WEBSITES: From Start to Never Finish
Your Website: From Start to Never Finish
Generally, there are four approaches to building a website: DIY, do-it-yourself with some help, have your site built for you (but on a platform you can use), or a blend of all.
On average it takes about 30 hours to create, edit, and launch a standard website. It's just too important to breeze through or cut corners on something vital to your branding and marketing - so vital to you and your audience. There's choosing a template, page construction, pulling together content, refining text and images or responsive design, revisions, additions....
And things come up: things you never thought about, things 'we' didn't think about, things that come about on their own. Regardless - not a clock watcher - I commit to 30-45 days from site creation through post launch. I use a project driven approach, divided into thirds. Each third is roughly 7-10 hours, but as with anything, this is a fluid guideline for staying organized start to finish. Here's how it unfolds:
1 COLLABORATE - CREATE
Research Template Selection Page Construction
Page Design Content Creation
Correspondence - e-mails phone calls - drives the initial period to understand your needs and wants and capture them for the entire project - they're not always fixed in stone. I always research your industry overall as well as others like you; it doesn't have to be extensive, but it keeps your online presence in perspective. Next step? Selecting the right platform, the right design features, the right template, and elements that will drive your site like blogging, e-commerce, calendaring, appointment scheduling, image galleries. Next step? Building the initial pages, inserting, text & images - tweaking and refining the page structure and design. Round 1 closes with the new site in place.
If you already have an existing site and you're just moving to a new platform, this initial period does not have to be this extensive. But experience shows moving a site opens up new opportunities and many needs never before addressed rise to the surface when moving from old to new. It happens every time.
2 COLLABORATE - REFINE
Communication | Collaboration
Page Revisions | Content Revisions
SEO Descriptions | SEO Page Text Review
Step 2 is just more of the same on the way to launch - settling in and finalizing the site, features, and elements. Keywords are gathered or strengthened, SEO descriptions are written for the site and each page. Page content is tweaked to meet search engine algorithm needs. Copy is tweaked for responsive design (smartphones, tablets).
3 COLLABORATE - LAUNCH - TWEAK
Communication | Collaboration
Pages Finalized Content Finalized SEO Analytics
Post Launch Tweaks
Collaboration never ceases - but before launch it's best to finalize all design and content for the initial rollout. For moving existing sites this period involves mapping your old domain name to your new site, , tweaking page descriptions, and URL slugs (page names), setting up Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools to ensure Google has everything it needs - uploading you sitemap, deleting outdated URLS, Google plus page (local business) setup. Bring up the site and VOILA! There's always tweaking and more communication and collaboration.