This phase typically starts with a face to face meeting or a phone call where we discuss all of the details of your site. We will want to know what you hope to accomplish with your website, how you want to maintain it (CMS or no CMS?), how you want it to look and feel, and other general information that will help us give you an accurate quote and enough ideas to get started on a design.
Once we have all of the details from the discovery phase we can put it all into an itemized list and give you an accurate quote for all of the services on that list. We will walk you through each item and make sure you understand what goes into each step and make sure everything you are wanting to do is included in the quote, as well as get rid of anything you do not need or find cheaper alternatives. A cheaper price means fewer hours, and we don’t want to spend extra time on things that you may or may not need—we only want to spend time on the things you definitely need. If you approve of the quote, sign it, and then we move on to the next phase.
We typically will come up with 1-2 basic design ideas of just the homepage based on your references and design notes (if you have provided such) and we will send them over to see which one works best. Once we have a basic design for the homepage we will begin building out the additional pages like interior pages, forms, special pages (i.e. Portfolio) and so forth, following the same motif as the approved homepage. Once that is done, you fall in love with it and approve the whole design, and then we can move on to the next step. Once a design is approved changes cannot be made unless you have purchased a package that allows for such changes. The reason is that if we didn’t cut off the design changes at some point, things tend to go on forever and ever, and making changes to the design after a site has entered the Build phase can derail the whole project depending on the nature of the change. So we want to make sure you are completely happy with the design (and understand everything about it) before moving on to the next step.
The build step is where we make the site functional and test across all browsers, devices, and different environments to simulate how your site would look in different scenarios. It is during this phase that we set up any special forms, eCommerce items, and basically make your site go from a static design file to a fully functional website.
This is where we send you a password protected staging environment link to review and test on your own. Having a different set of eyes on the site helps to catch problems before anything goes out to the world to view. Here we would want you to test everything and make sure it all looks and functions like you expect it to. We're always going to find bugs, so go nuts and try everything you can to make something break. It's better that we get this stuff out of the way before going live!
Once the review is finished then we take over again and move your site to a live place on the web that the whole world can view. This step typically is done in the middle of the night or whenever you have the least traffic since sometimes the process of moving the site live can take a few hours and your site would be offline for this time until the transfer is complete. This downtime depends on a lot of factors, but the down time is typically minimal. Once it is live, we test again to make sure everything is good, and your site is good to go!
This phase of the process is more like an epilogue for a website. This includes any changes you can’t make on your own, upgrades to software your site may be using (like Wordpress plugins, versions, and so forth), and just general maintenance, bug fixes and so forth. Sometimes these changes do incur an hourly charge depending on the nature of the change and the reasoning behind it. Your website is basically like your vehicle: sometimes things need to be fixed, recalled, or be tuned up down the road.