Web Dept Process

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v 1.0 - Mark's initial Rough Cut

Contents

Phase 1 - Discovery / Planning

In this stage, you'll work with specific Metro Studios staff to define the scope and expectations for the site. The site's requirements will determine what information is needed in this phase, but the client can expect to receive a detailed "road map" for completing the project on time and on budget. This phase is also important because it defines what parties (client / Metro Studios) are responsible for specific pieces.

Cheesy House Analogy: We play the role of a builder in this phase, and try to understand exactly what the client needs.

Content Strategy Design Application Development Information Architecture Search Engine Optimization Other Services

Copywriting

Creative

PHP / MySQL

Hosting Requirements / DNS

Email Hosting, Email Newsletters

Before any creative work begins, and likely in a meeting, our staff will need to determine how copy and images will come together on the site to ensure the highest level of user experience possible. Content acquisition will likely meet one of the following scenarios:

  • Client would like us to produce all necessary materials. This could include copywriting, a photo shoot or stock photography.
  • Client has content from an old site that needs "cleaning up / updating". This could include copywriting, a photo shoot or stock photography.
  • Client will provide all images and content

Assuming we're developing a new look and feel for the site, an initial meeting is needed to discuss wants / needs of the new design.

To ensure any applications or programming the site requires is done correctly and aligns with the clients needs, a meeting / phone call between a developer and client is required. From this discussion, an internal set of specifications will be written as a guideline for the application(s). Depending on the size of the application(s), this step may require significant planning to ensure the clients needs are met.

Taking a site live involves careful planning to minimize / eliminate downtime. Based largely on the scope of the site (primarily application development) we need to verify the hosting for the site, and if it requires SSL or any other special conditions. Additionally, to actually take a site live, we'll likely need to make changes to the domain's DNS records. This step requires communication with the current domain owner / administrator.

Organic Optimization can be divided into two major categories. On-page, and off page. On-page Optimization refers to everything we can do with the content and code at hand to maximize search engine visibility. This includes (but is not limited to) page meta descriptions, proper use of XHTML tags and link structures, and url-rewriting for dynamic pages. Off page optimization is the "buzz" happening about your site on other sites, i.e. Social Media Mentions, Site Reviews and back links to your site. In the beginning stages of any site, we do our best to identify your search engine goals, and recommend the best solution for your benefit.

Depending on the plan the client chooses, there are varying levels of research we'll do before the site starts to take shape.

Other services that Metro Studios offers can affect other aspects of our process. Email hosting, for example, greatly affects our site launch process, and integration with email campaign systems with forms on the site can change application development.

Internal Goal: To produce a sitemap, and have a clear understanding of where the content for each of those pages is coming from. Also to verify any active budget is accurate.

Internal Goal: To ensure the designer working on the project has a clear understanding of the project scope and understands what the client is after.

Internal Goal: To ensure that the clients needs have been "translated" into programming specs sufficiently, to a point that any programmer assigned can clearly understand the requirements involved. Also to verify any active budget is accurate.

Internal Goal: To know exactly within the Metro Studios network of servers, where this site will go. It is highly important to understand if we are responsible for the hosting of this application, or if the client intends to host the site.

Internal Goal: To clearly understand the clients search engine goals, and align them with either a PFP package (usually quoted separately) or basic on page work.

Internal Goal: Have a clear understanding of what other Metro services the client is partaking in (including video, photography etc.) to ensure these are accounted for in the actual site process.

Phase 2 - The Work Before the Work

Before we actually break ground on the project, there's a series of information we need to collect or produce. In this phase, we'll get to work either producing the copy, media or design assets, or start working with the client to collect it.

Cheesy House Analogy: We play the role of a architect in this phase, and try to communicate exactly how the project will take shape.

Content Strategy Design Application Development Information Architecture Search Engine Optimization Other Services

Copywriting

Creative

PHP / MySQL

Hosting Requirements / DNS

Email Hosting, Email Newsletters

If the client has chosen to use us to create content, then the staff responsible for writing it will begin, using the sitemap in place. If we're executing a photo shoot for this project, the designer and copywriter should work together to give photo direction, once content is finalized. If the client is providing copy, this is when we'll send a detailed list of needs / wants to the client to produce.

Creative work begins, and the first of three mockups is started. This process continues until a home page is signed approved. From there, the designer will mock all secondary pages that may require a specific look and feel. This likely includes a "standard" secondary page for generic content, as well as any site-specific programming elements that are unique to this project. Though we do not need formal approval on these pages, they serve as a vital resource to communicate to the client the designer's "vision" for the site, as well as giving visual instructions to the programmers involved.

With proper documentation, a programmer will layout what elements are necessary to complete the work. This may include data, instructions, image assets etc.

If we're hosting the site, a development server is setup and "Gitted". This allows development to begin on a live environment, reflecting the end live environment. If we're not hosting the site, a setup mirroring the live enviroment is preferred.

Keyword research is done, along with any other reports necessary.

In most cases, these services are N/A in this phase.

This is Considered Done When: The copy has been written and the photo direction has been given, or when the client is given clear instructions for assets to send to us.

This is Considered Done When: Home page mockup is approved, and necessary secondary pages have been created AND designer and copywriter are on the same page.

This is Considered Done When: Development site is setup either in the Metro Studios network of servers, or the client's.

This is Considered Done When: Keyword research is done, and / or pfp keywords and pricing are approved.

Phase 3 - Development Begins

With all content, information and specifications in hand, we can break ground and build the project itself. This is where stratgy meets the actual technical code and programming.

Cheesy House Analogy: We play the role of general contractor, electrician, plumber, excavator etc. in this phase, as the bulk of the work is completed in this phase. At this point, just like a house, change orders should be minimal, and could have drastic effects.

Content Strategy Design Application Development Information Architecture Search Engine Optimization Other Services

Copywriting

Creative

PHP / MySQL

Hosting Requirements / DNS

Email Hosting, Email Newsletters

Content, client produced or Metro Studios produced, is formatted with images into XHTML and either placed into pages, or entered through some form of COntent Management. XHTML Validation is our guideline for proper content formatting.

In this stage, the approved design work is formatted into XHTML and CSS. All "template" pages are produced in conjunction with the content requirements for each page.

Programming begins on developments site.

As programming is being produced, it may slightly affect the requirements for the live environment, in most cases however, there is nothing needed in this phase.

The content (formatted in XHTML) should include all best practices to maximize search engine optimization. There are no other needs in this phase.

In most cases, these services are N/A in this phase, however if the client uses Metro Studios for email services, new accounts are setup and configured.

This is Considered Done When: All pages are built according to the sitemap, images are inserted, XHTML validation is complete.

This is Considered Done When: The design has been successfully merged with all pages and programming on the site.

This is Considered Done When: All programming is functioning as expected and ready for review.

Phase 4 - Client Review / Cleanup

In this phase, the client is sent a final link to the development site to review all content, design and functionality. This step usually includes a few cyclical rounds until the clients signs off on all aspects.

Cheesy House Analogy: As the builder, we walk the clients through their "house" for the first time.

Content Strategy Design Application Development Information Architecture Search Engine Optimization Other Services

Copywriting

Creative

PHP / MySQL

Hosting Requirements / DNS

Email Hosting, Email Newsletters

Changes are made based on client feedback (within budget) until client approval.

Changes are made based on client feedback (within budget) until client approval.

Changes are made based on client feedback, final url rewriting is put into place. If necessary, proper documentation is put into place about specifics of the site's functionality.

Final preparations are made for the DNS point to take the site live. This includes scheduling an actual time for DNS point.

On page search engine optimization is finalized including title tags, url rewriting, alt tags.

In most cases, these services are N/A in this phase.

This is Considered Done When: Clients revisions are completed, and internal review of links / spelling is complete.

This is Considered Done When: Client has confirmed functionality is working as expected, and code review is completed by alternate developer.

This is Considered Done When: On page work is completed, and url re-writing is in place.

Phase 5 - Site Launch

In this phase, the client has signed off on all aspects of the site, and is ready to go it live.

Cheesy House Analogy: All revisions to the home are completed, and the homeownsers are given keys. We'll even help move in if they need us to.

Content Strategy Design Application Development Information Architecture Search Engine Optimization Other Services

Copywriting

Creative

PHP / MySQL

Hosting Requirements / DNS

Email Hosting, Email Newsletters

In most cases, these services are N/A in this phase.

In most cases, these services are N/A in this phase.

Applications are migrated to live environment, with one final check to ensure functionality.

Site is migrated from development environment, and DNS is pointed to live server after all site assets have been successfully migrated. Depending on DNS configuration, the site can appear live between 1 and 48 hours from the actual DNS point.

On page search engine optimization is finalized including title tags, url rewriting, alt tags. If client takes advantage of PFP, official start date is established for tracking and billing purposes. Google Analytics is also installed in this phase, and client access is configured.

If the client chooses Metro Studios for it's email services, the DNS point will also include changes to client's mail settings. New accounts tested and configured client site.

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