How to hire the best Internet partner: Part V

We spoke last month about taking time to identify skills sets when vetting a potential Internet partner… you want to know who’s doing the work! Is the vendor pitching the project the same person who will design/code your site (or will there be sub-contractors/employees actually working with you)? What is the salesperson’s responsibility once they’ve won your project? Will there be a project manager assigned?

Continuing in the series, this installment presents information about the website design/development process.

To recap, all websites are created through a process… some better, some worse. The process should be structured and should clearly articulate (preferably in writing) the following:

  • Deliverables,
  • Mutual expectations, and
  • Timelines in advance.

Watch out for those that don’t!

Ok. So, what is a basic outline for a website design/development process? It pretty much works like this:

1. Strategy/Consultation

Hopefully, you have a vendor on the line who knows something about marketing? In which case, this is where they ask very good questions about both the history of your business or organization and it’s future goals and ambitions. You and your potential Internet partner should come to a common understanding as to your expectations resulting from a new and/or improved web presence.

2. Site Architecture

The site’s architecture is its blueprint and can be structured very much like a book’s outline. It’s simply an ordered list of all site pages (noting any special functionality such as databases, etc) related to each.

3. Design

The graphic design of your website, while conveying your brand, has the power to determine the path your site visitor will take when interacting with the page. Regardless of what type of site (coding language driving it) you’re building, creating the design is always at the front of the process.

4. Development/Coding

Once the architecture and design are in place, coding of the website is next. There should be a mutually agreed upon production schedule that vendor and client can depend on for the completion of all site pages.

5. Quality Assurance

Simple things like broken links and typos are well-known to undermine a site’s credibility. With competition being what it is, one can hardly risk losing a site visitor–and the valuable business they can bring–because of lack of oversight. Quality assurance checks are a necessity prior to publication (and for the life of your site). Make every effort to safeguard that there are no errors whatsoever!

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Silvana Gravini is an Online Marketing Coach/Strategist with over 15 years extensive experience in website design, social media, and search engine optimization (SEO). For help, phone (413) 585-0985 or visit www.silvana.net.

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