Milwaukee web development
ten steps to your new website
ten steps to your new website
The Build Process
The Build Process
It varies from job to job. Lots depends on whether we are starting from scratch or replacing an existing site. You will find us easy to talk to because we speak plain English, becoming a seamless extension of your team.
Step 1: Discovery
“Discovery” is how lawyers learn all the facts of a case. Our similar process starts with fact-finding interviews to fully, deeply understand your business.
- We hope to talk directly to the owner or CEO. These interviews are necessary for us to become an effective advocate for you.
- We establish rapport, discovering to what degree you want to delegate and to what degree you want complete control.
- We want to look at any other existing promotional materials including a current website. We'll seek examples of print or digital advertising you have done. If starting from scratch, we'll ask for examples of promotional campaigns you admire.
- You will identify your top three competitors. We will audit their Google rank and assess the relative strength of their SEO programs.
- We will analyze your company logo, if you already have one.
- We will learn about any advanced functionalities you need.
- We'll get a feel for how many pages you envision and what each one will say.
- If you have an existing site with a proper sitemap, we will download it for future reference, in case existing Google links need to be redirected.
- Last but not least, we'll scope out your search engine keyword space. What search terms would a person type in to find you?
Step 2: Imagery
- Web design is an increasingly visual art. And so from the get-go we need to think about illustration. We'll brainstorm photo and video needs and begin to plan whatever shoots are envisioned.
- Homemade photography can sometimes suffice, when done with our art direction. Stock photos, if used creatively, are a reasonable alternative when money is tight.
- We usually recommend that any video be produced professionally. Same goes for VR tours. But as always we will work with whatever you give us.
- If we are designing a logo for you, that will be one of our very first jobs.
Step 3: Copy
- We will either be preflighting existing copy created by you, or writing all-new copy from scratch, based on what we learned during discovery.
- Either way we are writing for two audiences: humans and algorithmic robots. People and Google, in other words.
- Your cornerstone keyword phrases will be embedded in ways that appear natural and contextual. All best practices for clarity and simplicity of language will be followed.
- In tandem with developing the front-end-visible copy, we also develop the behind-the-scenes meta copy intended strictly for use by search engines.
Step 4: Architecture
- We map out the new site's navigational scheme, including SEO-friendly URLs.
- The scheme must be intuitive, logical and easy to use.
- Our goal is to not make the user have to think.
Step 5: Prototype
- First step in the actual build process is to design a homepage prototype. Unlike the old days, multiple drafts are not needed. The prototype can be readily, easily, completely customized, based on your input, without us having to do a lot of laborious coding.
- We will create a color palette for the site – oftentimes built outward from the company logo.
- And we'll implement default typography.
- When we have an agreed-upon homepage, we design one prototype inside page, following the same protocol. Only after that prototype inside page is approved will we begin building out the entire website.
- Before proceeding any further, we rigorously test the prototype for usability and appearance across the entire range of viewports.
Step 6: Buildout
- Creation of the site interior commences, based on the patterns established by the prototype.
- Each new page is rigorously tested.
- You will be able to watch the site as it comes together.
Step 7: launch site
- This is actually one of the simplest parts of the project.
- Normally all we have to do is redirect your domain name to the draft website.
- It's like throwing a switch.
Step 8: Tune
- We once again do a page-by-page audit of the published website, checking for functionality and appearance issues across all viewport ranges.
- Particular attention is paid to load times, making sure that all pages open instantly.
Step 9: Launch SEO
- If it is a brand-new site we open it to the Googlebots for indexing, register it with Google via Webmaster Tools and submit a sitemap. For a replacement site which uses an existing, previously registered domain, we simply need to submit an updated sitemap.
- We take the further step of manually redirecting any obsolete URLs to new, working URLs on the new website. Then, we inventory all your existing links in the Google index and test them to make sure they click through to a live page on the new website.
- We also rig up what's called a “custom 404 page.” It's a catch-all referral page for anybody out there who still manages to find and click on an obsolete Google link.
- On social we deploy whatever rollout publicity has been planned in connection with the new site.
Step 10: maintain
- Your amazing new website needs periodic upkeep and maintenance to keep it secure and in tip-top shape.
- Continuous performance tuning, content updating and quality improvement are recommended for anybody serious about SEO.
- Hire us for all that, turnkey.
- Or hire us to train you to handle it yourself, without us.
- Two low-cost maintenance plans are available. We're also here to rescue sites from crashes and security breaches.
- Our final act in the build process will be to set you up with visitor tracking and reporting so that you can monitor the performance metrics of the new website.
- Ideally, tracking and performance data will inform a program of continuous improvement.