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A Really Broad Look at the Process of Building a Website

STEP 1:We meet. This can be in person or over the phone. We have a chat about your stylistic sensibilities and your ideas for the direction of your web presence and your short/long term plans for your business. I ask you what your favorite record cover is and leave you wondering why the hell I asked you that.
STEP 2:I sketch a few ideas on paper, write a few columns of numbers down, add them up and bid the job. If the bid is approved, I dispatch an invoice for the initial 1/3rd of the fee.
STEP 3:I design the site. I'll layout static Photoshop mock pages for you to view, critique, love or hate. If it's the latter, I'll scrap the old one and try it again from a different direction - up to three times.
STEP 4:I program the site. This is when the real work begins. Websites are comprised of literally thousands of lines of code which I'll write (lots from scratch, some from repositories I keep on hand). This takes a while.

Sometime around this point I will dispatch an invoice for the second 1/3rd of the fee.
STEP 5:I test the site on a Mac, I test it on a PC, I test it on a phone or two, on a tablet or two, in FireFox, in Chrome, in Safari, in Opera and in... cough, cough, Internet Explorer. I tweak the code and then I test the site on a Mac, I test it on a PC, I test it on a phone or two, on a tablet... you get the picture.
STEP 6:Once the site looks and behaves as it should on all of the above devices and in all of the above browsers, I wrap it up, launch the site and slap each other on the back. Then I dispatch an invoice for the final 1/3rd of the fee, of course.