There are several steps in the web site design and development process. From gathering initial information, through to the creation of your site, a lot takes place before the big launch.
While the exact process varies slightly between projects, the basics remain the same.
Phase One: Discovery / Gathering Information
The first step in designing a successful web site is to gather information.
Many things need to be taken into consideration when designing the look and feel of your site, so you are first asked a lot of questions to help get a clear understanding of your business and your needs in a web site. Certain things to consider are:
What is the purpose of the site? Do you want to provide information, promote a service, sell a product, etc.?
What do you hope to accomplish by building this web site? Two of the more common goals are either to make money or share information.
Is there a specific group of people that will help you reach your goals? It is helpful to picture your ideal customer. Consider their age, gender or interests – this will help determine the best design style for your site.
What kind of information will the target audience be looking for on your site? Are they looking for specific information, a particular product or service, etc.?
Phase Two: Planning
Using the information gathered from phase one, we first put together a plan.
Here we develop a site map – a list of all the main topics and sub-topics for your web site. This gives us a guide as to what content will be on the site, and is essential to developing a consistent, easy to understand navigational system.
This is also the point where we decide what technologies should be implemented – contact forms, custom post types, specific plugins, etc.
Phase Three: Design
Drawing from the information gathered up to this point, we determine the look and feel of the site.
Target audience is one of the key factors taken into consideration here. A site aimed at teenagers, for example, will look much different than one meant for a financial institution. Elements such as your company logo or colors are also incorporated into the design to help strengthen the identity of your company on the web site.
Once the preliminary design is complete, you are given access to the Client Studio. This secure area allows you to view your project throughout the design and development stages. Most importantly, it gives you the opportunity to express your likes and dislikes on the design.
In this phase, communication is crucial to ensure that the final web site will match your needs and taste. We work together in this way, exchanging ideas, until we arrive at the final design for the site. Then development can begin…
Phase Four: Development
This is where the functional web site itself is created.
We take all of the individual graphic elements from the preliminary design and use them to create the functional web site – more specifically, they are used to create the functional WordPress theme, which establishes the look and feel of your site. This includes not only the desktop view, but also the mobile responsive views, ensuring that your site is accessible to as large an audience as possible.
Once the WordPress theme files have been developed, we also take your content and distribute it throughout the site, in the appropriate areas.
This entire time, you will continue to be able to view your site in the Client Studio, and suggest any additional changes or corrections you would like to have done.
Phase Five: Testing and Delivery
At this point, we attend to the final details and test your web site.
We test things such as the complete functionality of forms or other scripts, we test for last minute compatibility issues (viewing differences between different web browsers), ensuring that the site is optimized to be viewed properly in the most recent browser versions.
Once we receive your final approval, it is time to deliver the site. We upload the files to your server – in most cases, this also involves installing and configuring WordPress, along with a core set of essential plugins to help enhance the site. Here we quickly test again to make sure that all files have been uploaded correctly, and that the site continues to be fully functional.
This marks the official launch of your site, as it is now viewable to the public.
Phase Six: Maintenance
Once your site is launched, the development stage is not necessarily over.
One way to bring repeat visitors to your site is to offer updated content on a regular basis. And as new versions of WordPress and any installed plugins become available, those should be upgraded, as well.
If you don’t feel comfortable running the upgrades yourself, and/or just prefer to better spend your time running your business instead of worrying about the web site. I will be more than happy to continue working together with you to keep your web site up to date.
There are several maintenance packages available for existing clients at reduced rates, based on how often you anticipate making changes or additions to your site.