Very often the first question we are asked by our clients is “Where do we start?”. After spending years in the industry we can easily forget how daunting those first tentative steps into the big bad online world can be. So lets have a look at the typical process of hiring us to build your business website.

Step 1

The first step is the first conversation, the intial phone call or email to enquire about our services and how we can help you achieve your goal. Our main aim here is to get a broad sense of what type of website you require. Whether it is a brouchure site, an online shop, a booking portal or all of the above. We also seek to get a sense of your organisations personality; is it a strict corporate ultra professional business, or a fun loving, relaxed hipster magnet.
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Step 2

Establishing requirments. What will your site require to fulfill your expectations? Do you need a bookings platform? Will you be writing a blog? What payment gateway will you require? All of these questions require an answer early in the process so as to avoid any surprises later on in the project. It is our job to tease these things out by asking the right questions.
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Step 3

Initial quotation & wireframe – Based on the information we gather from that first conversation we are then in a position to raise a preliminary quotation accompanied by some wireframe layout and draft design elements to offer you sense of our vision for the project.
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Step 4

Terms of Reference – If you are happy with the first quote we move on to establishing the Terms of Reference for the project. This is a document which sets out the precise scope of the project and the responsibilities of both parties during the project – for instance – who will supply the images?, who will write the content?, what is the timeframe?, what is the payment structure?. The terms of reference is a vital step in the process as it provides both parties with a reference point from which to measure progress and resolve any issues.
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Step 5

Second Quote – The TOR is often accompanied by a more detailed quotation outlining the specific elements and costing.

Step 6

Deposit – Once the price is agreed and the TOR is signed we then require a 30% deposit before procedding to build your site. Once that payment has cleared we begin the project.

The most common question we are asked is “Where do we start?”

Throughout the project we remain regular contact with the client to ensure everything is moving in the right direction. We will often arrange for you to view completed pages as the project progresses which allows for the oppurtunity to provide some constructive feedback based upon what you can see and what you know your customers needs are.
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Hazard Warnings

The vast majority of projects go smoothly, however there are times when things can go a bit awry. Fortunatley these hazards can be avoided with good pre planning practices –

Where are the images?

Images can be one the biggest hold ups in any project. If the client instructs JSD to take care of it, we hire in a professional photographer, however if it is the clients responsibility they must agree to meet the deadlines set out in the terms of reference which in the majority of cases becomes an issue when other responsibilties take priority. We advise clients to let us take care of it from day one to ensure that the prject moves along at a swift pace.
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Content/Copy

You know your business and products better then we ever can. While we are happy to write copy where what is required is clear, when it comes to specifics we need the client to provide us with the details. We will often edit content sent to us to ensure that is more ‘web freindly’, however we ensure the core message is still carried across.

Payment Gateways

Selling your products online requirs that you set up accounts with companines such as PayPal & Stripe to process the transactions. JSD do not set up these accounts for our clients, we prefer that the client sets up these accounts themselves, and we deal only with the intergration into the site. This is for security reasons and while it requires some work on the part of the client organisation it is minimal and essential.

Security

We work hard to ensure that your website is secure. Malicious attacks are happening everyday to millions of websites and yours is one of them. That is a fact of lifew at this point. The weakest link in a security system is the user, so we advise our clients on best practices and hope that they follow them to the letter. Failure to do so jeopordises your website security and can be costly.

In our next post we will discuss what is involved in launching your new website, learning how to use it and what is involved in maintenance.