I employ a six-step process to complete every web project.
Client Needs AnalysisWhen contacted by a current or potential client, the first thing I do is make sure I completely understand his or her needs for the project. This can sometimes be handled through a simple phone conversation or email exchange, but for new clients and more involved work, I prefer a face-to-face meeting. I do not charge for this consultation, and I use this time to outline the entire scope of the project. I generally make recommendations and answer questions while taking extensive notes.
Quote and Project ScopeWhen I have everything I need, I create a quote for the project which includes a scope document covering all aspects of the project, a price quote listing of all the project costs, and (everyone's favorite) fine print, which specifies payment terms, timelines, and ownership rights. This quote is also free of charge.
DesignOnce the quote is approved, the actual work begins with the design stage. While I have designed several websites myself, 99% of the time I hire professional designers with whom I have long working relationships to complete this stage. I have met many designers and many developers in my career and have yet to see a great programmer who is also a great designer (and vice-versa). In order to make sure your design stands out, your project will be completed by a talented designer who can custom-tailor it to your business or area of concern.
ProgrammingAfter a design has been approved, I begin the coding stage - taking the plan (steps 1 and 2) and design (step 3), and meshing it all together into a functional model. I program the website/application on a test server so as not to disturb any existing applications or domain names. This can range from a very quick process (about a day for most "static" websites) to several weeks for large applications.
Testing, Debugging, ReviewAfter the website is 100% functional and I have tested and debugged everything, I do some final checks such as confirming SEO optimization, accessiblity, checking and optimizing page load time, and confirming cross browser compatibility. (I test in Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, IE7, IE8, IE9, and Opera). I then provide the client access to the test environment, which provides an opportunity to review everything as though the site were live and verify that the site is functioning as expected. Any other tweaks and bug fixes can be easily completed in this stage prior to the website launch.
Going Live!Finally, everything in the development environment is pushed to the live domain and server. This is the fastest stage, and can be completed in as little as a few minutes. Once the site is live, I submit sitemaps to Google, Yahoo, and Bing and add the site to my Google Webmaster account, which allows me to monitor the status and health of the site.
OK, maybe 7 steps. If your website is hosted with me, I never stop monitoring it.
If a rare error occurs with your website or any of the services it connects to (Google, Fedex, Cars.com, Facebook, etc.), rest assured it has been pre-programmed to handle the issue gracefully. I am immediately notified with all of the error information, allowing me to fix the issue instantly.
Reliability and excellent user experience are my top two priorities.