How a Typical Project Works
Building a Web site involves a number of activities. It's not
rocket science, but it can seem daunting, especially if you're
developing your Web site for the first time.
So we've put together this page to describe how a typical project
works. Most Web designers don't take the trouble to explain this
to you, but we think it's important - so you can feel
more comfortable with the process.
First, here's a broad outline of the process:
Now let's look at each of these stages in turn.
This happens before we start the project, and before you've committed to it
(If you like, this is the "sales" process):
- We have a phone conversation, so we understand what you require and
you understand what we can offer.
- We then send you a brief letter of engagement outlining the way we work.
- You read, sign and return that to us, along with the payment of the
deposit (50% of the development fee).
Now we're ready to get started!
The planning stage of the project is crucial, because we discuss and
decide on tasks, responsibilities and deadlines. Broadly, it goes like this:
- We send you a survey document, to help you get clarity on the specific
components of your site (colours, menus, layout preferences, and so on).
- When you return that to us, we have a one-hour phone consultation
with you, to discuss your responses and to set out the plan.
- We then write up a project plan, which includes the specific tasks and
milestones for the project - such as:
- Graphic design preferences (colours, layout, etc.)
- Menu structure
- List of content pages for you to write
- Who will be loading the content (you or us)
- Agreed milestones along the way
- Proposed launch date for the site
We send the project plan for you to review and approve. When you've
done that, and we both know we're on the same track, we continue with
the technical work.
If we're doing the graphic design for you, it goes through this
- You provide your logo and any other branding material.
- Our designer Natasha creates a draft design for you, based on the
layout we agreed in the project plan.
- We send this to you for review and comment.
- We incorporate your comments and create a new design. This might
take a few iterations until you're completely happy with it.
- When you approve the final design, we convert the draft into its final form,
and install it on the site.
Alternatively, if you're doing the graphic design yourself (or
using your own designer), we leave this for you to manage with them.
We stay out of this process altogether.
While the graphic design is in progress, you can start working on
the content of your site.
- We send you our "Web Writing Guide", to assist you in writing the
- You write the content, typically with each Web page in a separate
Microsoft Word document.
- You send us the content to review, so we can make suggestions (if any),
based on our experience.
- When you're happy with the content, you tell us that it's complete
and ready to load.
If you would like help with writing the material, we can put you in touch with a professional copywriter.
If we're loading all or some of the content for you, we do it at
The "integration" phase is just the point where we complete our work,
and "hand over" the site to you before it's launched:
- We review all the Web pages we've loaded.
- We check for broken links.
- We test all the software facilities (newsletter, downloading documents, shopping cart, etc.).
- We set up e-mail addresses.
At the end of this process, we're ready to hand over the site to
you for the final work before launching it.
At this point, we also invoice you for the remaining development
work (typically 50% of the original development fee, plus the
fee for loading Web pages - if any).
We "hand over" the site to you before launching it:
- We schedule a phone training session for you with our Help Desk
staff, so you can learn how the "back end" of the site works. We
allow up to 2 hours of training, though this doesn't all have to
happen in one continuous block.
- You then load any remaining Web pages.
At the end of this process, we're ready to launch the site.
This stage simply means we're making the site open to the public:
- We make the site visible to the public.
- We test your new e-mail addresses.
- We give you ideas on how to promote the site effectively.
How long does this take?
This varies for each client. We can probably say that a typical
Web site project takes 4 to 6 weeks. But that's just an average.
We have done some in a week, and others have taken months.
How can you speed up the process?
The two most time-consuming (that is, labour intensive) components
of the project are the graphic design and writing the content.
Your input into these two areas is critical to the success of the project. Read on ...
If you are very clear about your design requirements, that will
make the process faster. For example, if you give us clear
examples of Web sites you like and Web sites you don't like (with
specific reasons for liking/disliking them), it's easier for our
designer to create an initial draft that you'll probably like.
Writing the content
If you're a good writer, this might be easy for you. But from our
experience, this is usually the single task that takes the longest.
So get started on this as soon as possible. And realise it doesn't
have to be 100% perfect. Focus on writing professional content that's
good enough for the initial launch of the site. You can always change
it yourself later!