The Secret to Turbocharging Your Web Design Timelines: Preparation
For online businesses, being able to quickly take your new website from the initial design concept to a live, working reality gives you a competitive edge. Unfortunately, getting the job done can be far from simple.
A report by Forrester Consulting found a significant gap between the desired delivery time of business leaders and the actual project duration taken by web design and development teams. While there might be a number of reasons for this, issues related to project management are at the forefront.
As we’ve seen when taking over development from other firms, projects often go awry due to missed deadlines, poor communication, and lagging development timelines. No matter your development firm, we recommend the use of distinct milestones with a structured, collaborative approach to ensure a reliable completion date.
At Bear Creek Web, we follow a simple process that incorporates Planning, Design, Development, Deployment and Marketing stages to ensure success. Here’s an in-depth look at how this process translates into actionable milestones that ensure aggressive deadlines are met:
Planning: Initial Goals and Objectives
Before any design, coding or content is created, we first work with you to understand the goals of the website and how your business stands out from the competition. To do this, we work directly with you to uncover the needs of your target market and specific customer personas that are the best fit for your business.
With this framework in place, we then jointly review your competitors’ sites as well as other sites that appeal to you and discuss what you like about them. Having this type of information means that our first concept designs will directly reflect what you need your website to accomplish, which reduces the amount of back and forth to get an initial design approved.
Design: Concept Creation & Approval
At this stage, any revised logos and graphics will have been created and an initial sitemap established. We will then present three unique custom design concepts to you all meeting your goals established during the planning phase. You will then choose which design concept you like best (But I like all three!), and give us any tweaks or changes you want implemented. We will make those changes and more often than not, you will say ‘That’s perfect’. If not yet perfect, we keep tweaking until it is. Getting the look right at this stage means that the rest of your site’s development can go faster – this is especially the case if you have your content ready to go.
Development: Functionality & QA Review
The next milestone will occur once your website design is completed and content has been delivered to us. We first setup a development site that only you have access to. We then code all the pages and add your content.
Our very finicky design team and project manager will then review to make sure each of the requirements listed in the planning stage has been met and implemented properly.
As you come into this final stretch of your project, having proper quality assurance is vital as it uncovers any issues that have been overlooked up to this point, and ensures that your website’s visitors have an error-free user experience.
Our functionality review encompasses all aspects of user experience and performance, including:
- Cross browser compatibility and visual consistency
- Security and coding check for standard adherence to coding best practices
- Cross platform compatibility and consistency check
- Mobile functionality check
Any bugs that are found will be immediately recorded and prioritized in order to ensure they are corrected well before the site launches.
Development: Security Review
Many security considerations are server-side (meaning they are invisible to the end user). This means they often aren’t a formal part of the review process that you would participate in to determine correct functionality.
That being said, all websites require a security review. For example, websites that require login details, forms that collect sensitive information, or websites with shopping carts need to be tested for security in order to maintain the integrity of your brand. Even sites that don’t collect information need to be hardened against hackers who might try to use your site to distribute malware.
Poor website security can cause serious damage to your company’s brand and expose you to significant financial risk, so ensure any security concerns are corrected early in the development process. At Bear Creek Web, we conform to all best-practices for website security, and our code is always implements the latest security measures available.
Deployment: Taking Your Site Live
If you already have an existing site, it will take anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours for the new version of your site to “go live”. This is normal as the DNS servers (the servers that link your website name to your website’s IP address) can take some time to update from your old site to the new one.
The same is true if you have a brand new site – it may take some hours before the DNS servers update and your new website is available.
However, you should not have any downtime if the site is deployed properly. Done well, it will be a seamless transition from your old site to the new and improved version.
Marketing: Making Your Site Work for You
Like any business asset, your website will provide a better ROI when used to its fullest potential. But when it comes to many web design and development firms, once your site is live, their work is over. You have a new website but no guidance for what to do next.
Having a solid marketing plan in place will help you to hit the ground running with ideas for content, social media, and conversion optimization. Full-service web development firms like ours can provide you with a blueprint for what to do next in order to maximize the investment you’ve made in your website.
For businesses that lack the staff to execute on these plans, we also have a skilled marketing team available. With intimate knowledge of how your website works and a full understanding of your existing goals, we help you hit the ground running when it comes to successful online marketing.
DO YOU NEED A TOP-NOTCH WEB DEVELOPMENT TEAM TO HANDLE YOUR NEW WEBSITE?
At Bear Creek Web, we’re committed to handling your web development needs on time, on spec, and within budget. Contact us today to schedule a review of your site and see how we can help you generate more leads and sales from your online presence.