7 Steps to a Better Business Website Development Process
It’s fair to say that WordPress has changed the world of website creation and content publication. It allows anyone to build an internet presence for themselves or their business, which is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for that site to miss the mark on achieving the goals of the business it represents.
Many of our clients have come to us when they’ve reached a crossroads in their business growth. They’ve utilized the WordPress software and the various solutions found in free or premium plugins and themes to accomplish the immediate goals of their website.
- Detailing what their business or service provides
- Displaying contact information
- Showcasing product information
- …and all the other baseline features a visitor would expect to see
They’ve built the solid structure, so the focus then usually turns to driving traffic and leads; the marketing of it all.
- Landing page creation
- Sales funnels
- Keyword optimization
- Advanced customer vetting via complex forms
- eCommerce capability
- Integrations with 3rd-party APIs
- …and more
As they focus more on growth, it can quickly become overwhelming to try and keep up with all the available solutions, let alone choosing the right one for their needs. Not only that, but as they learn more about the marketing opportunities for their business, they realize that the initial structure, design, and development of an existing site didn’t account for many of the requirements needed to scale and convert visitors as well as it should.
They find themselves “locked in” to the design of the theme they’ve applied or to the specific feature set of their chosen plugins. This can quickly become a mess for both the business owner and their existing or potential customers.
Copy Our Process and Build a Solid Foundation
Through our years of experience, trial and error and constant refinement, we’ve come to rely on a system that now works well for both our clients and our own business.
The seven steps below outline the process we use with every single client. We welcome you to apply this same process yourself when planning the launch (or relaunch) of your new business site. If you’re one person or a small team, feel free to apply these steps to yourself and play the part of both agency and client. Or just get in touch with us to help.
Step One: Meet and Greet
You’ll speak with several members from our team who will take careful notes, ask questions, and let you get to know us too. After we determine we’re a good fit, our team will recommend next steps.
Every client is different, common next steps are:
- Sign up for 1-2 weeks of intense custom development, which helps your site become stable, secure, and ready to be managed by our maintenance team.
- Begin research & discovery.
Step Two: Research and Discovery
In this phase, we meet with your team and get to know your business intimately. We research solutions and strategize ways to achieve your goals. The deliverable for you is a project audit, documenting our planning.
This project audit is a valuable roadmap for your project. It explains where your problems are, uncovers hidden needs, analyzes your audience, and identifies areas for growth. It includes requirements, tasks, estimates, timelines, and a start date!
What’s in a typical site audit?
- Analysis of your site & audience.
- Vision, scope, and planning to achieve your goals.
- Detailed list of requirements & tasks.
- Site maps, estimates, budget & timeline.
- Recommendations for improving ROI.
- Design direction.
Step Three: On-boarding
Thanks to our project audit, we have a roadmap, along with a detailed list of requirements and tasks. During on-boarding, your work is scheduled for production. It starts with a kickoff meeting where we outline our goals for the first phase of work. We’ll also introduce you to our project management software.
What you can expect during on-boarding:
- A staging environment set up.
- Phase 1 goals outlined.
- Your tasks organized in your project management software.
- Your weekly Monday meetings and daily stand-up meetings scheduled.
Weekly Cycle: Agile Production
During production, we execute the work we’ve carefully planned. Every Monday, we talk with you in a call and outline our specific goals for the week. During the week, you’ll have a dedicated project manager to keep you in the loop. You are also invited to our project management software, to watch tickets and provide feedback. Every Friday, you’ll receive a detailed update about our progress—including screencasts to show off new features.
You can expect:
- Monday planning meetings
- Daily stand-up meetings with your team
- Private chat room with your developers
- A dedicated project manager
- Work published on a staging server.
- Weekly screencasts
- Friday status updates.
Step Four: UX/UI and Design
We turn our strategic planning into visual results. We focus on your users and design an interface to accomplish your business goals. Our user-focused approach carefully follows the strategy that we crafted in your discovery phase.
What to expect:
- Design Mockups
- User Funnels
Step Five: Development
We’re your expert team for all things tech. Our solutions are built to current best practices, with your future growth in mind. Your site will look beautiful on all devices—from desktop to tablets & phone. Our team employs agile methodologies and continually prioritizes what’s next based on your feedback. The result is efficient code that meets your goals, and positions you to keep growing in future phases.
What to expect:
- Work Published on a Staging Server
- Code Written to Current Standards
- GitHub Integration
- Cross-Browser Testing
Step Six: Quality Assurance and Launch
After production wraps up, we ensure your project is truly ready for launch. We check for cross-browser compatibility issues and address any bugs. We also educate your team on how to use your new site.
What to expect:
- Compatibility Review
- Bug Fixes
- Final Review with Client
- Training Screencasts for Using New Site
- Copy Review
Step Seven: On-going Maintenance
A tremendous benefit of working with WP Valet is our hands-on maintenance and support. After the active development phase, you’ll need to keep your security up-to-date; and handle plugin and system updates. Our custom development clients transition seamlessly to our support team after launch, and their sites are constantly monitored and cared for into the future.
Our monthly support features:
- Plugin & System Updates
- Security Patches
- Site Monitoring 24/7
- Developer Assistance
- Weekly Reporting
Whether you’re an freelance entrepreneur handling every aspect of business yourself or you’re part of a web agency that works with clients regularly, we hope that sharing our development process will help with your continued success.
If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about how we can help your business individually, please feel free to drop us a line.