Many people that I have recently talked to want a new site but are unsure of how it all works. I will walk through the basic steps I take to work through and develop a site that the customer likes.
Unfortunately, it does take work on the part of the customer. I cannot be the creator of your content without a great deal of involvement in your business. I do not know what information is important or what is going to most effectively reach your audience. I have ideas and I can share them, but the best scenario is if the customer develops the content.
So the first step in the process is for the customer to know what information they want to include in the website. If you don't know what you want, I most certainly do not.
Second, I need to know what the site should do. Assumed is general navigation, but a modern website can do so much more than just display email. Some standard functions of a website include contact forms, user registerations, file uploading, access restriction.
Most companies have logos and colors that are typically used in their material. Generally the website should match any materials distributed so that users can be sure they are on the correct website.
Upon request, logos and similar can be created too.
My next step is to create a mockup of the homepage. This serves as a base for what I call the "look", meaning the basic colors, general layout of content, and basic site navigations. It can be as elaborate or minimal as the customer desires, but it should always make an impression on the end-user.
Mock ups are sent as static images. They do not "do" anything, but are a visual representation.
Once a look has been agreed upon, I convert that image to code. I have test servers that I use to simulate what the end-site will look like. These test-servers can be made available to customers as well.
This is generally a longer step in the process as it is very technical and potentially time-consuming. Once it is completed you will have a site that does "do" something.
Once all the pages have been made and the site is in a functional status, then revisions begin. There are generally things that I do not catch and content changes needing to be made. The length of this step is relative to the customer and the size of the site.
Once everything has been "polished" and tested. The site is uploaded to a host of the customer's choosing. I do not host any customer sites. Another round of testing is immediately required to ensure that there are not server related problems.
I do provide technical assistance for a period of time (around 2-3 months) after the site has been published for any errors that may be present.
If anyone is unsatisfied with the end-result I am happy to work on a solution.