Week 1: Client Dashboard Opens
This is when you officially become my client. I’ll put together everything I’ve found out about you and your needs during our initial consultation and create your project dashboard (you are here!) The Dashboard gives you access to lots of important information, including notes on how to complete your Preparation tasks.
Week 2: Preparation
First payment due
I need to know about you and what you need from your website. I’ll ask you to provide your sample websites, content plan, project goals, and branding. I’ll also need access to your online environment ASAP so I can set up the staging site, or the staging site itself if you’re providing it.
Week 3: Theme Selection
With your sample websites in hand, I’ll know what you’re looking for. I’ll use that in conjunction with my knowledge of the WordPress world to find a theme that will work for you. I generally start with at least 20 themes that visually match your style, then pass them through a series of examination rounds to find ones that meet my criteria. At the end of the week, we’ll meet so I can introduce you to your new theme!
Week 4: Initial Modification
Once I’ve installed your theme and my preferred default plugins on the staging site, I’ll take care of the initial modifications. This will include minor visual changes like removing demo content, switching the colors to match your branding, uploading your logo, and fixing up widgets and menus to approximate your preferred navigation system.
I’ll also do some preliminary testing and fixing to take care of any obvious visual bugs. (Even the best theme sometimes needs a little TLC.)
This is when I’ll do the preliminary setup for any additional plugins you’ve chosen, such as special social media icons, an events calendar, or Google Analytics. I’ll make sure they visually match the theme, if needed.
This project’s plugins:
- Social media integration
- Google Analytics connection
Week 5: Buffer
Humans are fallible and these kinds of projects have a lot of dependencies and moving parts. I like to include buffer time throughout projects to allow for sick days or unexpected project hurdles. These first steps are often the slowest in a project, so this is a good place to have a buffer.
Week 6: Staff Training
Staff content work begins
Feedback form opens
At the beginning of this week, I’ll give you the keys to the staging site so you can start changing the content and test-driving the new theme. I expect you’ll want changes, so don’t be shy to submit those change requests!
To make sure you’re set up for success, this is also the week I’ll handle training. I’ll sit down with one or more staff members on a screensharing video call and go over how to complete their website-related tasks. I’ll record the call, then edit it and put a link to it in your dashboard so you can review it if you need to.
This project’s training:
- Toni and Communications Manager, WordPress Fundamentals
- Tiffany, WordPress Maintenance
Week 7: Feedback Round 1
Since the first week is likely to include the most sweeping changes, we’ll have a phone call to review the change requests you’ve submitted. That way I can make sure I’ve got everything, and I can raise any concerns I may have with a request.
Week 8 & 9: Feedback Rounds 2 & 3
Each week, I’ll code, switch settings, or otherwise do what I need to do to tweak the site into the right shape. Once I’m done, I’ll open the feedback form again and alert you that there’s changes for you to review.
Week 10: Final Feedback Round
This is it: your last chance to ask me for changes before launch. I’ll do my final device and browser testing to ensure your site looks good on all screens, no matter what browser someone is using. At the end of the week, the staging site will go into content lockdown.
Week 11: Buffer
Humans are fallible and these kinds of projects have a lot of dependencies and moving parts. I like to include buffer time throughout projects to allow for sick days or unexpected project hurdles. I’ve placed one at this point in the project plan to allow for an additional feedback round or time to complete a complicated request. This week will also allow you to finish the content work before launch.
Week 12: Preparation and Launch!
I’ll transfer our work on the staging site to the live site for everyone to see. This will mean about a half to full day of preparation, then dropping a maintenance curtain while I fiddle with everything behind the scenes. This will be timed to whenever traffic on the site is at its lowest, within reason.
Once the curtain opens, I’ll be on-call for the next 24 hours, ready to spring into action if there’s something wrong. I’ll be checking the site regularly for problems during the business day, and you can reach me by text at any point if you uncover an issue.
Post-Project Bug Reporting
If there is a major issue with the site reported within the first month after launch, I’ll fix it for free. I want to make sure your new site works as planned!