The purpose of this document is to describe to you, the client or prospective client, the general process we will undertake together to create your new web site (or to revamp your old one). It will help you understand what questions you will need to ask yourself and what you will need to provide during the process.
The process of creating and implementing a new web site is usually broken down into the following phases:
- Initial consultation and discovery
- Client research and planning
- Project proposal and design kickoff meeting
- Initial design concepts
- Design review and revisions
- Build and test
- Site launch
- Follow-up “tweaks”
- Marketing and on-going maintenance
Initial consultation and discovery
The initial consultation will act as a “discovery” phase, during which the primary goal is to determine the purpose and scope of your web site project and to map out the process we will undertake. We’ll discuss what your ideas and needs are for a web site. This discussion will include basic topics like your domain name, web hosting solutions, and what the basic structure of your site might include. We’ll talk about what Sam Web Designs will be responsible for and what you, as the client, will be responsible for. Follow this initial consultation, Sam Web Designs will submit a “rough” estimate of cost based on page count and desired features.
Client research and discovery
The purpose of this phase is to answer any specific questions that arose during the discovery phase, as well as to address the following tasks:
- Review the web sites of your competition, and determine what you like and don’t like about those sites. What works or doesn’t work about their message? Make notes of any ideas you have as a result.
- Review other web sites from your industry (or even from outside your industry) to determine what your likes and dislikes are. Make note of any sites where you particularly like the look, style, or functionality. What do you think would work best for you?
- Take inventory of any marketing materials and assets you have in-house already that might be helpful in providing content for your site. Does your company have a logo and a consistent branding that we’ll want to carry over to the web site? Do you have logos and photos in a usable file format? If not, we should be able to request those files from the design firm or person who created them. If there is any preliminary work to be done – such as logo design, photography, or copy writing – we’ll want to iron out those details.
- Determine whether you have a specific budget and/or timeframe in mind and communicate this to Sam Web Designs. We will work together to provide you with a timely solution that is within your budget.
- Consider possible domain names for your company. Your domain name will be your web site address and in most cases it should reflect your company name as closely as possible. It should also be as easy to remember as possible. Sam Web Designs will help you select an appropriate domain name for your business and will also determine whether that domain name is available (many common names are already taken).
We will meet again, if needed, to discuss and review the results of this research. Reviewing these details will help establish the scope of the site and provide design direction.
Project proposal and design kickoff meeting
At this point, a formal proposal will be presented based on the information discussed so far. Once the proposal has been reviewed, discussed, and approved, we’re ready to get to work. Assets like logos, photos, and copy would be provided at this point. An in-person meeting for this purpose may not be necessary depending upon the scope of the project. A phone conversation and/or some e-mails may be all it takes to get the project rolling.
Initial design concepts
This is where you, the client, get to rest and wait to see the goods. Sam Web Designs will create “comps” for your review based on the results of our research and discovery phases. An initial design “comp” will be presented via the web, either as a partially working page, or as a static image (usually just one design is presented, with the possibility of an alternate design being offered as required and allowed by the project budget).
Design review and revisions
After you review the design, we’ll meet to discuss your feedback and comments (a phone meeting is often sufficient). This phase may require some back-and-forth where Sam Web Designs will make design changes based on your feedback until we arrive at a final design that you are pleased with. Please note that a reasonable amount of “design and review” time will be built into the project proposal, and that if this phase grows beyond that amount, you will be notified before incurring additional expense.
Build and test
After the basic site design is approved, comes the building and testing phase. Sam Web Designs will construct your site and stage it for your review (either on the samwebdesigns.com site, or under your own domain, if it’s available. If content has already been provided, it will be in place. If content had not been submitted yet, then the site will be constructed using placeholder copy and the real copy will be added when it is ready and provided. We will then both test the site to be certain it’s ready before we go live with it or announce it.
This is the rewarding part. If this is a new web site and domain, it will probably already be live and we can now announce it to the world. If your new web site has been staged on the Sam Web Designs server, then we will make your new site officially live.
After your new site is live and available to the world we’ll continue to make any “tweaks” that we may discover are needed. Most likely these tweaks will be in the form of minor copy changes.
Sam Web Designs will typically continue to work with you whenever your site needs updates or modifications, albeit at a cost. Alternately, you may decide you want to make your own updates.
Hopefully this document has provided some direction to you as a client or prospective client as to the process we will undertake together when creating your new web site.
One other thing to note is that this process is meant to be flexible. The larger your site, the more closely we will probably follow this process. If your site is small and very straightforward, on the other hand, we may be able to combine steps and move very quickly through the process.