At The Website Cannon, we believe the best projects are the ones that are are setup for success from the beginning. Below is our methodology and process for achieving this:
1. Defining Your Goals/Discovery/Strategy:
- Initiation: This phase marks the beginning of the project. It involves identifying the project’s objectives, scope, and purpose. Key activities include:
- Defining project goals and objectives.
- Identifying stakeholders and establishing communication channels.
- Creating a project charter or initial project documentation.
- Allocating resources and assembling the project team.
- TWC Requirements – Approval on project goals and objectives. Approval on communication channels, who will be a key stakeholder identify this at the begging, who will be PM, who will handle billing. Which resources will handle what aspect of the project. If there are no resources assigned to a specific need of the project, then to get that signed off on from the client (ie no photographer – who/what will we be doing for photography?). With my role of developer what my job will entail, paid theme just re-uploading text and images. Clearly defining what an added feature is, and what is custom code.
- Planning: In this phase, a comprehensive project plan is developed, including timelines, milestones, and budgets. Activities include:
- Conducting a detailed analysis of requirements, including user needs and technical specifications.
- Crafting a functional specification document outlining features and functionality.
- Identifying potential risks and developing a risk mitigation plan.
- Choosing the technology stack and infrastructure requirements.
- Determining project management methodologies and tools.
- TWC Requirements – Approval on specification document. Approval on choice of technology stack and possible limitations with the technology. Coming up with a solid PM software, how we will be sharing files. Approval from all parties on the timeline, with an action plan on what happens when a key milestone is missed.
- Design: This phase is all about creating a visually appealing and user-friendly website. Activities include:
- Generating wireframes and prototypes to visualize the website’s layout and functionality.
- Developing the information architecture and sitemap.
- Crafting the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design.
- Choosing color schemes, typography, and visual elements.
- Creating mockups and design comps for client approval.
- TWC Requirements – Designing using the approved and todays standard of design tool (example if website using UX/UI prototyping software). Knowing the 12 column grid. Knowing websafe fonts or using fonts that are easy to implement. Knowing default font size, and how the headings and EMs will effect that. If designing for a paid theme, sticking to the layout and possibly the character count of a section to get the desired results. Providing tablet and mobile designs if they want it to look and or function a specific way for mobile or desktop. If not using a prototyping tool getting them to understand its not going to be 1:1, having rounds of revisions. Sending them to default padding and spacings and applying them to the entire site. Putting the orphan fix on the site. Requiring a style guide. Requiring all designs to be approved before development starts. Having rounds of design revisions.
- Development: This is where the actual coding and development of the website take place. Activities include:
- Setting up the development environment and version control.
- Implementing front-end and back-end functionality based on approved designs and specifications.
- Integrating third-party services and APIs as needed.
- Conducting regular code reviews and testing to ensure quality.
- Developing content management systems (CMS) if required.
- Ensuring responsive design for various devices and browsers.
- TWC Requirements – Requiring a staging environment. Locking down staging and making environment unindexed. Charging extra for plugins that I pay for. Noting things that will take extra development time and getting that information to the PM or client that this area will probably require customization. Making sure I am clear on who will be editing the site and their level of code knowledge. Having a plan for changing requirements, or any additional things that come up. Requiring that if additional functionality is needed the functionality and expectations are thoroughly explained, with the estimation being explained as well with also what happens if there is left over/needed more time.
4. Quality Assurance:
- Testing: Quality assurance is a critical phase to ensure a flawless website. Activities include:
- Conducting comprehensive testing to identify and resolve bugs and issues.
- Performing functional testing to ensure all features work as intended.
- Testing for cross-browser compatibility.
- Optimizing website performance and load times.
- Implementing security measures to protect against vulnerabilities.
- Conducting user acceptance testing (UAT) with stakeholders.
- Addressing and resolving any issues discovered during testing.
- TWC Requirements – Having a QA document that anyone everyone can add entries to. Making sure that QA document has everything I need to successfully QA, and know what device/browser/versions the client is on. Making sure I have a way to confirm I tested each task requested throughly. Having specific rounds of revisions for each project.
- Deployment: This phase involves preparing the website for production launch. Activities include:
- Setting up hosting environments and configuring servers.
- Migrating data from existing systems, if applicable.
- Performing final testing in the production environment.
- Monitoring website performance during and after launch.
- Implementing backup and disaster recovery plans.
- Setting up Marketing API/KPIs
- TWC Requirements – Having a strong understanding of who will be hosting the site and on which platform they will be using. Detailing out what I will be needing during a migration, ex, hosting provider logins, client needing to buy additional hosting on their end, who will be handling SMTP, and who will be there to help if help is needed during the migration process.
- Maintenance and Support: Post-launch, ongoing support is crucial. Activities include:
- Providing support for bug fixes and updates.
- Monitoring website performance and security.
- Regularly updating the website to keep it current and secure.
- Addressing user feedback and making improvements.
- Planning for future enhancements and scalability.
- TWC Requirements – All normal if hosting via TWC, if not hosting via TWC then having the client sign off on a release of liability stating that we will not be liable for anything that happens post launch.
- Closure: As the project concludes, activities include:
- Conducting a project review to assess its success and gather lessons learned.
- Updating and archiving all project documentation.
- Providing the client with necessary documentation and training.
- Celebrating the successful completion of the project with the team.
7. Marketing (Start):
- Marketing (Start): Marketing efforts can begin during the project and continue after launch. Activities may include:
- SEO optimization to improve search engine visibility.
- Content creation and strategy for engaging your target audience.
- Integration of social media channels and marketing campaigns.
- Planning and executing online advertising and promotion strategies.
- Implementing analytics tools to measure website performance and user engagement.
- TWC Requirements – Who will be setting up the marketing APIs. If they will want these on their accounts or hosted by me all within one account. If they will need any extra data collection.