To give you a better understanding of what you can expect when you start to work with us, we have laid out phases of a typical project at Everylution. Timing for the whole cycle depends on your particular requirements. Typically, a smaller project would take about two or three weeks. More complex websites may take from one to three months.
Phase I. Functional Specifications
First, we will gather requirements from you. The result of this phase is a set of documents which fully describe the functionality of your website as it is envisioned at this point. Functional specifications are often also referred as "specs", "functional requirements", or "project scope".
The length of this phase depends on the originality of your project. In some cases you may want to save some time and money and let us decide how exactly elements of the website are implemented. In other cases your input is invaluable and will help us define more accurately the timing of the next phases and the budget of the whole project.
To give you a little example of defining specs.
Let’s say, you want to have visitors to create an account on your website by filling in a simple registration form. Usually those forms have at least email and password fields. However, we may ask you additional questions like:
- What other fields does it have (name, phone, address, etc.)?
- Which fields are required and which are optional?
- What languages are supported in name field?
- How strict the password rules should be? Make them too strict and new users will not complete the registration and leave the site. Make them too weak and your site might be insecure.
- Is verification email or SMS required after the form is submitted?
There are many other options how an online registration form may be implemented. We need to know which option is better for you before we start programming it.
Everylution will guide you through the process. We keep in mind your industry, scale of the project, your data, expected audience, and other aspects which affect how your website will behave in real life once it goes public. We will make suggestions and prepare the documents. It is important to note that you will always know your options.
Once you approve the specs, we start the next phase: development.
Phase II. Development and QA
We start programming back-end functions. At the same time, we define navigation, page layouts, and then work on graphical design. Most of the work here happens behind the scenes except, of course, that you’ll approve graphical design.
Once we feel that we have achieved the goals defined in the specs, we will do full testing of the website. During the testing step we will try to break our own work from outside. (Bill’s note: I am not sure that the meaning of this sentence is clear.)
The result of this phase is a website which complies with the functional specifications defined in Phase I.
It is not publicly visible yet and might not have all content. However, it is a completed piece of work, ready for your review and for a test drive.
Phase III. First Run and Adjustments
At this stage the website is almost ready, but still not visible to public or to search engines. It runs in our "sandbox" environment and only our developers and you have access to it. We or you can populate it with the real content.
We will ask you to try the system and give us your feedback one more time before the site becomes visible to the world. Depending on your feedback, we might do some adjustments to functionality or to the design.
At the end of this phase your website is ready to go live.
Phase IV. The Launch
There are several things to be done before we can flip the switch and launch your website.
Please read "Running a Website" section for more details.
After all steps are completed, we launch your website. It may take a few hours before it will be accessible from around the world. Note: in some cases it may take up to 48 hours for information to propagate around the globe, but usually it happens much faster.
Phase V. Follow Up
After your website goes live, you will start collecting information and receiving input from your visitors or customers. It usually takes about two weeks to make sure that the website works as expected and if something needs to be changed. Everylution will work with you through this phase as well.
We will also provide you with documentation for your system. That includes:
- Functional specifications
- System’s installation requirements and configuration
- Developer’s documentation (for some cases)
- User manual (for some cases)
They describe how your system operates and how to install and configure it properly.
Those documents are irreplaceable if in the future you will need to make changes to the website or, let’s say, transfer to a different hosting platform.
Running a Website
Besides investing in the website’s development, there are some other costs related to day-to-day operations.
Every site in the world has its own unique domain name or URL. That’s how people find you. Two examples are www.google.com or www.facebook.com. Ownership of domain names is regulated by an international organization, ICAN. There are resellers from which you can purchase a domain name. Prices start at approximately $15 per name per year.
Once a website is ready to go public and you’ve purchased a domain name, you will need to rent a "virtual space" at a web hosting company. That’s where your system will reside and will be available to the rest of the world. Depending on your project’s scale and expected traffic, prices can vary from as low as $15 per month to few hundred dollars a month or even higher. There are plenty of options to best suit your needs as you consider expansion.
If necessary, we can purchase licenses for copyrighted material: stock images or proprietary software. Although most of our work is based on free open source software, there are some cases when it is more efficient to invest some small amounts into licenses.
You will need to purchase a SSL certificate if you have registered users or are processing online payments. If you are accepting credit cards, then the website will also need to pass yearly PCI compliance tests. (Bill’s note: should SSL be defined and should the process for purchasing the certificate be explained?)