You’re on the verge of having a new website professionally developed. You’ve got some great ideas for your site, you’ve found a fantastic developer and you’ve started doing your homework to create a comprehensive brief. But where to from here?
Like anything new, the development process can be daunting when it’s unchartered territory. A couple of weeks ago, WordPress developer Justin Soong weighed in with some insights on what he looks for in a brief from a new client. This week, Justin gives us an inside look at the development process from his side of the workbench, and outlines his process for working with a client to get their site from concept stages to completion.
The creative and web-building process can, of course, vary between developers according to their own preferences and work methods, but the below guide gives you a broad overview of how the development process will generally pan out.
Take it away, Justin…
Beginning with an initial consultation, I will help the client form the brief, while taking some time to understand their business. This first meeting is a great time to brainstorm opportunities which previously may not have been considered by the client, and many developers will also take this time to set initial expectations.
I usually introduce clients to the myriad of options available to WordPress sites, such as e-commerce opportunities, plugins, and blogs, and discuss their hosting and operational options. I love the initial meeting, as it often helps clients really focus and start thinking about their goals.
Briefing and concepts
After the initial meeting, I ask my clients to start building their formal brief, normally allowing a good couple of days for them to mull over their options in their own time.
Upon receiving a brief, I’ll usual mock up some concepts and develop a statement of work. A statement of work is a list of deliverables, generally broken down into tasks and time components, and usually accompanied by a quote with different budget options.
If the client is happy with the concepts, budget, and the work involved, the green light is given, and I formally begin work on their project. By this stage, there would have been enough feedback given from the initial meeting, mock-ups and brief to begin work. It’s at this stage that I ask the client to begin thinking about the copy and content they want to see on their site.
When it comes to the testing and refinement part of the process, I develop the site in a test environment, which allows the client to test the site as the features are built. I normally give access to the test environment as early as the main skeleton of the site is ready. This allows feedback to be gained incrementally, as opposed to the client testing all features at once at the end of development. By doing this, costly rework is avoided and changes to requirements can be identified early.
The client can also start sending their copy and content over to be included at this time.
Once the client is happy at the end of the development process, the site is ready to be productionised. This involves transferring the code and database to your production web hosting.
At this point the site is developed and the client is ready to take ownership, so I set up user accounts and hand over the keys. Depending on the client’s level of existing experience and knowledge, I usually spend some time helping educate the client on how to best use the site, and if needed, give tutorials and lessons to their key staff members.
Starting right at the beginning? Check out our recent post for more information about choosing a WordPress website developer.
If you are more inclined to DIY, check out out comprehensive tutorial on how to create a website.