Planning: Mapping Out the Details
Planning is perhaps the single most important phase of our seven-phase process. This is because the more accurately we plan out your project, the less time will need to be spent on the rest of phases. There is an old proverb: measure twice, cut once, and this applies to web development too. A well-planned project makes for an effecient, cost-effective project.
There are generally three parts to the planning process. The first part is to determine how the goals we outlined in analysis will be accomplished. The second is the figure out what technologies are best suited to those goals. And the third is estimating all the milestones and the costs for the project.
How Will Your Goals be Accomplished?
Every web project will have its own specific set of goals. These goals will range from lead generation to revenue or profit increases, and everything in between. During the planning phase, it will be our task to try to determine how we can use web development and various web technologies to accomplish these goals. And while each goal will require it’s own well thought out strategy, a couple of the more effective strategies are: good calls to action, relevant site hierarchy, & well-structured content.
Calls to Action
An effective website prompts its visitors to do something. This something, called a call to action (CTA), is often a way for you to create value for your business using your website. For example, common CTAs businesses use are: prompting a visitor to register for a new account, encouraging a visitor to make contact (via a form, email, or phone), scheduling an appointment, or making a reservation. Most businesses will have multiple CTAs throughout their website, aimed at different target audiences.
Although CTAs come in different shapes and sizes, they all have one thing in common: a value proposition. A good call to action gives the visitor something of value. Generally, the more valuable the exchange is to the visitor the more successful your call to action will be. The best value proposition are usually related somehow to your business, and therefore provide additional value to a visitor who is on the fence about buying your product or using your services.
Content Structure & Site Hierarchy
Content structure and site hierarchy are two often overlooked parts of the web development processes. Without a good content structure, even the best design and developed websites will fail to convert visitors. At the end of the what every business wants isn’t just a fancy new website, it‘s a fancy new website that converts visitors.
A visitor usually comes to a website with a purpose, looking for specific kinds of information—information such as price, location, hours, services, examples, and more. A good website structure presents the information a visitor wants in a manner thats easy to consume. A great website structure anticipates how a visitor will react to the information presented, whether they have questions or objects, and directs them to the answers. The most important question to anticipate, and indeed to answer, is the question “ok, how to I become a customer?” With a great website, the answer will always be clear and obvious.
The Functionality You Need
An important part of planning is understanding what the best technologies are for the project. And the purpose of choosing one technology over another is that it provides useful and cost-effective functionality for the project. So when we plan out your functionality, we will give the underlying reason why the functionality is desirable and an explanation about how it can make your business more efficient.
Milestones & Estimated Costs
Because a project can often span months, we divide all our projects into milestones, and give you an estimate for how long each will take, and how much it will cost. For a small project, these milestones might correspond with our seven phases. For a large project, each phase might contain multiple milestones.
The reason why we break the project up into so many milestones, is so that we can keep you as involved as possible in the entire process. This allows you to approve our work on an iterative basis, which keeps all on the same page. Milestones also allow you to control the cost of your project.Next phase: Design