Development Process

I typically deal with two types of clients; agencies or small to medium sized businesses. My development process can vary greatly based on the client type and what is expected from my end. Below is a snapshot of my typical process. Interested in working together? Give me a shout!

Scope Review & Quote

The first step of any project is a review of the project scope. This will typically include a discovery call to go over my role in the project, the full scope of what is needed, the anticipated timeline and any other high-level details about the project. Once these details are all discussed I will provide a detailed quote for the project and an anticipated timeline.

Contract & Scheduling

When the quote is approved I will provide a formal contract that lays out all of my normal terms and provide a deposit invoice. Deposits are typically 50% of the quote and must be paid prior to the project being added to my schedule. Once the contract is signed and the deposit is paid the project will officially be added to my schedule.

Pre-Project Setup

Prior to project kickoff I will provide access to a shared Google Drive folder that will include the following:

  • A shared “Working Document” that we will use to communicate feedback/comments throughout the project. This will also be used to track the staging URL and credentials, any other project notes, additional logins that may be needed and any other generic project information that should be readily accessible
  • A “Tutorials” document that will house comprehensive tutorials once the site is complete. This document will remain in this folder indefinitely for reference, or can be copied/pasted elsewhere for your client’s needs.
  • A “Go-Live Checklist” document that outlines all the needed steps for the go-live process (for both me and you) to ensure nothing is missed when the site is ready to go live.

This folder can also serve as a place for you to drop any needed assets like image, design files, content, etc…

Design Phase (optional)

If the project requires a full design phase we will work directly with one of my design partners for this phase. If the project has a design ready-to-go, this phase will be skipped. This phase will include:

  • Discovery call with my design partner to go over the details of the project
  • A design questionnaire where you provide details about what you are looking for in the new design
  • You provide any needed logos, colors, brand guides that will help guide design
  • Wire-frames to show the new site layout prior to full design execution
  • Full design execution for key pages, menus, header, footer and any other discussed areas
  • Design revision round using your feedback to refine the design to perfection

The full design phase can take 4-6 weeks depending on the scope of the project and much of this work will be done directly with one of my design partners.

Development Phase

Once designs are ready-to-go we will move into development. My typical development process includes:

  • Setting up a local development environment and cloning your current live site to ensure you don’t lose any content, user accounts, comments, etc…
  • Setting up a GitHub repository for version control of your custom theme and core functionality plugin files. This will be a private repository that you may have access to.
  • Developing your site to match the provided designs
  • Migrating your site to a staging URL so you can preview and provide feedback as needed
  • Go through formal QA process to fine-tune the website prior to go-live

Development typically takes 2-3 weeks, but may take longer based on the full scope of the project. Your site will be mobile and SEO friendly using a custom Genesis-based child theme built specifically for your site to ensure lean code and blazing fast speed. My builds are focused on the user editing experience to ensure all aspects of the site are easy to edit for any user. I also use only well-supported, industry leading plugins making your site simple to manage and stable.

Go-Live & Hand off

When the site is officially ready to go-live I will send my final invoice. Once that is paid we’ll schedule a go-live date. I will not take sites live on Fridays as I need time to monitor the site and ensure everything goes smoothly. Typically, first thing on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday is best.

The go-live process will involve me copying all files (theme, images, plugins) as well as the database from the staging server directly over your production server. If your host is not changing, the site will be live almost immediately. If you are changing hosts, there will be a “propagation” period where some users will see your old site and some will see your new site. Once DNS has finished propagation (typically within an hour or two) your new site will be visible to all. I will be happy to handle DNS changes if needed.

If you have added any new content to your site between when development started and go-live, we’ll want to make sure that gets moved to the staging site prior to migration to ensure it isn’t lost. I will discuss all of that with you during the development process.

After go-live I will provide you with all tutorials needed to manage your website. This will include live screen share videos of me walking through all the aspects of your site from custom options pages to custom blocks built specifically for your site.

We’re done, enjoy your new site!

Development Process FAQs

I’m typically booked out 2-3 months, but sometimes can start sooner. It all depends on my currently schedule projects.

Absolutely. At least 50% of my projects are taking already existing designs and bringing them to life.

Figma and Sketch are my preferred design formats. Adobe XD is good as well. I will work with older design types as well if needed (like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator) but they may raise the cost of the project a bit as they aren’t nearly as developer friendly as newer design formats.

Sure! 50% isn’t always required, especially for larger projects or projects that won’t be starting for quite a while. I am happy to negotiate the deposit amount.

Yes. All of those fees will be laid out in the contract provided prior to scheduling.

Yep. I prefer the “Google Docs” approach, but I’ve worked with a variety of project management tools from ClickUp to Monday to Asana to Basecamp.

For the most part, yes. I strongly suggest a WordPress-focused host like WPEngine or Flywheel, but I am happy to help get your site to the host of your choice.

Interested in working together?

I’d love to learn more about your and your project. Complete the form using the button below and I’ll get back to you soon (typically within a day!).