Thank you for choosing School Site as your website solution! We are excited to launch your custom design project.
Once you have submitted a General Agreement to our Sales Representative, you will receive an e-mail from your Content Coordinator as well as an invitation to Basecamp, an online tool we use to track progress, share ideas and communicate with you throughout the process. As you can imagine there are many steps involved in a custom design website project, but we will guide you throughout the process.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Before you embark on a new website project, you need to have a clear vision of the following:
- The #1 reason you are updating or upgrading your website now
- The #1 purpose of your website, and the secondary purpose of your site (Example: evangelism / marketing / enrollment is priority while serving current members / repeat visitors is secondary. OR maybe it's building online communities of existing members as priority and growth as secondary.)
- Your target audiences defined
- Goals of your project
- The types of content that you MUST have on your home page and how that content will help you reach your goals and vision
- Navigation / sitemap. This is a core step that is often left till late in the project but should start right away.
We'll help you figure out how to reach your audience with your new design and offer suggestions along the way, but we can't define your goals, or your audience.
COMPLETE WORKSHEET & PROVIDE SITE ASSETS
The first step in this process will be complete a custom design project worksheet and provide us with site assets including a high-level sitemap, logo files and branding documentation, as well high-quality photos/images for the new site.
Your content coordinator will provide you with a link to a Dropbox folder which you can use to upload your site assets throughout this process. You may organize your site assets by creating sub-folders. Additional information for each items is listed below:
The Custom Design Project Worksheet
- An online form that is used to help define the goals, purpose and scope of your new website.
- The form can be saved and updated later if you need to review with stakeholders.
Initial Site Map
- The initial sitemap should at a minimum include the top navigation categories that you expect to appear on your website and any utility links/callout buttons.
- This will help drive the conversation of site organization and user experience as visitors explore your website.
- The sitemap you submit can be a chart or visual representation or simply a list.
- At this time we are looking for 5-10 high quality images of at least 300 dpi that can be used as placeholder images in the design files.
- These images can be images of the campus, classrooms and other environments, as well as candid photos to help the design team understand the culture and mood of your organization.
- Throughout the process you will have access to the Dropbox account and can continue to build a library of images. At the end of the process your content coordinator will load these images in your Site Manager File Uploads.
- For more information on Photography, see our photography guidelines.
Logo Files and Branding Documentation
- We request that your logo file(s) be provided in professional EPS file format.
- If EPS is not available, a high quality, transparent PNG file is acceptable.
- If you do not have an EPS or PNG, we can work with most JPGs, but we may be limited or restricted depending on file size and overall graphic quality.
Next, we will schedule the Project Kick-off Meeting (via Zoom) with you.
- This meeting typically lasts 90 minutes.
- Our experience is that the meeting is much more productive when the group of attendees is limited to two or three stakeholders. Ideally this would include a project manager and an individual responsible for building website content.
- If there is a large committee for this project, please choose one or two members that can attend the meeting and report back to the committee.
- Our approach to any design project is to "begin with the end in mind" which supports our goal to create a beautiful site that you can maintain and keep updated.
By the end of our meeting we will have discussed the following:
- Target Audience, Purpose, Vision & Goals
- Design aesthetics
- Types of content on the homepage.
- Your process and content cycles
We will use a variety of other websites (School Site custom sites and other industry sites) to visually communicate ideals, examples, and features that you may be interested in.
During this time, it's important for you and your team to continue your work on site photography, your sitemap, and content.
DESIGN HOME PAGE AND INTERNAL PAGES
After the kickoff meeting your Content Coordinator will generate a Design Brief which will sent to the design team along with your branding files, site map and high quality images.
- During the design process, you will be presented with a Home Page Design during the first phase and then the Internal Page Design during the second phase. We must have a Home Page Design approval before moving to the Internal Page Design.
- You will be notified through Basecamp when you can review your design file(s) using an InDesign file. This will be a static image.
- Your content coordinator can provide you with some context for the design and explain what is a set part of the design and what can be edited by you.
- Up to 2 design revisions are allowed.
- To keep the project moving, it's important to move through the rounds of feedback, changes and approval in the design stage quickly.
- During this phase, you will need to finalize the main navigation categories, social media icons, footer address and text, sectional headers, home page content sections, as well as other items requested by the design team.
- The header and footer will be the same site wide.
- Layout options on the interior pages will be selected in the School Site Content Management System (CMS). Options include banner images, interior navigation menus, main content area tools, right side content area tools, headings, pages titles and more.
Upon Design Approval, the following items will be added into Basecamp Project as to-do with a due date. Not having these items will create a delay in the project.
- Sitemap (if not already submitted). Please see our Sitemap page for additional details.
- All social media and third party links. Your project manager can give you a full listing, but this can include Facebook, Twitter, and any links for icons and navigational buttons on your design that are not internal pages of your site.
- Google Custom Search code. If you have elected to have a custom search on your site (not required), we will need you to provide us with the code for that search.
- Any final images that have been requested by your Content Coordinator.
- Any email address that may be linked to from the footer (if applicable).
- If you are an existing School Site customer, we will work with you to decide on a wrap/conversion or old-to-new site process.
- Any other items requested by your Content Coordinator.
PROGRAMMING AND TESTING
Once we have received your full approval on the designs, we move the project into the Coding/Implementation/Testing phase. Depending on queue volume, this process typically takes 3 to 4 weeks. Your Content Coordinator will notify you as soon as an expect release date is established so that training can be scheduled.
If you haven't started already, begin content preparation & organizing for each page. This is when you will take your sitemap and expand it further to define the target audience and purpose as well as the elements you want on each page. These elements include:
- Banner Image
- Text Content
- Images on the Page
- Key Links or Next Steps
With this kind of detailed content, you create a checklist of what needs to be written, compiled, organized, photographed and more.
TRAINING AND SITE RELEASE
- Your training will be conducted via Zoom with a member of the School Site Support Team.
- Anyone in your organization who is or will be responsible for the daily/regular content building/updating should be in attendance.
- During training, we will cover all of the customized elements of your website home page.
- During training we will cover the basics of the Content Management System and provide you with your login credentials.
- After the training session is complete you may begin building content on your new website
- Our support team is available to answer any addition-al questions you may have along the way. You may reach us by calling into FACTS Support (1-866-800-6593, option 3) or e-mailing email@example.com. -
TAKING YOUR SITE LIVE
Once you have built the content on your new site, you can schedule your site to Go Live. Please click here to visit the Go-Live Resource Page.