Reading Terminal Market Merchant's Association

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Site Tour

Website Success

From Pre-Planning To Post-Launch

Phase One

Pre-Project Planning

Know What You Want

Make a Wishlist

Identify Your Problems

  • Questions asked repeatedly that take up your time
  • Processes that are inefficient
  • Common tasks that can be done electronically
  • Important or helpful information not available online

Turn These into Requirements

  • A page of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  • Online ordering
  • An online reservation form
  • Site content with important information

Be Realistic

If you set up unrealistic expectations,
you will still get reality-based results.

Be Realistic

  • Create a timeline
  • Set a budget
  • Build a list of requirements
  • Remain flexible

Consider an RFP
(Request for Proposal)

A document used to elicit bids from potential vendors for project.


  • Intro / Project Overview / Company Overview
  • Your Audience
  • New Website Objectives / Current Website
  • New Website Functionality Requirements
  • Budget Details
  • Proposal Requirements
  • RFP & Project Timeline Details

Vital Design

Writing a Website Design RFP? Read This Comprehensive Guide First (w/Bonus RFP Template)

Phase Two

Choosing your technology and team

How Complex is Your Site?

The size and complexity of your site will dictate the technology it needs.

Example One


  • Content Pages: About, Hours and Location, Contact, etc.
  • Contact Form
  • Newsletter Signup

Example Two


  • Content Pages
  • Contact Form
  • Newsletter Signup
  • News/Events
  • Photo Gallery
  • Simple Ecommerce

Example Two


  • All of the Previous Items
  • Customized Ordering System
  • Seamless Integration with 3rd Party Services
  • Robust eCommerce
  • Functionality Involving User Management
  • Anything else you can dream up

Hosted Service Solutions

Hosted Service Solutions


  • Cost: $0 - $30/month
  • Hosting is provided by the service
  • eCommerce is provided by the service
  • Do it all yourself

Hosted Service Solutions


  • Limited Number of Themes
  • Limited Functionality
  • If used as a Phase One, need to start over
  • Do it all yourself

Custom Solutions


  • Design freedom
  • Sky's the limit on Functionality
  • Create the exact site you want

Custom Solutions


  • Cost: $2K and up
  • Need to purchase hosting
  • More decisions to make
  • The wrong team can do a bad job

Choosing a Host

A host is the company that maintains the server your site lives on. A good host is crucial to a stable, fast and secure website.

Choosing a Host

  • Shared Hosting: Site occupies a server with hundreds of other sites
  • Dedicated Hosting: Site occupies a single server by itself
  • Cloud Hosting: Site is given space and resources as needed
  • Managed Hosting: Site is fine tuned for the technology it's using

Choosing a Team

If you need a custom-built site, the developers you choose are integral to your web success.

Choosing a Team

  • Ask friends and colleagues
  • Find out who developed sites you like
  • Google with caution
  • Avoid Freelancers with no proven track record (aka your sister-in-law's friend's cousin)

Vetting a Company

  • Read through their website and portfolio
  • Check out their social profiles
  • Get references and talk to them
  • See if they contribute back to the technology they use
  • Ask if they develop in-house or use 3rd party solutions

During the Proposal Process

  • Did they ask you insightful questions?
  • Did they throughly understand your organization and project?
  • Do they offer solutions to solve your problems?
  • Do they include a CMS (Content Management System)?
  • Do they put standards in place for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
  • Are they realistic on price and timeline?

Making the Decision

  • Don't make a choice only based on price.
  • Do they offer a dedicated project manager?
  • Do they offer support after the site is launched?
  • Are they realistic on price and timeline?

Phase Three

Site Build


  • Make sure all the decision makers are at the kickoff meeting
  • Organize your thoughts ahead of time
  • Be as clear as possible


  • Identify your project manager
  • Get a timeline of milestones and reports
  • Find out the best way to communicate with the team
  • Get the address of the development environment

Making it to Launch

  • Keep up with your tasks
  • Trust your web developers, but speak up for things you really want
  • Make sure all decision makers have signed off on completed elements
  • Don't let "perfect" sabotage great

Phase Four

Site Launch and Beyond

The Big Day

  • What is the process of going from dev to live?
  • Will there be downtime?
  • Will this affect email service?
  • Should work on the site stop until the site is live?
  • Stay Calm: DNS Propagation takes time

Immediately After

  • Add redirects from old site addresses to new ones to preserve search engine ranking
  • Add Google Analytics to site to track statistics
  • Add site to Google Webmaster Tools (Search Console) to aid with Google indexing
  • Celebrate!

Moving Forward

  • What is the development company's policy on bugfixes?
  • Do they provide training on content management?
  • What is in place for organic SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
  • Do they offer maintenance and monitoring?
  • What is the process for new work orders?

Moving Forward

  • Keep content fresh and up to date
  • Make sure things are kept in tune under the hood
  • Make an online marketing plan
  • Tie your site to social media efforts
  • Listen to your visitors
  • Keep a running list for Phase 2

Thank You!

Tracy Levesque

Co-owner & Co-founder of YIKES, Inc. / / @yikesinc / @liljimmi