Custom Website Methodology
There are several phases to a custom website development project. The following Custom Website Methodology acquaints clients with our process and the various stages of development, however we follow the same basic methodology for all of our services from custom website development and PPC strategy to marketing collateral design:
A client’s budget is always top-of-mind. After the completion of each development phase, deliverables are handed off to the client for review and approval. In order to move steadily through each phase of the project, review should be expedited by the client. Clients are advised to appoint a specific project liaison with the authority to make decisions and oversee the project. This reduces any miscommunication and fast-tracks the website development process.
Due to the original and creative process of custom website development, we charge an hourly rate for work performed. This rate and the initial estimated effort are provided in the proposal. Once the Review Phase is completed, we are able to refine the estimate.
Keep in mind there are many factors that can modify the initial estimate in either direction. Clients that are prepared for the project by pre-planning and assigning a liaison, tend to stay on track and make better use of their budget.
PROPOSAL and CONTRACTS PHASE
Our team will schedule an initial consultation with the client to discuss the basic goals and expectations of the project. During this meeting we will gain an understanding of any high-level objectives for the website, cover the basic scope of the project and discuss budget (if available).
Within one week of the consultation, we will submit a proposal. You will also receive our MSA (Master Services Agreement) and SOW (Statement of Work). The MSA outlines our business practices and covers our policies. The SOW outlines specific phases of the project, deliverables, rates, etc.
A deposit (determined by the scope of a project) is required once the MSA and SOW have been accepted. After contracts resolution and receipt of deposit, the project is then scheduled.
Please note: We do not accept verbal confirmation for contract acceptance. All contracts must be signed prior to work being conducted.
The Research Phase takes approximately one to two weeks and begins immediately after contracts are signed and the deposit is received. Examples of research conducted are:
- Competitor research: We ask the client for a list of competitors, as well as examples of any websites that they like, and why. This provides us with a pulse on the competition, and a visual concept of what they’re looking for and expect
- Website visitor inquiry: We investigate the demographics of visitors that frequent the current website and determine any expectations they may or should have when visiting the site
- Requirements gathering: If there is an existing website, we discover its current content qualities, strengths, disadvantages and opportunities to determine the website’s needs. We also establish visitor paths, funnels and objectives
- Website and content outline: After research is completed we create a website outline, content outline and refined project plan (with updated hourly estimates) for client review
- Client review: Review website research, website outline, content outline and project plan with client and discuss the timeline for deliverables
The design phase takes approximately two to three weeks after the research phase has been reviewed with the client. Products of the Design Phase are:
- Wireframe creation: Using the website and content outline mentioned above, we then create the wireframe, a visual framework that provides the client with graphic representation of the weight and importance of each element on the homepage, as well as the other landing pages. After wireframing is complete the client reviews the structure and layout before proceeding to the overall aesthetic design
- Homepage and Inner Page design: Once wireframing is approved, we then design the look and feel of the homepage and inner pages in Photoshop. We supply the client with 1-3 draft concepts (mock-ups) for review of each. The client chooses favorite designs, and we then create 1-3 more refined drafts for review by the client. This process is repeated until the client is satisfied and signs off on a design for each page
Once the Design Phase is completed and approved by the client, the Production Phase begins. Average time required for the engineering side of website development can take between two to three weeks, depending on the complexity of the project. Here is the scope of the Production Phase:
- Webpage design transformation: All reviewed and approved webpage design assets are transformed into functioning webpages by Engineering
- Content: Content is authored either by Already Set Up or the client and revised until the client is satisfied
- Content population: All authored content is populated into the website
- Code testing: Code is tested to work within in-scope browsers
- Validation: The website is validated against goals and expectations; website validation ensures that pages on the website conform to standards defined by various sources. Validation also ensures that the web pages are interpreted the way the client wants by various devices, search engines, as well as by the visitors of the webpage
LAUNCH PHASE – Final Steps
The website launch phase takes approximately one week. This final process includes:
- Final client review: Client performs a final review of the website and provides us with any final revisions or change requests
- Final refinement and testing: Already Set Up will make any changes requested by client in the final review
- DNS/hosting/redirection: The website is provided with the DNS (domain name system) and set up with agreed upon hosting. The development website is then redirected utilizing both and the website is launch
We hope that this information has been helpful in understanding the basics of a custom website development project.
For questions or to find out more about Already Set Up’s custom website development process, give us a call at (800) 900-8536 or email Nathan Smallcomb at firstname.lastname@example.org.