Revised with new information as of January 6, 2014

Web Site Development Timeline

This is an overview of the steps to get a simple, workable, initial web site up within just a few weeks. Once this basic site is up and regularly maintained, advanced features or design can be developed and implemented.

  1. Before your organization starts its Web development, most of its staff that deals directly with the public in any capacity (development, marketing and public relations, education and outreach services) needs access to the Internet. This means the organization needs:

    This may not mean that each staff member has an email address nor a computer, but it should mean that any of the staff can access the agency's Web site, and other Web sites that relate to the organization's work, as needed. It also means that at least one person on your staff is checking your organization's main email address EVERY DAY (or, for people in countries where that isn't possible, is checking as often as possible).

  2. The appropriate staff member(s) should convert all available/appropriate information to .txt (text only) format, gather all available graphics, and store this information in a centralized place on the agency's computer system. Gathering the graphics for online use may mean calling whomever designed or printed the agency's publications and asking them to send you the graphics on disk (.gif or .jpg format would be most preferred, but with the right software, you should be able to read any graphic file regardless of the computer system it was created on).
    Estimated timing: 60 hours

  3. When the majority of information has been download or gathered and converted to text, initial Web page construction could begin. Information should drive the design, so its best to create graphic-less pages during initial construction, to see how the information flows.
    Estimated timing: 40 hours

  4. After several text-only web pages have been completed, artwork design could begin (buttons, page headers, etc.). I advise fully designing 15 pages of the overall Web site (the "timeless" pages would be best to start with), and then submit these pages to the appropriate staff for feedback.
    Estimated timing: 40 hours

  5. Once artwork and overall style is agreed upon, such can be added to the rest of the pages as they are developed, and the entire Web site can be completed. I recommend that all .gif files go into their own directory as well (see page 6 for suggested directory structure).
    Estimated timing: 60 hours

  6. Once the Web site is complete and approved, it should be uploaded to the chosen server.
    Estimated timing: 5 hours
    (many people will tell you that uploading will take just minutes. And this is often so. However, if you include testing times for an initial site, problems uploading, files put in the wrong place and having to be moved, etc., then the time starts stretches out well beyond an hour)

  7. When the Web site is fully functioning from the server, the Web site address should be released to the staff and the board for "beta" testing for one week; staff and board should use the site and forward corrections/changes to the appropriate the agency's staff person to make.
    Estimated timing: 5 working days

  8. After the week of beta testing, the Web site should be marketed online to appropriate audiences.
    Estimated timing: 10 - 20 hours

  9. Also after the week of beta testing, the Web site should be marketed offline.
    Estimated timing: ongoing

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