website process

OK, I want a website, what’s the process?

A new WordPress site, whether for personal, hobby, or business use, is an investment. Not only is there is a financial cost, but the process can take time, and can require a fair amount of energy. Its important to know what to expect when you sign up and say, “OK, let’s do this.”

The Conversation

For me, the first thing is discovery. Discovery is the process of finding out what it is that you need. You have a business that you want to promote, great. Do you want to list your available services? Do you want to list packages and prices? I assume you want people to be able to contact you through the site, but are you doing a lot of social media or blogging, or is it just going to be a mail form?

Now, its important to know that a good consultant isn’t just going make a list and run with it. Yes, as a developer I am trying to nail down a specification, that is, the list of things I need to build. However, I want us both to think about whether or not the list of things makes sense. For example, let’s say you provide some service like Career Coaching. Within that service there are any number of different smaller services that a potential customer can choose from. So maybe listing them all will make the customer feel like they are staring at the Denny’s menu. Too many choices can cause paralysis.

The better option might be to really hone in on copy that tells the story of what you do. Drop hints at the different services available and lead the customer down the path to talking to you more.

Point is, when figuring out what you need for your website, it has to be a conversation and exploration, not an inventory.

The Drawing

So, we have figured out what we need. At that point, there will be a high-resolution mockup (a flat image file) of the pages. This will be the basis for the work, and really defines the scope. With the mockups, we will go back and forth a couple of times to arrive at the final design. Once its locked in, I will go and build.

Generally speaking, barring very unique or specialized sites, the building of a custom WordPress site from the design doesn’t take that long. I prefer to spend time prior to the coding; going through the specifications and design. Those are the crucial conversations.

The Code

I will build the website on my own computer, and then when its ready for you to review, I will migrate it to a staging site. That site will only be available to you and me. It is likely that once you interact with it, both on your laptop and on your phone, you may want to change small things. I build in time for this. As much as the flat image is representative, the live thing sometimes sparks new ideas, and we want room to address them.

Once the staging site is approved, we will discuss plans to launch. For some people this is as simple as “make it live and let me know.” For others, this will be coordinated with a social media or email campaign. Also, part of the package that I offer includes training on WordPress as it relates to the content on your site, so if you would like to dive into that prior to launch, we can.

Depending on the options you choose, I can provide some medium to long-term support for your site after launch. Otherwise, as part of the training, I will provide you with the know-how to do basic site maintenance tasks yourself.

Your new WordPress site is live! Go forth and make your web presence felt!