Creating a Website
Deciding to create a new website can be exciting and a bit overwhelming. There are many different types of websites, and it's often unclear which option will best fit your needs. To help you out, we've prepared a document that describes the types of web projects available to you. If you've decided to work with us to create a custom website, here are the steps that we typically follow:
We initially schedule a meeting where we listen to the client’s expectations. To prepare for this meeting, we recommend the client put together a team of two to three people who will work on the website. It should include at least one person who has the authority to make decisions about the project, as well as at least one of the people who are responsible for populating the website’s content. This will be the Web Team for the site.
The Web Team should then download and fill out the Web Design Questionnaire and Sitemap Document. We will work with the Web Team to develop an understanding of the website’s purpose and audience, and to understand their design preferences, deadlines, and other important considerations. At the conclusion of this meeting, the Web Team should gather any logos, graphics, and other content that may be required during the design step and send them to us.
Once the client's sitemap is completed, our Web Designer will create a wireframe showing how the website's content will be organized, and deliver it to the client for feedback and approval. Once the wireframe is approved, the features and mechanics of the website cannot be changed. This step typically takes 2-4 weeks, plus time for feedback and revisions.
Once the wireframe is approved, we will provide an estimate of the project cost and send it to the client for approval. This estimate may vary according to the project’s complexity, and may not represent the actual final cost. However, we are committed to making this a predictable process, and will commit to a 25% maximum deviation from the estimate to the project's final price, except in the case where the project scope changes significantly after the estimate is accepted. Most of the time, an additional estimate will accompany any change in scope.
Once the wireframe is approved and any logos, graphics, and/or descriptions of the website have been delivered, our Web Designer will mock up a picture of what the website will look like when it’s finished and deliver it to the client for feedback and approval. Once the mockup is approved, the design and aesthetics of the website cannot be changed. This step typically takes 2-4 weeks, plus time for feedback and revisions.
Once the wireframe, mockup, and estimate are approved, our Frontend Engineer will utilize established web standards, as well as our own best practices, to implement the wireframe and mockup into a new, fully-functional website. Initially the website will be blank, as it is the client’s responsibility to fill it with content. This step typically takes 4-6 weeks, but this may vary depending on the complexity of the website.
Once the website has been implemented, we will contact the client to schedule a training session where they learn to use our Content Management System to enter content into the website. Training typically takes less than an hour, and can be held at the client's convenience.
After training, clients enter their content into the website and provide any detailed feedback on the website implementation. The client can do this at their own pace, so there’s no limit to how long or how short this step can be. Our Web Designer and Frontend Engineer will remain available during this time to help with minor design changes or functionality tweaks if appropriate. However, please note that our policies forbid us from entering website content for the client.
When the client is satisfied with the finished website, they contact us. We will require an account number (for billing purposes) in order to initiate the launch. The client may also want to provide us with a list of redirects that need to be established at launch, if this is a refresh of an existing website. Then, we run a series of checks against the website to ensure it complies with our best practices and all relevant web standards. After that, we assist the client with securing a domain name for the website. The website typically appears on the internet 24-48 hours after the domain name is added.
After the website has launched, the Web Team should continue to stay in contact with us in order to grow the site. This many include doing analytics experiments to improve individual site features, adding archival functionality where required, and any other work that furthers the stated goals of the website project. We will make small changes to the website at no cost, and will provide an estimate for the client's approval any time a larger change is requested.