If you’re thinking about getting a custom website, here’s how the process goes. Budget packages use a more streamlined process, with less planning upfront and more flexibility throughout.
Step 1: Analysis and Planning
In a free consultation, I’ll discuss the needs and goals of your new website with you. Depending on whether your focus is to increase your credibility, conduct online outreach, or add convenient tools, I’ll make suggestions regarding what features and services you might want.
Then I’ll create a proposal with a price tag and a timeline. I’ll break down the price tag into different components, so you can see what various pieces would cost you. If you want to remove a component to reduce the cost, all you have to do is ask.
A standard timeline for a custom build is about twelve weeks. That may seem long, but you’ll have your own work to do, and you’ll need time to do it.
Step 2: Content
If you get content consultation services as part of your package, we’ll do that next. During this stage I will inventory your current site if you have one, and look at the sites of your competitors to gauge what content is appropriate for your industry. I’ll ask you some questions about how you produce content. Then I’ll make you a content plan for your new site. It will include all the content that should be on your new site, and where on the site it should go.
We’ll meet to go over the content plan – I’ll answer questions and you’ll provide feedback. Then I’ll make a revised version of the plan for you. With that in hand, you’ll be ready to start writing or revising your content – or hire someone else to do it for you.
Step 3: Design
I’ll start by assessing what you want and need from your design. I’ll look through your existing publications and examine the designs of your competition. Most importantly, I’ll ask you to find 3-5 examples of websites that you like. Most people can’t put their preferences about design into words, but they know what they want when they see it.
After I get all the input I need, I’ll begin working on a design. I’ll create one design option for you, and you’ll get unlimited revisions to that design. I can afford to do this because my web designs have a very high acceptance rate – they never need big revisions. Usually the design goes through 2-3 rounds of small changes before it is finalized.
Step 4: Development
Once design is complete, development can take place. You won’t hear much from me for several weeks, because I’ll be busy taking the design you approved and making it into a reality.
Step 5: Refinement
At this point I will present you with what I call the alpha site. This is a rough version of the site, but close enough that you can start working with it. At this time we will schedule several training meetings, and I will train you how to use WordPress. I’ll give you homework – entering your content into the site. (In some projects, you don’t need to enter you content, either because it’s been imported, or you are paying for content entry. However, entering your content is great practice in using WordPress).
As content is entered, I will continue to refine the site, tailoring the fine points of the design to fit your content. You will probably notice details you would like to be different during this stage. I will make modifications based on your input.
When you are satisfied with how the site looks and behaves, it’s time to launch.
Step 6: Maintenance
I don’t disappear after the web project has finished. I’ll still be around to help answer questions or provide any maintenance your site might need. Proactive maintenance helps protect sites against hackers and technology mishaps. I offer a basic maintenance package that includes backups, troubleshooting, enhanced security, and software updates.