The website development process

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The website development process varies from project to project depending on the customers needs and the web development company. The following is a general overview of some of the steps you may encounter while developing your own online presence.

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Initial Consultation (s)

  • Get a good feeling for if you'd like to work with this web development company. Just because you meet with them for an initial consultation doesn't mean you are obligated to hire them.
  • Discuss your marketing needs. You may want to read Website cost and pre-quote questions to determine your website requirements.
  • Ask questions, and also for recommendations and feedback on your marketing requirement needs and possible solutions.

Scope of Work, Proposal, Quote and Payment Schedule

Assuming you are very confident and comfortable with the web design company you've chosen (see Choosing a website designer), you may wish to request a proposal with a quote on the cost of your website's development. Your quote will hinge on the details of your website's scope of work.

1) Scope of Work
First you will need to nail down all of the details of your project. Never rush through this stage. You may wish to connect/communicate with your designer several times to be sure you are addressing all your website needs.

2) Proposal and Quote
I recommend meeting with your designer to go over the proposal and quote, as questions often arise. This also provides an opportunity for both parties to confirm their understanding of the scope of work and each one's responsibilities. Depending on the scope of work, you may be required to pay a fee for your proposal, with the sum credited towards the cost of the project should you enter into an agreement.

3) Payment Schedule
At this stage you may also wish to ask about the company's payment schedule. Many firms require a deposit upon entering into a formal agreement.

Design/Development Agreement

Once you are confident with the proposal, and that you've addressed all your marketing needs, you may wish to indicate your desire to move ahead with the project as planned. You will meet once again with your designer and both parties will sign a Website/Development Agreement. At this stage you may be required to make an initial non-refundable deposit. Often it is 50% - 60% of the project cost.

Domain Name Registration

If you’ve not already registered your domain name, here are a few things to consider:

  • Decide if you should use a .com, .ca, .org, .net or a couple of these extensions.
  • The shorter the domain name the better.
  • If the domain name you wish to use is taken, brainstorm on a name that captures the essence of what you do, or who you are in 2 or 3 words
  • Incorporate search engine keywords into your domain name if possible.

Note: Your website company may be able to give you some direction, if this is part of your scope of work agreement.

Hosting Company

You may want to begin shopping for a Hosting Company if you haven't already done so. Things to consider beyond the price is the type of server used, space required, hosting features, and security (eComm). Your designer may be able to recommend one for your specific needs.

Content Submission

Before your designer is able to begin working on your site, you will need to submit all the content that you are responsible for, which may include logo files, photos, form information, product prices, web copy etc.

Website Mock-up & Preview

Once your designer has received the site's content, he/she will draft up a template mock-up for you to preview. At this stage you may discuss the style and changes required. Once the second mock up has been previewed and its design has been accepted your website designer will begin working hard on developing your website. You may be required to put a percentage of the website cost down at the website template acceptance stage.

Site Completion & Testing

Once your website is finished and initial testing results are successful, you will be asked to look it over. Small changes may be made to web copy at this stage. Upon completion of the work, you will sign off on the agreement, pay the balance owing, and release the site to be launched.

Site Launch & Final Testing

Congratulations - break out the champagne! Your designer will move your website from its development location to your public server folder. Final tests are made to ensure everything is functioning properly.

Maintenance

Have you ever found yourself on a website and noticed that it was out-dated? It feels like walking into a ghost town, abandoned and dusty. If you want your site to feel alive and relevant be sure that its content is always up-to-date.

There you have it, that's the basic process in a nutshell. I hope this helps to make your website project development experience less intimidating and more enjoyable!

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