Getting Started Everything I need to confirm scheduling and begin development
I'm delighted you're interested in working together!
Follow the steps below to confirm scheduling & prep for development.
You can email me any time at email@example.com if you have any questions.
I know this page is lengthy, but please read it fully at least once before we start your website, as it contains important info about the development process and what happens after. Most questions I receive from new clients are answered on this page (how to send photos, how long development takes, what if you want to swap out photos in the design later, etc).
Step #1: Send payment to confirm scheduling
Scheduling priority is given by payment date. If someone else submits payment first, you'll be automatically scheduled for the next open spot after that. Because openings can book out quickly, please check my current availability right before submitting your payment to be sure the date you want is still available. Unfortunately, it's not possible for me to hold or reserve a development spot without receiving payment first.
Once payment is received, me or my assistant Liz will send a scheduling confirmation with your start date information. If someone squeezed a payment in before you, we'll automatically schedule for the next open spot I have available.
After scheduling is confirmed, follow the remaining steps on this page to submit the materials I'll need to begin development. This can be done at any point prior to our start date, so there is no rush if we're not scheduled to start for several weeks.
After generating an invoice from my payment page, the billing system will email you a link to view it.
Click the payment link at the top of the invoice to choose an online payment method. I currently accept PayPal or Credit Card payments processed through Stripe.com. CC payments will show 'Veda Designs' on your statement.
Money orders can be addressed to 'Tara McKendry' and send it to my payment address shown on your invoice. If sending an offline payment, please be sure to email me on the day it goes out so I can confirm scheduling with you. See my payment page for other offline payment options.
Scheduling priority is given by the date payment arrives. Unfortunately, I'm unable hold or reserve a spot without having received payment first.
If you are scheduling a custom design, please see my cancellation & refund policy for important information about the time limits required to be eligible for a full or partial deposit refund if you need to cancel. Regrettably, template design orders are non-refundable due to the faster development turnaround.
Step #2: Fill Out Design Questionnaire
This is where you provide the technical and design related information I'll need.
What is it?
This is where you provide all of the technical and design related information I need to create your website. This form MUST be filled out even if you provided notes in a separate email or document, as it requests important technical details and is structured in a way that allows me to find information quickly.
When do I need it?
This questionnaire can be filled out & submitted to me at any point up to a day prior to when we start, so feel free to take your time and revisit this page when you've had a chance to gather your notes.
Step #3: Provide Photos
Send High resolution photos to be used in the design and gallery of your website.
How to send them:
You're welcome to email materials directly to firstname.lastname@example.org or use any of the Cloud Storage providers I've listed below. You can also click the button below to upload your photos directly to my Dropbox account.
Cloud Storage Providers:
If your photos are too large to email, you can upload them to any of the cloud providers below and send me a share invite at the email listed. If sharing through the cloud, please name your shared folder so it corresponds to your email or stage name.
- Dropbox => email@example.com
- Google Drive => firstname.lastname@example.org
- OneDrive => email@example.com
- Box.com => firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos won't be ready in time?
Unless you've ordered a template website that uses a color preset, photos are required before I can start development. If they won't be ready in time, please contact me as soon as possible, as we'll need to push back your start date to a later week.
Page Design Photos:
If this is a custom design, please make sure photos to be used as part of the design are AT LEAST 1500 pixels on the longest side. If this is a template website, check the 'Requirements' section of your template for the minimum sizes I'll need. Please be sure to send larger than the minimum if cropping will be needed.
There is no minimum size requirement for photos that will be uploaded to your gallery. However, to prevent slow page loads, make sure the file size of your gallery photos do not exceed 300-500kb before uploading
If you already know which photo you want used on each page, it's very helpful (but not required) if you can change the file names so they correspond to the page they go on. (Example: bio.jpg, rates.jpg, contact.jpg, etc...).
I can do whatever cropping or blurring is required for your gallery/design photos at no additional cost as long as the number of photos does not exceed 30 images. If you have more than this, my standard hourly rate of $50/hr would apply for the additional time needed.
I can also assist with minor touch-ups (fixing blemishes, smoothing skin), but ask that you keep the number of photos below 12 and have a professional photographer perform more advanced editing (ie: changing backgrounds, extensive cloning or changing the color of your skin/clothing). For ethical reasons, I generally won't do dramatic body sculpting on photos. I will definitely smooth skin and fix bulges from tight clothing, but am not comfortable making anyone appear more than 5-10 lbs below their actual weight. I also won't implement photos into a design if I know you're not the person in them (ie: bait and switch).
One of my greatest scheduling challenges is that I often end up double or triple booked because of having to push start dates back when photos or materials aren't ready. I understand this is often not my client's fault (ie: her photos are late from the photographer, which is beyond her control), but please understand that if we need to push back the original start date, some stages of development will take longer because of having to start you on a week that was already reserved for someone else.
Step #4: Send Content
Email the text to be used on each page of your website
Your VedaCMS website editor allows you to add/edit your own page text, but it works out better if I can do the initial insertion and formatting for you. If your text won't be ready by your start date, PLEASE work on it while I am completing the first stage of development.
Finalized text MUST be received before I finish the first draft of your site.
If you're unable to make the deadline, let me know as soon as possible and provide an estimated date of delivery.
- Template Designs:
Must be received no later than four days after your start date.
- Custom Designs:
Must be received no later than two weeks after our start date.
Please email content directly to email@example.com. Text can be pasted directly into the email body or you can use file attachments if that's easier for you. If you prefer using Google Drive, share invites can be sent to the same email address, though please label the document with your stage name or domain so I can identify it quickly.
If you are in need of someone to write your content or optimize your website for search engines, I have a few listings available on my Copywriters & Assistants resource page. There is also an SEO Checklist you can reference for search engine optimization techniques you can easily do on your own.
Please DO NOT USE OR SEND content that was illegally copied from another website.
If you are caught doing this, it causes major problems for me and I'm forced to waste an incredible amount of time mediating the situation. If I receive a copyright complaint about one of my clients illegally using content from another website (and I can confirm this is true), please understand I am left with no choice but to disable that website until the issue is resolved.
If content isn't ready by the deadline:
Please understand that if your content isn't ready by the time I'm finished with all other work on your website, your project will lose priority in my development schedule to whomever was on my calendar after you. If this happens, I will still help with the initial insertion of text when it's ready, but my availability and turnaround times won't be as fast as they would have been had materials arrived on time..
Step #5: Policy Reminders
Read through important project scope & policy information about development
Please read through this section fully.
This covers some important (but very awkward to communicate) policies about project scope and expectations during the development process that all new clients need to be aware of.
Most of these policies are already covered in my TOS or briefly in other areas above, but I wanted to highlight them again here to ensure they're not overlooked.
Why it's important:
Reviewing this information ensures there are no misunderstandings while we work together. This was a very difficult section to write, as it makes me sound like a much more grumpy person than I actually am. If you have concerns or questions about any of the information below, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Missing Website Materials:
All development materials, with exception to page text, must be received on or before our scheduled start date. If materials haven't been received within 48 hours after we were scheduled to start, I'll assume you're not ready and will move onto other projects.
If development is delayed more than a business week, your website will lose priority to the person scheduled after you. All this really means is that my responses and turnaround times may be a little slower than they would have originally, as I'll need to work around a scheduling block originally reserved for someone else.
I understand completely that unexpected things come up and am incredibly flexible about needing to adjust our start date or pause development when needed. The only thing I ask is that you give me as much notice as possible or tell me beforehand if you'll be out of contact for more than a few business week days after I've finished the initial draft. If communication delays or lack of availability result in development extending to far into the scheduling block for the next person on my calendar, the same rule applies that was mentioned in the section above. I will absolutely make time for you and and finish your website, but it won't happen as quickly as it would have had we stayed on schedule.
If working with a photographer, copywriter or SEO consultant, clients are asked to handle all delivery arrangements and status check-ins with them. Please don’t ask me to contact them on your behalf or do the legwork on retrieving your materials.
It's perfectly okay if you've hired a consultant to help with the planning of your new website, but please understand that you are the person I expect to be collaborating with on all details. It's no problem to have someone else periodically collaborate with me on your behalf, but I prefer not working exclusively through a 3rd party when designing for a new client. Additionally, if you want someone else to be involved in the development process, please understand it will be your responsibility to relay information to them.
If content will be transferred from an old website, please go through and copy the text you want used on the new site and send it to me in an email or document attachment. Please don’t ask me to comb through old website pages to retrieve your text.
Clients are asked to populate their own 'Links' page content. I don't mind adding a handful of listings when initially setting up the site, but if there will be more than five, I'll send an early login to your website manager so you can work on this.
Once I do the initial insertion of your text, I'll ask that you use your web site manager to make any adjustments on text that is needed. This policy is not because I’m lazy or don’t want to do it for you – but rather, because it gives you the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the editing tools before the site launches and I'm be immediately accessible for any questions you have.
Step #6: Development
Read through information about how the development process will work
Development begins on your scheduled start date unless required materials are missing. If our start date is delayed more than a 2-3 days because materials aren't ready, all stages of development will take longer, as I'll have to bump you to a week already reserved for someone else.
Total Development Timeline:
- Template Designs
Template designs are usually launched publicly in less than two weeks unless it's a rush job (which cuts that time in half). However, more time will be needed if you order non-standard customizations or request an extensive number of revisions after the initial draft is finished.
- Prebuilt Custom Designs
These are usually ready to launch in less than three weeks (except rush jobs, which usually cuts that time in half) unless you requested the original design to be heavily modified.
- Custom From Scratch Designs
Custom designs typically require a minimum of 5-6 weeks before they're ready to launch. Total development time varies greatly depending on the type of website you request or how extensive of changes you want made after the initial design concept is presented.
What To Expect
I'll use the information provided in the design questionnaire to create your design. I usually don't contact you during this phase unless I need clarification on one of your requests.
- Template Designs:
Time Estimate: 1 Week (Rush Job: 72 hours)
All development & customizations will be completed this first week. I'll email your website link once everything is finished.
- Prebuilt Custom Designs:
Time Estimate: 1-2 Week (Rush Job: 4-5 Days)
The majority of development is finished during this phase. More time is required for the initial draft if you requested extensive changes to the original design.
- Custom Designs Built From Scratch:
Time Estimate: 2-4 Weeks (Rush Job: 1-2 weeks)
This is the stage where I create the initial concept of your design. I spend the first 1-2 weeks sketching up ideas based on your design requests and an additional week fine tuning it. The initial draft is usually sent as a collection of mockup screenshots for you to review.
What To Expect
This is where I revise the design based on your feedback. We should collaborate regularly so your design can be finalized in a timely manner. Extensive communication delays without prior notice during this stage may losing priority in my development schedule or cancellation.
- Template Designs:
Time Estimate: 1-? days
Template designs include a total of 15 hours of work, which usually leaves us enough time for 2-3 rounds of revisions at this stage. However, additional time is provided if you ordered any non-standard customizations.
- Prebuilt Custom Designs:
Time Estimate: 3-? days
Time on revisions will depend on how extensively you wanted the original design modified. However, we shouldn't have a problem finalizing the design within the time remaining unless you request changes that go in a completely different direction from your original requests.
- Custom Designs Built From Scratch:
Time Estimate: 1-? Weeks
Custom designs built from scratch typically require more time for revisions, but are usually finished within 1-2 weeks of back and forth emails. If you require more than just minor tweaks to the design draft, this stage goes more quickly if you can provide more detail about the exact areas you want changed and how you want them too look. Although it rarely happens, if we can't agree on a final design after two weeks of revisions, we'll need to discuss additional fees for extended development time beyond the hours included for a custom website.
This only applies to Custom From Scratch designs
Templates and custom prebuilts are already fully developed after the revision stage.
Development Time: 3-5 days
What To Expect
If your initial design draft was presented as mockup screens, this is where I code out the last design mockup we finalized & set up your pages.
- Make changes to your content
- Enter META tags for each of your pages
- Populate your calendar, links page, blog, etc (if applicable)
- Make whatever changes you want to the default booking form
Development Timeline: 1-3 Days
We inspect the site for any errors or last minute changes. Once everything is ready, I'll send off your official 'Account Information' email if I haven't already and the final invoice if this is a custom site. Once payment is received, the 'Coming Soon' page is removed and the website is ready to use.
What To Expect:
In addition to letting me know of any last minute changes you want, I'll ask that you go through each page of the site to confirm everything is working properly. This includes sending yourself a test form submission or testing out the membership system if you're using that feature.
All remaining balances will need to be paid before the 'Coming Soon' page is removed from your website.
Step #7: Post-Launch
Review details about my schedule and how to request help after your site launches
Requesting Help In The Future
Once your website is launched publicly, all future support requests or work orders should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, which opens a ticket in the online help desk.
Due to a high development workload, I can usually only reserve one day a week to work on support requests. However, my assistant Liz works on tickets Mon/Wed/Fri and can handle most types of requests. Visit the main Client Support page for details.
Support & Maintenance Fees:
After launch, any future development work or time spent on support requests would be billed at my standard hourly maintenance rate unless the request falls within the "Fee Exceptions" shown on my support page.
To be certain of how my support process and schedule works when you need help in the future, please be sure to read fully through the support page at least once before (or shortly after) we're finished with development.
Mon OR Fri
Typical days I spend working on support tickets.
Tues, Wed & Thur
New Website Development
Days I spend on new client websites still in development.
8AM to 4PM CST
Central Standard Time. Hours may vary.
9AM to 5PM CST
Central Standard Time. Hours may vary.
Weekends & US Holidays
In addition to any days blocked off on my calendar.