Before you submit a web site planner, the best thing you can do is to read our informational pages on preparing for your web site, which talks about your part in the whole process. Yes, you do have to be involved and probably more-so than you may be aware of. We have a page that will help you with your “Where do I start?” question that many people have. My suggestion would be for you to click around our site. You’ll find lots of information that will help build your own knowledge base, which in turn will help keep you from getting hit in the face with any nasty surprises.
After you’ve done your web site preparation and you feel you are really ready to begin, submit your web site planner so that you can obtain an estimate of cost. We literally cannot do a single thing until we know what’s on your web site Wish List! I can’t remember a single client who’s first question wasn’t “How much will my web site cost?” That’s like going to an architect and asking “How much will my new house cost?” before he knows what you want in order to draw for your new home plans.
Submitting Your Website Planner
The planner is the first step in the estimating process and is designed to work like a Wish List. It’s as thorough as possible, but in a generic sort of way. Every web site is different and the planner cannot encompass anything and everything involved for each individual site. It’s very important to answer as many of the questions as you possibly can. We’ll review your submission and contact you with any questions we may have based on the information you provided. If you aren’t thorough, we’ll just have to ask you again the questions you didn’t answer the first time around. You should hear from us usually within 24-36 hours.
Once we have as much initial information as we feel we need, we then work up an estimate and submit it to you. If you need it, we’ll forward it in proposal format.
Register Your Domain Name
If you don’t already have one, you should register your domain name. There’s a number of good, reputable Domain Name Registrars out there. We use and recommend GoDaddy. You or your designer need to determine if the domain name you’re interested in securing is available. Domain names go fast, so if you find one available that you really want, don’t wait to long to register it as it may be gone by the time you get back to it. If you’re familiar with the registration process, you may register it yourself. If you’re not, it’s a good idea to contact your designer immediately so he or she can do this for you. It’s absolutely imperative that a domain name be registered correctly in order to avoid problems in the future. Do not take chances with your domain registration! It’s best to insure that it’s done right the first time.
Secure Your Hosting Provider
Once your domain name is registered, it’s a good time to set up your hosting account. Web site hosting is available through Deb’s Web, LLC but it’s not mandatory to secure us as your designer. We must require that your site be hosted on a UNIX based server as we do not develop web sites for Windows servers. It’s imperative that the hosting service you select be reputable, have good 24-7 tech support, provide all the necessary features and services needed to house your site and the necessary functionality your site will need. Not all hosts are created equal, so please check with your web designer before securing your host so that he or she can review your selected host’s services.
Phase I Development
Returning your signed proposal and retainer then moves your project into what we call Phase I of development. If you wish to have your own photos or images included in the design, you need to make sure we have them before we start the design process.
We then schedule and create your one page demo which is what you will eventually approve for your site look. It’s important that this be right, so be absolutely sure when you look at that demo page that it’s what you want your site to look like. Changes to the design and layout at a later date may add considerably to the overall cost.
During this time you should be preparing your web site content. Remember that “Content is King!” Your text content is the most important key element to getting your site found on the Internet. It needs to be well thought out and well written for best results. Work with your SEO company on this so that you don’t run into the need later to edit the content for the search engines.
Phase II Development
Once you’ve approved your design and layout, we move to Phase II which includes the contract and payment of your Phase II retainer. Please read this contract carefully and be sure you understand everything before signing and returning it. After we receive this paperwork and your Phase II retainer, we schedule the conversion of your design demo into the necessary files and templates that will house your site and continue into site development.
By the time we enter Phase II we should have all content from you including any product or other photos and images. If we don’t have this, site progress comes to a screeching halt until all content is received.
As development progresses you’ll be asked to review each and every page. Review each page closely for any changes you may want or errors you may find. Each time you request a change it costs you money and slows down progress. We urge you to be absolutely sure everything is how you want it before you approve each page.
During this time, your site pages will be validated and tested on the various popular browsers and platforms. Search engine optimization techniques are applied after the page checking step is completed so we don’t have to do this more than once.
Phase III & Launch!
Once you’ve approved it all and your final payment is received, we’ll take the “live work” steps and submit to the proper search engines.
Congratulations! Your site is now live! Now’s the time to begin promoting it if you haven’t already done so. Announce your new web site to all your business contacts, friends, and family. Make sure to include your web site address on all your correspondence, business cards, letterheads, invoices, etc. Anywhere it’s appropriate to spread the word, spread it!
For more in-depth information on the development phases, visit Preparing For Your Website.