When you talk to us about a new website, or even a change to your existing one, we will listen carefully to your thoughts and needs and offer a solution that suits you and your requirements.
We understand how difficult it is for everyone to pinpoint exactly what it is they want out of their website. Maybe you want to sell products online, or drive enquiries through to your business; perhaps you just require a web front-end to your bricks-and-mortar business. Some people want to manage the content of their website, others would prefer to get on with managing their business and leave that aspect to us.
The Project Sheet
Typically we will ask you a series of questions aimed at understanding your needs and goals. To simplify matters, we have put together the most relevant of these questions in our site project sheet. It is helpful to you and us if you can review this before we get together for our first meeting. Don't worry about answering all the questions in detail; it is simply a guide to get you thinking about the business goals of the website and your preferences.
Presumably you will have a budget in mind when you are thinking of your new site or design. It makes good business sense to have thought about this up front. It is not much fun for either party if we are talking about different orders of magnitude when it comes to how much it will cost! We are not the cheapest web designers, but we are committed to giving you value for money. If you are simply looking for the cheapest quote, we suggest you may be better served elsewhere.
Based on the information gathered from your answers and discussions in our meetings, we will put together a baseline price for the work we have identified as requirements for the scope of the project. The quotation will include a list of what we will do; a kind of specification of works. This allows you to review our recommendations and avoids any nasty surprises later on for either party. Of course there may be amendments required after further discussion, but once we have agreed the requirements and settled on the price, any additional work will need to be costed separately.
The time it takes to develop and launch a new or redesigned website varies tremendously depending on the kind of site (e.g. brochure style, CMS-driven, eCommerce), and how quickly you are able to provide us with the necessary information to build the site, as well as our current commitments.
We will try to give you an indication of when we can start work on the site, and this is a good time for you to start to gather any information or media that may be required. Bear in mind that the success of the project depends very much on your commitment as well as ours; the amount of work required is something that is often underestimated by customers, but you know your own business better than anyone, and therefore you will play a key role in the project.
Your website project will go through a number of steps, depending on the complexity of the task, and typically we will ask you to sign off each stage of the project to let us know you're happy with what we have done so far.
Generally the first stage is the design phase whereby our graphic designer will create a series of mockups of how the site will look. You will be able to review these online and come back to us with your thoughts. We generally hope to reach agreement on a design within three rounds of reviews (often there is no need for so many; if you like the initial design, things can move on that much quicker).
Once the design is agreed, we will begin the coding; this may mean a number of disciplines on our part - database work, integrating content management or eCommerce solutions or simply creating web pages in HTML and CSS for a brochure site. This is often the longest phase, and occasionally we may suggest changes or improvements as our ideas develop and flourish.
If your site requires a content management system or eCommerce functionality, once we have reached a stable point in development, we will generally provide an online preview area allowing you to log in to the system and experiment with the management interface. This allows you to become familiar with how the back-end of the site works in advance of the site going live. It also gives you the opportunity to populate some of the site content instead of being faced with an empty shell once we have finished.
We will put a fully working site preview online for you to analyse and review before giving us the final sign off so that we can launch the site.
Once launched, we will give you details of any site analytics and statistics packages we may have installed and guide you through using these and any other aspects. If we have provided a CMS or eCommerce solution, there is a half-day training session at our office whenever is convenient for you.