Navigating a Corporate Website Project with Us
Are you considering hiring us for your web project, but unsure of what to expect? Look no further! In this post, we will provide a detailed breakdown of what a typical 3-month corporate website project with our agency looks like, from start to finish. This will give you a better understanding of our process and how we work, helping you to make an informed decision about whether our services are the right fit for your project. So without further ado, let’s get started!
The Onboarding Process
We start by setting up your client account and giving you a guided tour around our client portal. This will be the main workspace and we will try to keep as much of the work and communications as possible within it. You can log in to the portal at any time and see what we are working on, as we are working on it. This is also where everything to do with your project will live. Here you will find all of your tasks, personal notes, upcoming meetings, files, and deliverables neatly organised. This means you don’t need to worry about losing files, or keeping track of endless email chains. It’s all in the portal and will continue to be there for as long as you need after the project has finished.
We will also schedule a weekly call with you. This is where we’ll sync up and go through what’s been happening over the last week. It will be your chance to ask any questions, or give any feedback on completed deliverables.
To ensure that all stakeholders and team members are kept informed and up-to-date, we offer the option to record, transcribe, and summarise all calls for your convenience. This way, anyone who was unable to attend a meeting will have the opportunity to review the key points and decisions. By doing so, we can ensure that everyone is aware of what was discussed and agreed upon.
After the onboarding is completed, we get to work.
The Web Project Planning Phase
This is where we plan everything out to ensure that the project is completed on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards. The planning involves identifying the goals and objectives of the project, determining the scope of the work that needs to be done, and creating a schedule and budget for completing the work. It also involves identifying and managing any risks that may impact the project, and creating contingency plans to address those risks.
Research, Analysis & Strategies
We start by conducting interviews with stakeholders to gain a thorough understanding of your company, products, culture, and values.
We then conduct a market analysis, competitor analysis, and a SWOT analysis of your current web presence. The SWOT analysis is identical to our 360º Web Audit service. If you have already completed this step, the cost for audit will be deducted from the planning fee.
Finally, we develop a digital strategy, SEO strategy, content strategy, and UX strategy to guide the project.
Goals, Responsibilities & Requirements
After completing this preparatory assessment and ideation, we move on to defining specific goals for the website using the SMART goal-setting framework. This helps us to identify clear goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
We also assist with creating a responsibilities chart, which helps to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the various individuals or teams involved in the development, maintenance, and management of the website.
We then create a requirements specification using the MoSCoW method, which allows us to prioritise features and determine what “must have,” “should have,” “could have,” and “won’t have” based on the given time frame and resources.
Information Architecture & Prototyping
Next, we focus on the information architecture, which involves defining templates, template keywords, navigation, and creating a visual sitemap to form a logical and intuitive structure for the website content.
Upon approval of the sitemap, we move on to the design concept, which is an idea or approach that serves as the foundation for the website’s design. It outlines the overall look and feel of the site and guides the design process, including elements such as the color scheme, typography, imagery, and layout, as well as any overarching themes or ideas.
Once the design concept is approved, we create a wireframe, which is a low-fidelity visual representation of the website showing the layout, structure, and hierarchy of the content without any styling or visual design elements. This helps us to quickly test and iterate on different design ideas.
Upon approval of the wireframe, we turn it into a prototype, which is a more advanced, interactive version of the wireframe with more detailed design elements such as color, typography, and imagery. We use the prototype to test the usability of the site and gather feedback from users.
IT Solution Design
We also create an IT solution design document, which outlines the technical details of the proposed IT solution and provides a detailed overview of the solution and how it will be implemented and support the business. This includes information such as the architecture of the solution, the hardware and software components that will be used, and the processes and policies that will be implemented. The IT solution design document also includes estimates and options for development, as well as an accurate timeline for the subsequent project phases.
We then schedule a meeting with stakeholders to present our solutions and address any questions or concerns. Here, we will also give you a quote for the implementation of the project plan. By separating the planning phase from the implementation phases, we want to make sure that you are comfortable with the direction of the project before committing too many resources. If for any reason you decide not to proceed with us, you can now walk away with the full project blueprint at a cost of only 20% of your total budget. We hope that this option will provide some peace of mind and help you feel confident in choosing our agency to work on your project.
The Content Phase
This is where we create and gather all the necessary text and visual media for the website.
We will either create or gather the necessary website copy, and we will always assist with proofreading and copy editing. If you don’t have a content writing style guide, we will help create one to outline the editorial guidelines and standards for writing content for your specific company or brand.
For visuals, we will either create or gather all necessary media, including your logo and other brand assets, images, and videos. This process may also be a collaboration, where we assist with media editing, conversion, and compression as needed.
It is generally best to have all content prepared before beginning the design phase, but if this is not possible, the design team can begin working once the homepage content has been finalised. Ultimately, the order in which the content and design phases are completed will depend on the specific needs and priorities of the project.
The Design Phase
The design phase is divided into 2 stages. First, we focus on the homepage. This is often the most complex and feature-rich page on a website, and typically requires a more detailed design process than other templates. By finalising the design concept for the homepage first, we have a solid foundation to build upon as we move on to designing the other templates.
Once the homepage concept has been approved, we design the rest of the templates. This process is usually faster, as we have already settled on the aesthetic direction and established a consistent look and feel of the website that will be carried through to the other pages.
Once all templates have been approved, we create a visual style guide to help your in-house marketing team and designers create additional visual materials that are consistent with the website. The guide outlines the design elements and principles used on the website, including the color palette, typography, imagery, and layout guidelines. It is delivered both as a PDF and as a live page on the new website, making it easy for your team to reference and use as needed.
The Development Phase
The development phase typically overlaps with the design phase. It is divided into 5 stages.
We start with the backend development. This includes setting up WordPress, creating your custom post types, taxonomies, and custom fields, configuring any third-party plugins that will be used, and programming the custom functionality of the website. By following the PHP Coding Standards and the WordPress Coding Standards for PHP, we ensure that the code is clean, consistent, and maintainable.
We prepare the web components that will be used, and develop any missing components following the WAI-ARIA design pattern for compatibility with screen readers and other assistive technologies.
We develop our websites with a mobile-first approach, using flexible grids, fluid typography, and responsive images to scale up the design and adjust its layouts on larger screens. Finally, we perform thorough browser testing to ensure that the website is compatible with all modern web browsers, and degrades gracefully when needed.
Once the frontend design has been approved by the designer, and the website reviewed by the manager, we will send you a link to the development site, where you will be able to add any comments or feedback directly on the site through a point-and-click interface.
We collect your feedback, carry out any revisions, and ask for your approval.
In this stage, we optimise the performance of the website in terms of speed, usability, and security. This involves work both on the website itself, the server it is hosted on, and the content delivery network (CDN). We keep fine-tuning things until the site meets the promise of our PageSpeed guarantee.
Next, we input the website meta data and optimise the individual web pages for search engines. This includes making sure that all the pages include the targeted keywords, that they have descriptive and concise title tags and meta descriptions, header tags, a keyword-rich URL structure, and appropriate alt text for images.
We test all contact forms, sign-up forms, and any other forms on the website that are used to collect information from users. We make sure that the form submission process works as expected, that errors are being handled correctly, and that sensitive data is being transmitted securely. We also make sure that all links on the website are working, and that the link structure for new content is the intended.
Finally, the web copy is proofread and reviewed by the copywriter.
3. Beta Testing
This is the final stage of testing before releasing the website to the general public. We first let you test the site. We then let 2 of our team members test the site. Finally, we ask an external user who is representative of the target audience to test the site and provide feedback on their experience. The feedback is used to identify any remaining issues or areas for improvement and to make final adjustments to the website before its official release. Once the website has been approved by the manager, we ask you for your final approval. The website is then ready for deployment.
In this stage, we transfer the website from the development server to the production server. In most cases, this simply means scaling up the development server to production requirements. We do a final review of the website and fix any remaining errors that may have been introduced during the transfer.
Once everything has been finalised, we create the website documentation, which will be available to you as interactive guides from the WordPress administration area. We configure a backup schedule and test recovery from backup. We setup your CDN, configure DNS records and firewalls, and point your domain to the new server. Et voila! The site is live and open to the world.
Finally, we submit a XML sitemap to Google and other search engines, informing them about the new site structure and requesting them to crawl the site.
5. Operations & Maintenance
In this final stage, we schedule a meeting with your team to celebrate the launch, setup your maintenance plan, and to evaluate the project: results/plan, goals achievements, etc. We also give you our last recommendations and updates.
We then schedule another meeting with your content managers for a 2 hours CMS training, which concludes the project.
It is important to note that the process for developing a website can vary depending on the specific needs and goals of the project. However, the steps outlined in this article provide a general overview of the process that our agency follows when working on a corporate website project. By working closely with our clients and following a structured process, we are able to deliver high-quality websites that meet the needs of the client and their target audience.
We hope that this overview has given you a better understanding of how we approach corporate website projects and the steps involved. If you have any further questions or would like to discuss your specific project in more detail, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We look forward to working with you and helping you achieve success with your website.