Like any successful project, developing a website should follow a proper sequence of steps. The steps, often called phases, help keep the project on track and within budget. They also help ensure that the website that’s built is the website the client needs – without bugs and scalable. This requires breaking the project down into a series of steps. In this series we’ll look at the steps of developing a WordPress website.
Five Step Process
Many developers use a five-step process:
There are lots of variations on these steps, but this is a simple plan that moves the project from concept to finished product. The steps follow a common-sense methodology. Let’s take a look at each of the steps.
Step 1 – Define
Before starting on the website’s design you must first define the website. This includes the site’s business goals and customer requirements. Before designing the site’s structure you need a clear definition of what the site is for.
Clearly define the top 3-5 goals that the website needs to meet. These goals will help determine the layout, visuals, navigation, and content requirements per page.
For example, a site for a local handyman business might only need to have a one-page layout to specify the services provided and give contact information, or it might need multiple pages with detailed information about each service and include purchasing through the site with recurring payments. Those are two vastly different levels of design for the same type of business.
Meet with the internal stakeholders and have them help you create a list of the site’s business goals. Make statements for them to finish, such as “the site must be able to…”. This isn’t the look of the site. Rather, it’s the functionality of the site. It will answer the question “what are the site’s primary abilities?”
Create a list of all of these abilities the site must have and then have them prioritize the list. The first few should be the most important that the site must have at start-up and the rest can be added later.
In this meeting try not to discuss how something will be accomplished. The focus should be on what needs to be done rather than how it will be done.
Request For Proposal (RFP)
The client will need to create an RFP. It will include the project overview, the site’s business goals, and the site’s requirements.
This will be the roadmap for the project. It will list all of the steps required and specify the time, people, and budget required for each step. Break the steps down into milestones with a time and budget for each. Most recommend adding a little extra time and budget for unforeseen issues.
The project should be tracked using a Gantt Charts or similar tracking tool. Microsoft Project is a popular tool for project management. You can also get templates for Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet apps.
- Do you use the common 5-step project plan or do you use another plan?
- What are your favorite questions for defining the website’s requirements?
- What is your favorite tool for tracking the project?
Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading. Please subscribe if you haven’t already.
Stay tuned for Step 2 – Design