What is the Process of Building a Website?

You have decided it is time for a new website.  Your old site isn’t mobile enabled, much less responsive, and it is built is an archaic language, like ASP or ColdFusion, and is just not search engine friendly.  Building a website is a major process, and we are sure you are wondering, what happens next? Well, if you have chosen Marketing RELEVANCE as your partner, here is how we approach website projects.

Building a new website is approximately a 14 week project that starts with a discovery call/meeting. We can do this over the phone in a Go To Meeting type environment, or the Marketing Relevance team can travel to the your site to look at product, get to know the team, and meet face-to-face to discuss the initial phase of the project.  We typically don’t include travel in our website budgets, but it is always an option. Travel is most often chosen by clients who engage with Marketing Relevance on am ongoing basis after the website for strategic marketing, SEO, content marketing, public relations, etc.
The discovery meeting produces a set of notes that, once approved by the client’s team, provides a road map for design and development. Marketing Relevance splits our effort into two tracks that are tied together, but move somewhat independently. Our design team, using a  mobile design first strategy, creates wire-frames for mobile and desktop for approval. Once approved, the home page comp and up to four internal page comps are created for approval. The homepage design is the first page created (1 – 2 designs) and have up to two iterations of that homepage. The internal pages are based on the approved homepage design. Items that need to be approved at this stage are: 1) wire-frames, 2)home page comps – desktop and mobile, and 3) up to four internal page comps.Any additional design work, including additional pages or a new logo or new branding is considered out of scope.

Development starts with the discovery document. From it a ‘functional requirement’ document is created that details all of the functionality and modules included in the project. Everything from URL structure, framework and language, and other technical details. are included in this document.  Once the client approves this document, Marketing Relevance deploys, configures and customizes the Marketing Relevance Radmin content management system that houses and manages website data. Our homebuilder/developer clients benefit from the homebuilder Radmin extension because the data is complex and has multiple layers of detail. Area, community, plans, specs, options are only five of the levels of data details.  Data for manufacturers is complex too with multiple products and skew numbers, it is important to have a site robust enough to manage all the details. The Marketing Relevance Radmin content management system handles this data well. Building out Radmin to match the details of  the client’s requirements is what is referred to as back end development.

Once the design is approved, Marketing Relevance starts building out the front end of the website. Front end development is comprised of what the site looks like, what the user sees, where the data is displayed, etc. Ultimately the goal is to have the front end and the back end development completed about the same time so that we can begin to add content (words on the page, images, videos) and data (info about your product) to the database and test the site. The Marketing Relevance team transfers only some of the data and content to the new site, we rely on the client to enter a lot of the data for two reasons. First, you are intimately familiar with your data and will know that it is correct and can test the data upon entry. Second, this as a way for the client to learn how to manage the site and become comfortable doing it — after all, you want to manage it after it launches! Marketing Relevance is here to help you and teach you and make sure it is all done properly and that you learn how to do it. A third reason is that, having you enter data, also helps us test the site to find bugs…with your ‘new’ set of eyes.

Once Design, front end development, back end development, content and data have all been completed, Marketing Relevance will spend a week or so testing internally, and having your team help test. We will definitely find and fix bugs during this stage. Oh, I almost forgot, if you did decide to have us do SEO (search engine optimization) and/or ongoing marketing for you post launch, we would, during the testing stage, apply all on-page SEO tactics on the site.

The next step is the most exciting part!  It is time to schedule a launch date.  Keep in mind that we only launch sites on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. In our experience, we find that when we launch on a Friday, typically we find things over the weekend, and that is not ideal for either of our teams. If we launch on a Monday, it just feels rushed that we are trying to get it done early in the week. Marketing Relevance finds that we have much smoother launches during the Tuesday through Thursday window. It generally takes two days to launch because we will create a full backup of the site to be used as the development site moving forward. What that means is that we will maintain two sites for you, one that is live to the public, and one that we can use for future site development as it is nice to have a site to test new things on before going live.

General Timeline:

Discovery call and documentation 1 week
Design Wireframes 1-2 weeks
Design Comps 2-3 weeks
Functional Requirements ~2 weeks
Backend System Setup 2 weeks
Front End Development 4-6 weeks
Back end Development 4-6 weeks
Content and Data 2-4 weeks
Testing and bug fixing 2-3 weeks
Launch 1 week
Post Launch Monitoring & Warranty ~4 weeks

Some of these tasks are concurrent, so when we talk to executive stakeholders, it might be easier to simply say:

Discovery 1 week
Design 2-4 weeks
Development 4-6 weeks
Testing 1-2 weeks
Launch 1-2 weeks

Bottom line, hire Marketing Relevance for your new website today and we will launch your new site in about 14 weeks!