Here we are at part 7 of our series on our methodology of building your site. Now we finally have the design in hand, and we’re ready to turn it into a money-making Web site.
Back in the planning stages, you and your Web shop should have been deciding on what the best platform is for your site. Whether that’s WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, or some other system – ideally you had one in mind as you moved forward with the design.
If you didn’t make that decision already, now is the time to do that. Up until this point there’s been some flexibility: really, any content management system can be built to look how you want it. But now it’s time to settle on one for sure and pull the trigger!
As in the design stage, at this phase the client doesn’t have a lot of responsibility. It’s up to your Web shop to do all the dirty work. This is where scary terms like HTML, PHP, MySQL, and jQuery happen. But don’t worry! Just like building your dream home, once you’ve approved the blueprints you just step back and let the professionals do their thing.
Better Than Your Dream Home
The cool thing about Web sites is, unlike a custom home, everything that’s built is 100% portable. Imagine being able to build your home in a walled off, secret lab where heavy winds won’t blow your I-beam through the wall, and prying eyes can’t peek at the in-progress work. Then once you’re completely satisfied with the home, the contractor teleports it right into the exact spot where you’ll be living for years to come.
That’s exactly how a Web site is built! Your Web shop sets up a development (“dev”) environment, either on your server or on theirs. This dev area is separate from the main site, if you have one already, and it’s hidden from search engines so no one will accidentally stumble upon your half-finished site. For example, you might have www.yoursite.com/dev, or perhaps dev.vendorssite.com/yoursite – something that only you and the developer have access to. Here in this protected area, your new site is built to spec while the old site continues doing its job for you.
If you’re having Search Engine Optimization (SEO) work done for you as well, ideally the ground work for that is also being laid at this stage. If your Web shop doesn’t offer SEO in house, hopefully they partner with a company that does work on SEO. It’s much better to have everyone on the same page up front, than to try and bring in a search consultant later who says “Gee whiz, they really didn’t build this right, we almost need to start over on your site.”
It’s Go Time
After everything has been built to the specified design, all the forms and menus and bells and whistles in place, it’s finally time to unleash your new site upon an unsuspecting world! We’ll conclude our series with that next week.