The Process

Small Dog Solutions works with you throughout the entire website development process. We aim to provide highly customized service to ensure that you end up with a professional, quality website that delivers your message to your target audience. The process typically involves the following steps:

Step #1: Initial Consultation

Your first hour-long consultation is free of charge. If you do not already have a general outline of your site, we will help walk you through the process. The outline reflects the number of pages, main navigation buttons, and any dynamic components (interactive forms, slideshow, shopping cart, etc). This helps us draft an accurate estimate for the project.

This is also a good time to discuss your target audience, as it often informs the general visual look of your site. We also discuss the pros and cons of HTML (Dreamweaver) sites and Content Management Systems (WordPress) and which technology is best for your project.

Step #2: Contract to Build the Website
Once the estimate is approved, we provide a general contract for the project. This is a good time to start gathering any logo files, text, and/or photos you may want to use. Learn more about what you need to get started. If there are certain color schemes or elements of existing sites you like, please email us the links. This is optional, but can help us develop a general sense of the site you are looking to build.

This is also a good time to start thinking about site optimization, or how search engines find your website. There are a number of steps we can take to optimize your site, including the strategic use of title and header tags, general text, and meta tags. It is very helpful to have other sites link to yours, though this is not a service Small Dog Solutions provides. We will discuss the optimization process and brainstorm the key phrases we want to utilize when programming the website.

Step #3: Design
Once we have any logo files and photos your would like on the site, we start to design a static version of the home page in Adobe Fireworks (also editable in Photoshop). We can also help with stock images if you do not have photos of your own.

The first draft is emailed to you for feedback, which is then incorporated into the draft and resubmitted. This step is repeated until you approve the design. Only then will we move on to the programming step.

Step #4: Programming

After receiving your approval on the draft home page, we move on to programming the website. We will need your finalized text, as well as access to your hosting plan (FTP codes). Once we can access the server, we will post a general Under Construction page to your main url, and build your new site on a hidden spot on your hosting plan. This way you can watch as the site develops and provide feedback.

Step #5: Go Live!

Once the site is completed, we will request that you perform a final review before we send the site live. We will provide you with a list of all applicable access codes and editable graphic files if you wish. This is also the time to schedule a free maintenance training session of up to two hours.

Step #6: Website Maintenance

All our sites come with a free two-hour maintenance training session in Missoula on either WordPress or Dreamweaver. Small Dog Solutions also provides maintenance services at an hourly rate upon request. We rarely take on maintenance for sites we did not build.

If you wish to delve deeper into either WordPress or Dreamweaver, numerous instructional online and print materials exist. Missoula is also lucky to have the Lifelong Learning Center, which offers affordable classes in both mediums.