Cradle to Maturity
We start with a “Full Life Cycle Assessment”: from resource extraction (‘cradle’) to use phase and disposal phase (‘maturity’). When I talk about development, I’m talking about everything from planning to hosting to coding and everything in between.
First, we have to know what we’re building. Planning is what makes us efficient, focused, NOT like a dog chasing it’s tail. We have to get together, nail down exactly what our business functions will be. Are we selling something online? Are we attracting people to a physical location? What are our goals… to get visitors to subscribe to a mailing system? To get visitors to download information? To get visitors to make a purchase? What are the requirements and what are our resources? This would be the first step in the development process.
Now agreements show be forthwith, scope of work & client amends and revisions (dealing with normal occurences of clients discovering they want something different or in addition to the original design), dealing with client delays, milestones and project completion, payment terms, project closure clauses, termination clauses, copyright ownership and timelines, things of this nature. All these things should be upfront and concrete.
We need to begin structuring a place for our new site to live: Hosting. With that comes a lot of preliminaries: passwords, database creation, email formulation, DNS (how people find your site). With this in place we can store files and folders related to our project, plant the seeds and get ready to watch them grow.
We refer to “sitemaps”, we build “wireframes” and consider the content. Now we start collecting some of the pieces. What images (logo?) or videos will we need… what will be the color scheme, what will be the fonts… content is considered with special consideration to aspects like “keywords” which will help in the digital marketing strategy. Will there be external links to social network sites, git repository accounts, streaming media hosts like youtube, third payment sites like paypal… The visual design process begins to emerge & the logic starts to come to play.
The coding starts, page templates are written, functions are written in code, this is where the gears to the machine are engineered… At this point of my process, it’s important for me to tout the benefits of a “CMS”.
Wordpress is a “CMS”, or content management system, and with that comes many benefits and advantages. The “wordpress” process actually starts much earlier, because the WordPress CMS relies on a database in order to function, and this database needs a bit of consideration and configuration. This occurs back in the “hosting” phase, and will most likely need revision as particular website functions are discovered. This is an advantage of using a CMS like WordPress, the ability to adapt to requirements and needs as the process goes on!
- Free -By choosing WordPress, you can start your website for free. As an open source project, the platform doesn’t charge anyone for using it. Your basic expenses will be hosting and a domain, everything else is optional.
- Easy to use -Ease of use is one of the main reasons for WordPress’ success. Creating and managing your website with WordPress is easier than using Facebook. You can do so without any coding knowledge. On the other hand, Magento, for example, really needs you to have web development skills to make it work.
- Secure -There is an expert security team behind the platform that responds to every threat. They can issue security updates on a moment’s notice and WordPress will apply them automatically to keep your site safe.
- Scalable -The platform powers websites of all sizes, from startups and small business sites all the way to behemoths like TechCrunch and The New York Times. The list of notable WordPress users is impressive.
- Extendable -You can make use of the thousands of WordPress themes and tens of thousands of plugins out there, not just for e-commerce. Whatever feature you want to add to your online shop, there’s probably a solution already out there.
- Customizable -There is nothing that you cannot change about WordPress. Whatever functionality you dream of, you can either implement it yourself or, more likely, find an existing plugin that does what you need. Same for design, nothing is off limits.
- Well-supported -WordPress is maintained by a community of thousands of professional developers and testers. As a consequence, it has a reliable update cycle that brings new features, enhancements and security improvements on a regular basis. The same is true for the leading e-commerce plugins.
What’s left to do? Test, revise, launch, and turn over the keys to the client. The client is satisfied with the product and contractual obligations are met, passwords/documentation is provided, a possible maintenance agreement has been arrived at? Feedback is important, stay on the Elementarray mailing list!
This is a site where I got much good advice about object orientated PHP programming called “Man in the Arena”.