislikes, we’ll need a conference call with our designer, and all those involved in decision-making on your end.
This call has three purposes. Most important is to ensure our designer has a good feel for what you are looking for. Often, by the time we are done with the call, he is already getting design ideas.
There may be things you want that we would not recommend for marketing reasons. For example, colors have an emotional connotation to them and you may want a color scheme that we don’t feel is suitable. If that is the case, we will let you know. It will still be up to you and we will follow your instructions on such points.
We also will review this development process and timeline with you and answer any questions you may have. Finally, we want to make sure we understand the decision-making process on your end.
3. DEVELOPING A LOOK
We will then develop a concept for the site as to how to communicate the message to the named target public, within the constraints of logo and other imagery, etc.
From this concept, we will create a possible “look” for the site based on the idea or ideas we’ve come up with. This will be in the form of graphic images. The “look” is also known as a “mockup” or “comp” (short for “comprehensive”).
We will put this up on one of a series of “tester” sites we maintain, where you will be able to see what it looks like and how it works. This is also where you’ll be able to see each of the following steps as they are done, until your hosting is set up or your site is launched.
Once we have something we like, that we think will do the job and that you will like, we will send a link to you for review. Included will be an explanation of why we made the choices we did.
We will make adjustments or redesign or have a dialog about the look until we are both satisfied. Note: The exact appearance of colors will vary depending on the monitor used. This (along with size of text and screen resolution) are not under our complete control but are determined in part by the computer on which you view the website. Text appearing in the image is a placeholder only and not meant to represent the actual copy to appear on the site.
4. NAVIGATION, HOME PAGE, INTERIOR PAGES
By this time we will have also worked out, in coordination with you, the main navigation of the site: what buttons there will be, any “dropdown” menus, and critical text links. We will also establish major features of the home page during this phase, and any difference in the look between the home page and interior pages of the site.
AT THIS POINT, YOU WILL NEED TO SIGN OFF ON THE LOOK AS APPROVED.
With thirteen05, there is never a limit or extra charge for more versions or revisions, so long as they occur prior to your approval of the look.
5. BASIC SITE BUILD
We will then do the basic build of the site. If your website were a house, this is where the foundation is poured and the frame of the house constructed from the approved drawings.
Until now, you’ve been seeing only mockups, or still images of what the site will look like. Now, you will be seeing actual web pages. This may look slightly different than the mockup because of the transition to a new platform.
Now, your site will start to come to life. There might be a slider or hover-over effect on the home and possibly other pages, videos, and other aspects of the site which can’t be seen from a static image such as we present to you at step one.
We will need your feedback and if necessary make adjustments on these points.
If there is content from the existing site such as copy or images that can just be moved over, we will do so at this point. Otherwise, we may insert Latin text, in spots such as on the home page, so you can get a better idea of how the site will look when finished.
6. ADDING CONTENT
We will now complete building the site including putting in actual copy, additional imagery, links and so on.
This is usually all done offline – on one of our tester sites or on your hosting setup, but not publicly launched. You can see it but no one is going to wander across it by accident or find it by a search (unless we mutually agree to allow the search engines to find it at this point).
Content will be provided by you, by us, copied from your existing site, and/or edited by us, depending on the scope of work in our proposal. As a full-service marketing company, we can do as little or as much of this as you wish.
If the site includes an online store, a blog, photo gallery or other “server side” programming, the hosting will have to be set up before that part of the site can be built or fully functional.
There will be a lot of back-and-forth on material (information, copy, links and images) we need to fill in blanks on the site, until we have a complete functional site. The faster you can provide the material we need from you, the faster we can complete the project and you can start enjoying the benefits.
We can get sites done very quickly when we have all needed material. Note: We will supply “stock photography” for any generic images from our usual sources, as available.
7. FINISHING UP
We will make any adjustments or edits needed until you are happy with the site (and so are we, as we have a lot of experience and marketing know-how that can help ensure your site is successful).
The final stage is a complete review of the site by both of us, ensuring all is right, fixing any typos and grammatical errors, making sure all the links work, the site flows properly and doesn’t have any “holes” in the way of vital missing information, any other actions to complete basic search engine optimization, etc. This is a coordinated effort as there will be things only you will know (factual points, spelling of technical terms, etc.).
It is completely normal during this process for us or yourselves to suddenly realize there is some gaping hole in the site – missing content, even whole pages – that neither of us thought of. So long as this doesn’t materially alter the scope of work of the project, there is no additional charge for such adjustments.
At some point we need to actually launch your site. This may be before all work is completed. That will be determined in coordination with you. Our general rule is, when the site is at a stage of completion where it will be a positive benefit to have it up – better than what is online currently – launch it. We can provide hosting if you wish. Your choice of hosting service will need to be made several days before you want or need your site to be up, as it can take up to 72 hours before a website is fully visible online.
If a site is launched while work remains to be done, we continue straight ahead to complete all work as rapidly as possible.
And that’s it! Your site, finished, launched and ready to do its job!
You should also know that it is common for minor adjustments to be needed and typos to be discovered after the site is done and launched. Such are included in the project fee and will be made at no extra cost to you even if discovered weeks or months after the site is completed.
Getting an effective website done is not a small process. Working together, we can and will accomplish that for you.