This is for us to get a ‘big picture’ view of what you need and have in mind. There are many aspects to a website that are often not considered when commissioning – afterall, most people commission a website about once in their life! But this stage will be enough for us to understand what you want for your site and a broad view of the budget and time required to build it.
Initial quote and confirmation
We’ll be able to give some indicative pricing, based on that broad understanding phase – this will help you know if it’s something within reach or not. It will be just that, indicative and subject to us undertaking a more in-depth workshop to better understand all the detail and how it might be used. Functions on websites are what take time – and therefore add to the cost.
In depth discovery workshop
Once you’re happy with the general budget required, the next stage is for us to get a clear understanding of what you want from your website in greater detail, what you want your customers to experience and to work out all the areas of the website. A sitemap with a list of the functions will then form the site specification and allow us to provide an accurate quotation. It’ll also form the part of the planning document for the designers & developers. For more complex sites, there may be a couple of these sessions.
Planning and timescale
What comes out of the discovery stage will indicate how long the project is going to take. It will have different stages to it – scoping, design, development, content inputting and testing – each stage will follow a schedule to make sure every stage is completed properly and on time. A website is most organisation’s key marketing tool so planning is often critical.
Sometimes, what comes out of the in-depth discovery phase will be more functions and features than originally planned. We may need to update the quotation at this stage before proceeding – but it’ll become apparent during the discovery stage if that’s likely.
Then it’s over to our creative team. We’ll brief them on the project – making sure to following any existing brand guidelines but to factor in best-practice design principles. The design of the UI (user interface) is vital to make sure the UX (user experience) is just right. They’ll begin with some concept work – usually a few homepage designs to start the process – we know that most homepages contain about 80% of an entire website’s design styles, so it’s a good place too start.
Running concurrently to the design phase is where the developers plan out the site’s framework, how they are going to achieve the specific functions and explore any particular treatments of technical challenges set out in the brief. This planning stage, before a line of code is written ensures that the code that gets crafted is following best practice and is robust. Nobody wants a flaky website that only sometimes works.
“How long will it take for my website to be number 1 on Google?” We hear that a lot during a new build. The honest answer is that it utterly depends on lots of variables – and so we take this time to work out who your audience is, what you think they need from you and how they might search for someone like you and what your budget is – then we can begin our research to better understand how to aim for that number 1 slot on Google.
Often the trickiest part of the entire project – making sure you know where all the web page content – the words and pictures and so on are coming from. Whether it’s just a 12-page brochureware site or a 500-page society or institution site, someone’s going to have to curate all that content. We’ll help you with how to approach this thorny stage. But done with planning and the right mindset, is the key to having a very successful website.
Once the design of all the site’s core pages has been completed and approved and the technical plan set out, the developers begin the process of coding the site. Depending on the system and framework, this varies greatly in terms of how long it will take – our project manager will provide you with a production schedule so you’ll know when this phase is due to start and finish. Changing functionality at this stage is a challenge – that’s why we have planning stages to avoid the process being halted by changes in functions. It can be done, it just doesn’t make for a slick process.
Often overlooked by many inexperienced developers and clients alike. Testing will ensure you don’t experience that post-launch instant panic of finding a page empty or a button that doesn’t work or the email you’re supposed to get from a form doesn’t arrive. We test our sites thoroughly. But we ask the same of you – afterall, it’ll be your site to run once it’s live so it’s as important for you to check it, too.
The time has come. “Houston, we are go for launch” to quote Gene Cranz, the Apollo flight director at NASA. Seriously, this is when the site goes live. Usually, this takes a full day from the point of you approving the site. We always recommend that there’s no big song and dance planned for that exact day. You don’t know what you don’t know so better to make it live, let it be there for a short while and then, once you’re confident, make your announcement. You’ll have a better experience and nobody likes panic.
Then the keys are yours. We’ll naturally be here to help you if you need it. We can provide on-going support, updates if you haven’t the time or just generally make sure the framework software and plugins are all up to date.
Now, wasn’t that a better experience than trying to bash it out yourself on Wix?