I value the relationships I have with my clients and I believe that good business practices are in everyone’s best interest.
We will have two documents to protect our working relationships – A Project Plan, and a contract.
The Project Plan covers all the details of what I will build for you, and the roles and responsibilities each of us have in our engagement. The contract specifies terms and conditions, payment terms and some general agreements.
Having a clear understanding of how your site will progress keeps things on track and everyone happy.
Here is an outline of how your project will evolve.
Phase I: The Plan
We will need to determine the scope of your project before I can provide an estimate. Take a quick look at my website packages to get an idea of where your project might fall cost-wise. Depending on how complex and customized your site is, creating a plan will take between one and three hours of meeting and prep time. Your Plan will become our agreement regarding the scope of the work we will undertake, so taking the time to cover all the details is in both of our best interest.
- Your project will be billed on a per-hour basis. This gives you the most flexibility to add to or change the specifics of what we have laid out in your Project Plan.
- Our first hour of planning time is offered at no charge. In this hour we will talk about our ideas for your site, and determine if we are a good fit.
- If you choose to go ahead and work with me, any subsequent planning time will be included in your estimate. Taking the time to create a solid plan is a good investment for you – the clearer the plan, the fewer unexpected changes (and costs) will crop up later.
After our meeting(s), I will put together a comprehensive plan detailing the features, functions and design direction we have decided on for your site. The Plan will include a schedule, as well as outline the tasks and responsibilities each of us has agreed to.
Tracking billable time spent on your project
I use the Paymo app * as my project tracking and invoicing tool. Paymo includes a project timer, so each time I sit down to work on your project the timer goes on. If I take a break, the timer goes off. Time on your project is tracked to the minute, and you will have a link to a real-time report that you can visit at any time to see details for all the times and tasks I am working on for you.
Transparency and accountability!
Once your Plan is ready, I will send it to you for your approval and sign off. We can tweak a few things if necessary so that everything is clear. Your Plan will include an estimate of the number of hours it will take to execute your plan. Working from an hourly estimate gives you more flexibility to adapt as we make progress, saving us having to create a new agreement each time there is a change in the project scope.
Phase II: Building your site
Layout, design, content, features, and functions
Based on what we have agreed to in your Plan, I will set up your hosting and start building your new site in a staging environment. I will start working on your template design, add the pages and posts we have agreed on, and set up your navigation. I will also be adding all the back-end techy features to your site such as site security, automatic backups and other tools that will protect your site from malicious attacks.
One of the great things about WordPress is that we can add content at the same time as we are designing the site. We will have already determined how the content on your site will be organized during the planning phase, so while I work on the site layout, design and functionality, we can be adding the content at the same time. Depending on our agreement, you or I will be responsible for adding the content to your site. It is more cost effective for you to do this yourself, and if this is your choice, I will provide the training to show you how to do this well. It is really quite easy!
While we will have a Project Plan in place outlining the framework for your project, it is very likely that you will want to change, add or remove tasks as we go along. Creating your site will be an ongoing and collaborative process and we will keep fine-tuning the details as we progress. You will be able to see my work as I make it, so you will have plenty of opportunities to review my work and provide feedback. We can share a Dropbox or Google Drive folder and we will have regular, possibly daily contact.
Once your site is ready for final review, we will go through all the elements together and make any final tweaks.
Phase III: GoLive
This is the exciting part! The time has come to migrate your site to your production server and make your site live. It will take from 24 to 48 hours for the name servers to update. This time-lag, called propagation, is the estimated number of hours it takes for root name servers and cache records across the entire web to be updated with your website’s new domain name server’s information. In reality, your site is likely to be live in about 2 hours.
Deposit to start: Once I have received your email confirmation indicating that you wish to move ahead with the Plan, I will send you an invoice requesting a deposit equal to 30% of the estimated hours at our agreed upon hourly rate. A deposit indicates your commitment to your project and allows me to move forward with confidence.
Once your deposit is received, we are ready to start working on your site!
Subsequent billing: At the end of each calendar month, I will generate an invoice from your Paymo timesheet and include any out-of-pocket expenses I might have incurred for your project on items such as premium plugins, hosting, domain name purchases, etc.
- Your first invoice will include a credit against your deposit for time spent, but any out-of-pocket expenses will be invoiced in full.
- If costs for time spent in the first month are less that your deposit amount, a credit against your deposit will be included in subsequent invoices until costs for time spent exceeds your deposit amount.