1. First Steps
This is where we discuss the purpose of the site, what the client would like the site to DO for their company or organization. Inform? Sell? Interact? We will also discuss things like scope, budget and schedule. We like to meet in person and walk our clients through an intake form that we have developed to ensure we set and exceed goals for the client’s needs.
Once we have met with the client, we take our notes and prepare a written proposal, outlining the team that will be working on their project, a rough sitemap, a tentative schedule and associated costs and terms for the project. If the client accepts the proposal, the contract page is signed by both parties and the client pays the deposit (typically 50% of the total).
Once Studio Seven has been engaged to develop the client’s website, we begin with planning the initial logistics of creating the structure for the project:
- DOMAIN : Register the domain in an account under the client’s name. We will often do this in our initial meeting, so the client can use his or her credit card to set up the account. This is in the best interest of the client in that it gives them ownership of the domain. We typically use GoDaddy.com or NetworkSolutions.com.
- HOSTING : Set up a hosting account on the Studio Seven servers. We occasionally work on sites hosted on other servers, but for security reasons and past experience, we have established the following policy: If a website we develop on non-Studio Seven servers gets hacked in any way, the client is responsible for any time required to restore or rebuild the site resulting from that malicious behavior. Any sites hacked on Studio Seven servers will be restored at no cost to the client. The rationale behind this is that we can only protect that which is “in our own home.”
- TESTING SERVER : Once we have created the hosting account, we will set up a testing server where our client can view progress on the site development as we go and serve as a foundation for discussions of the site throughout the process. The server is password protected, so no one else can see the site until it is launched.
- EMAIL : We typically create domain Google Apps email accounts for our clients. With all that Google offers through those accounts like Google Calendars, Docs, YouTube, Picasa, Books, etc., it has worked out to be the best solution for the client. With few exceptions, the free Google Apps account provides most of our clients with all they need and more.
3. Content Creation
Our goal for website development for our clients is to create a solid and balanced foundation for their online marketing. This foundation primarily consists of three pillars: Content ~ Design ~ Coding. We will discuss each of these points in more detail, beginning with content.
Content creation is typically one of the most important – and most difficult – components of website development. Without great content, there is no real reason to even have a website. That content can consist of text, images, video, audio and more. Content is valued by human visitors as well as search engines and it needs to be created with both groups in mind. Remember that a website is a “living document” and the copy and images can and should be changed often. We have developed a “content form” that can be used in digital or printed format to help with this process.
- COPY : Determine who will develop the copy for the site. If we are to write the copy, which we highly encourage, we will schedule copy interviews with one of our copywriters. These can be in person or by phone. If the client is to write the copy, we will need the copy written before we begin work on the site.
- IMAGES : Determine where logos, photography and other images for the site will originate. There are tons of stock photography options these days at low prices. Studio Seven also offers custom photography for staff portraits, office interiors and exteriors, product photography, etc. quoted on a per project basis – and the costs for custom photography are often lower than you might think.
Our goal for website development for our clients is to create a solid and balanced foundation for their online marketing. This foundation primarily consists of three pillars:
- Create structure of site
- Content Management System
- Plugins / Widgets
- Testing Server
- Change DNS
- Setup Google Analytics
- Setup Google Apps Emails
- Ad words campaigns
- Social Media Campaigns
- CMS training
- Create schedule for updates