"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going."
The process of creating a new web site is a front-loaded effort. It all begins with communication, either in person, over the phone, or through e-mail, whichever works best for you. Our priority is on understanding your needs, and providing concise estimates to you that demonstrate our understanding of the project at hand. Depending on the scale of work, or services provided (such as hosting), a formal agreement and/or statement of work may be drafted up and signed off by both Pigz In Zen, and you or your company, along with the estimate. The initial discovery and time spent creating an estimate is typically not billable, however, if you desire our assistance in generating a Requirements Document, that would be billable. A Requirements Document is critical in a web project as it is the only way to truly provide an accurate quote and costs. Expect any quote given to you, without such a document, to be an educated guess, at best, and there are likely to be surprise costs down the line.
Once there is an approved estimate, we will begin with initial design. This is often the longest portion of work, depending on the project, as it defines the framework for everything else to follow. As soon as possible during the initial design phase we will try to provide prototypes, or mock-ups, in order to avoid later rework, and give you opportunity to provide further input. After the initial web design is complete, we will look for you to approve the layout before we move on to filling out the rest of the site. This time is billable, so it's important to convey your look and feel requirements, and any other requirements, as best as possible during the requirements phase to avoid unnecessary time in the design phase.
After design approval the remainder of the web site will be fleshed out, all content filled in, and any functionality (contact forms, user registrations, shopping carts, etc) will be configured. On simple sites this phase can be quite fast as it is just a matter of adding your verbiage into the structure created in the design phase. If there are many advanced features, then this phase could become longer than the design phase, depending on your needs. The more content (i.e. text and pictures) you provide, the faster this phase will be. This time is also billable, so ensuring proper approval of the design phase is very important to prevent having to put double effort into the construction phase.
Testing & Delivery
Once the construction phase is complete, the web site creation is finished, however, we will, alongside you, go through and test the web site. We will be searching for any overlooked bugs or errors, and we ask that you review and prepare for final approval. Once we are both satisfied and agree that the project is complete, all information related to your web site and services will be put together in a word document for you to save, and that will mark formal delivery. Depending on the situation this time is typically not billable; we won't charge you for our mistakes! If there are any changes, however, that you require that were not part of the original project, they may be subject to additional charges and will be negotiated at that time. Following delivery is when you will be invoiced for the work performed.*
Maintenance & Updates
At this point you may take the reins and begin updating your web site yourself, or we can be your long term partner in keeping your Internet presence up-to-date and fresh. This can be done as per hour as needed (we bill in half hour increments), or a service agreement where you pay a regular flat rate per month that will cover all updates and changes.**
* - In some cases, large projects for example, incremental or progress billing may be used and will be discussed prior to the design phase.