Planning your web projects » Getting It Done
Developing a new web site, Intranet or any new web site functionality can be a substantial undertaking. When you partner with myWebWiz our project management experience allows us to minimize the impact on you and your staff.
Here's a web site project planning process you should consider...
Determine Your Needs
The first step in developing your new web site or feature is to figure out what you want. Take advantage of our free needs analysis and we'll ask lots of questions and provide you with ideas. That will give you a good idea of costs and timelines and if you want to try to DIY (do it yourself) or partner with myWebWiz.
When you partner with myWebWiz, we'll meet with you to analyze the relevant aspects of your business including your business processes, customer demographic, organizational objectives, and marketing strategy. This will help provide the framework for developing an online solution that is consistent with your business or personal goals.
Document Your Project Plan
Once you've defined your goals, document the steps of the project. If possible, break things down into phased releases of pages or functionality. This can help you budget for the most important pieces and help you achieve manageable timelines. Your project plan should outline each milestone and it's timeline and estimated costs. This project plan will serve as our road map throughout the development process.
When you partner with myWebWiz, we'll document the plan and ask you to sign off on it before we begin any work. If your needs change once we've started, rest assured, we are flexible and want you to be happy with the final solution. We can revise the original scope (and potentially the pricing and timeline, depending on the nature of your change requests).
Design a Prototype
Explore other web sites and get an idea of how you'd like your site to look. Use a word processor, powerpoint or a graphics program to design a "picture" of what you'd like your site to look like. You may need several versions if you have some pages where the content is displayed in a unique way from the other pages on your site. This prototype will become the baseline you'll need as a reference once you start coding your pages.
When you partner with myWebWiz, we'll review the other web sites that inspired you and we'll discuss logos, graphics, fonts, colors, navigation and other elements in more detail. From that we'll create a few "pictures" for you to review. Once you sign off on these pictures (the prototype), we'll begin coding a working model that you can access on the web as we start building the site. Although specific page content will not appear until later, this model will provide you an online view of the general look and feel of your site.
Begin coding the web pages
If you decide to build the site yourself, you'll need a variety of web site building tools to start coding your pages. For your logo and graphic elements you'll need tools like PhotoShop, PaintShopPro, etc.. For the text and layout of the pages, you can use a simple text editor if you know HTML. If you do not, some web hosting services include WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) tools and templates. Taking this approach may or may not allow you to achieve the look and feel or functionality that you desire and you may have a learning curve that prevents you from achieving your project timelines.
When you partner with myWebWiz, we already have the tools and expertise to build your pages. Once you've signed off on the prototype, we'll begin pulling all the pieces together. Your input and collaboration are critical during this phase since YOU need to provide us with the content (text and graphics) for your pages. While some of the content will need to be developed from scratch, we may be able to get most of it from files or marketing materials you already have. If we need to develop anything from scratch, we should have uncovered that in our prototype discussion. Custom content development can adversely impact any project timeline, so nailing this down is a critical task. In any event, this phase of the project is where things really begin to take shape and your new web site comes to life. You'll be able to track our progress by viewing your development web site at any time.
Once your first draft of pages is ready, you'll need to make sure to test them using a variety of web browsers and operating systems. Windows, Macintosh, Internet Explorer, Safari, FireFox, Opera, Chrome, and other systems all have unique components and you can't predict what combinations everyone in the world is using. You'll need to test your pages on as many different systems as you can so that you can be sure the visitors to your site will have a consistent experience. If you use a hosting provider's WYSIWYG tools and templates, you may or may not have a development or pre-release test area.
When you partner with myWebWiz, we do extensive pre-release testing on our development servers and include things like various operating systems, browser versions, screen resolutions, and more. Once we are satisfied, we we post the files on the web at a pre-release location so that you can review it as well. We can't test for every possible system configuration, but we can design and code in a way that covers the vast majority of possibilities. Over time, we can even track your site activity and tell you what system configurations are being used by people visiting your site.
Make your site live!
Once you're comfortable with your final pages, it's time to GO LIVE. If you've been using a hosting provider that doesn't have a pre-release feature, you've been exposing the world to your web site during the entire development process...glitches and all.
When you partner with myWebWiz, the world won't see your web site until it's ready (unless you share the development URL with then). Only after you sign off on the final development version will we copy your pages from the development site to the "www" site for the world to see.
Making changes to the live site
Change is good. Keeping your web site's content up-to-date and adding new content will keep visitors coming back and telling others to come to your site. If you took the DIY approach and feel comfortable doing your own updates, you can do them whenever time permits. If your changes are more complex, don't hesitate to contact a specialist for support.
When you partner with myWebWiz, even if you built the site yourself, we can do web site maintenance for you. It's up to you to decide when you need our help. If we built the site for you, we generally have included a maintenance plan in the project plan. As part of that process, we'll implement a regular, periodic testing routine to verify that all links, funtionality and page elements continue to function properly. Finally, we will be there to address your future needs as your organization grows and your online strategy changes.