The Process: What You Need To Know to Start Your Next Project

I know I need a website, but I don't know where to start?

First, take a deep breath and relax. You’re in good hands (or paws in this case) with Smellycat Productions.
So perhaps you’re probably feeling overwhelmed and all of your friends are giving you their two cents about what to do and how to go about it? Or maybe you’ve tried Googling the answer, which can also be frustrating if you’re not sure what exactly to look for.

The best way to start is to just give us a call or send us an email.
You will of course need a domain name first if you don’t currently have a domain name and/or an active website. There are many domain name registrars available, but below are some we have used and found professional and reliable when it comes to the ease of use and flexibility of your domain name:

Of course, if you don’t feel comfortable or confident in registering a domain name, we will be happy to help. Hosting, however, is a whole different ball game, so please don’t purchase more than just your domain name before meeting with us.

I know what I want in a web site, and what I want it to do—sort of…

After an initial meeting with you, either in-person or via Skype, we can provide you with a Client Questionnaire we’ve crafted to get the information we need to develop your site the way you want. Once the questionnaire is completed and returned to us, we will meet with you again and review it to make sure we’re all on the same page.

What types of Projects do you accept or work on?

We accept a wide variety of projects ranging from minor code or website tweaks, to complete websites, with or without CMS (content management systems), custom programming, videos, and even iPhone and other apps. From time to time we do get asked about specific projects that are very niche or just a technology we don’t typically use, and in those cases we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction based on your time-frame and specific needs.

How does the process work and do you need me to be part of it?

We get asked this question pretty often, but the truth is that it varies project to project. One thing that really helps with project turnaround time is when our clients make themselves available and actively participate in the process. Also, the more clearly you can define your choices and goals from the start, the easier it is for everyone involved. Whether it’s as simple as a preferred button or title color, there are choices that need to be made and they do matter more than most people think. While we’ve built sites for all types of businesses, each one is unique and at the end of the day, you’ve come to us to deliver what you envisioned from the onset of the project – and that is our goal.

Do I really need social media?

Yes! It’s an integral “ingredient” in your recipe for success. Companies that use it and use it well are invariably those you find on the first page of searches. We recommend everyone use at the very least, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Depending on your target audience(s), we might recommend other social networks, such as YouTube, Vimeo, Pinterest, Google+, and others as well. All are great tools for connecting with your audience in a more personal way and are excellent conversation starters. Search engines are now using social signals from these social networks more and more to rank websites. However, when Social Media is used solely as a sales tool, it can actually do more harm than good – but fortunately we offer all kinds of help and assistance in this to get you up and running!

I need a website FAST!

No worries! Typically, we can provide expedited or emergency services for an additional fee.

Do you work with all hosting companies?

No. We have found through some hard-learned lessons that not every hosting company is equal. We believe in the old adage, “You get what you pay for”, and never is that truer than when it comes to hosting companies and their servers. If we find that your existing hosting company may not be compatible, we’ll let you know. Please contact us before purchasing your hosting.

Do you websites work in all browsers?

Yes, our sites work in all modern browsers, within the limitations and capabilities of the browser itself (sadly, they’re not all the same). Unless absolutely necessary, we no longer provide support for IE6 and as of July 2012 we are no longer supporting IE7. The reason we do not support these is because the technology is changing fast and there are so many platforms and media devices used these days, it’s simply impossible to get a website to behave the same across older platforms. If you’re not currently using a modern browser like Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, we really recommend you do. Both browsers provide a better experience (and security features) that will change your world.

When will my project be complete?

If you have a specific deadline in mind, please be sure to let us know ahead of time so that we can make the necessary arrangements. We work on multiple projects at any given time, which helps us keep our sanity and ideas fresh in the creative process. Typically, the average turnaround is between a month and six weeks, depending on the scope of work and size of the project. Clients who actively participate in the process, make themselves available for meetings, and respond to our emails promptly also help speed up the process.