This is where ideas start and we can define the initial research, project scope, server architecture and technical specifications. Providing a good foundation to start from.
Once we have scoped out the project, we can start adding tasks in our project management system to bring in the next stage of the project.
The design stage varies from client to client, some clients have a design created by their in-house team, some clients have come to us to fix their sites and others require a full rebrand.
Our in-house web/UX designer has been designing sites since 2018 and has built some of the biggest known brands.
After 30 Days of free support, the project is officially closed. However, plenty of clients choose to keep us on retainer beyond their support period. If that’s something that you’re interested in, discuss it with your account manager. Your website will need constant care and maintenance as your business grows; you may find that month to month support is important after the 30-day support plan expires. The support that your eCommerce hosting platform offers can only take you so far, and they can’t get into the code of your site and actually fix a problem (like we can).
The internet is constantly evolving, and so are the software providers that host your platform, as well as the 3rd party apps that you rely on. You can’t fully future-proof your website, and if your eCommerce business is growing at a fast rate, it’s important to have a team that can crush technical problems. Allow us to take care of these issues, and you can focus on what you do best: running your business.
FluidRank support retainers rely on tickets and estimates that are added to your Podio workspace. That way, as things come up, you can add a ticket or request an estimate, and we’ll handle it. At the end of the month, we’ll bill you for whatever hours you’ve accumulated. There are no minimum hour requirements, so you don’t risk losing anything.
Clients on retainer support have their own area within Podio, in which they assign tasks and communicate with our team. Tasks are generally started within 1-2 business days of assignment. We’re not a 24/7 agency, so we do not work weekends/nights/holidays. Emergency support can be provided as an optional and premium service.
The retainer model used for our engagement is to allow flexibility and is not firm or final. Time is tracked and work is logged all within our client dashboard. With this method, we can work with our clients with more flexible and allocated resources for projects.
Websites that are on Magento, Opencart, WordPress, Woocommerce, or any other open source platforms that require self-hosting (Hostgator, Godaddy, Bluehost, Amazon, e.g.) need to be secure & backed up. You will be responsible for your site’s security in addition to its hosting. We highly recommend that you regularly back up their website & keep the website secure by using security plugins & 3rd party software, along with updating their plugins and software (make sure to consult your development team beforehand so nothing breaks). We recommend sitelock.com as its useful for website security and may prevent hacking & malware. FluidRank Agency is not responsible for your website once we have completed our scope of work and even during the project, we cannot prevent malware or hacking and it is our clients’ responsibility to have measures in place for proper security & maintenance. FluidRank Agency cannot prevent malware, hacking, viruses or other issues that are related to self-hosting or hosted carts. Contact your hosting provider for more information about how to secure your site.
For websites that are hosted on platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Volusion, e.g., backups are handled by the platforms themselves and FluidRank Agency does not store or handle backups. You can contact the platform directly to find out how they store or handle backups. FluidRank Agency is not responsible to store backups of any files or work unless specifically stated in your SOW. Once the project is delivered to the client, FluidRank typically disposes of any files after our 30 days support period ends.
Priority support is available (when scheduled) at $175/hr during business hours (minimum 3 hours). Weekend, holiday or after hour support is billed at $250/hr (minimum 5 hours). All weekend support must be coordinated beforehand and confirmed by FluidRank staff so that we can properly allocate resources.
We’re ready to schedule your project for delivery once we have a signed Go Live playbook and we’ve completed all Go Live to-do items (both parties need to sign off). Also, the final payment or any outstanding balance must be received before we go live or deliver the project to your sandbox/account. We’ll schedule a time to go live with your approval; we require that this takes place earlier in the week to ensure smooth operation and optimal post migration support. We require that you schedule this migration with your account manager at least three business days in advance; several logins and access points need to be monitored for proper functionality. We will confirm and lock in the date for migration depending on resources available. To get the process started, you’ll need to fill out the Go-Live questionnaire. This questionnaire will give you the opportunity to provide us all of the access and instruction we need to make your new work live. When we get this questionnaire back, we’ll present you with a migration schedule we call a “Go-Live Playbook” for you to approve. When all of this is decided and confirmed we can have a smooth launch with minimal surprises.
Go live times are mainly scheduled in the middle of the night, as most migrations require some amount of downtime. This can be done in several hours, but in rare cases, a migration can cause as much as 48 hours of downtime. Refrain from making changes to the backend of the site at this time, as it can interfere with the migration. Please also refrain from sending us comments until we’ve confirmed that the migration of your project is complete.
Once the site is delivered, you have 30 days of free support from us. This support period begins after we migrate our work to your account, and begins whether or not your website goes live. During this time, we’ll fix any remaining issues that stem from our work. Only technical issues are taken care of for the duration of the support period; FluidRank does not perform platform training. All support requests will be handled during our standard business hours. If any 3rd party developer does work during this time, the support period is voided.
Domain Propagation: Domain propagation is the process of your registrar handing off changes to your domain to root DNS servers. ISPs acquire records from the root servers, to other ISPs, and so on until you see the changes reflect on your computer with your internet service provider. Propagation can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days as servers around the globe start to recognize your site’s new host.
Email Propagation: If you move your business email from one host to another, your email will also cease to function for a period of time, as your MX records need to index during propagation. Similarly, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
Data Transfer: When data is being transferred from one platform to another, a resync will need to be done concurrently with the launch in order to make sure the new site goes live with the most up-to-date data set. You may be asked to refrain from making changes to your site for several days before a platform to platform migration so that the resync can run with the most updated data.
Customization Transfer: When custom developments that have been created for one platform move onto another platform they need to be adjusted. By this point, you’ll have tested your new site on a sandbox, but when the site launches these customizations will be working with live data for the first time. It’s smart to expect that a live environment will put these functionalities through unique scenarios that would not have been possible to simulate on a sandbox. As these edge cases come up, our team will be there to adjust the functionality accordingly.
The Testing and QA process begins as development ends. Some projects have multiple QA processes and that would be outlined in your project timeline and scope of work. We’ll send you development updates with links to the sandbox, including a list of any items we still need from your team. During this phase, we’ll try our best to locate and fix any bugs or mistakes before sending your update. We ask our clients to also be vigilant, as we can’t catch everything. Let us know about any bugs that we may have missed.
In order to get a bug addressed, use the Testing area of your Podio workspace. Create one ticket per issue. Our developers will fix them and update you on the changes as those tickets get resolved. This allows us to stay organized and make sure we don’t miss any of your requests.
Payment of the final invoice will be due at the conclusion of Testing and QA, before we migrate to your live site. If you find an issue that needs to be taken care of, log a ticket in the Testing area of your Podio workspace; we’ll alert the right people and sort it out.
Not everything will be complete when you receive your first development update. Certain aspects, like responsive design, won’t be functional until later development updates. All categories, products, and content pages will have placeholder text. If this data is in the backend of your store, it will sync when we migrate to the live site.
FluidRank requires a certain degree of communication and punctuality from our clients. We work within a queue, in which all of our clients’ tasks are placed. This allows us to conduct business for as many clients as possible and continue work if one project is interrupted. If we do not receive communication for a week or more, we’ll have to move, at FluidRank’s discretion, said project to a different place in line to make room for others. This project will still be worked on, but other projects will be catered to first.
As previously stated, please be aware that 1 day of client delay is equal to 3 days of agency delay, as a rule of thumb. Any additional requests or change orders can delay our process since we have to stop, reconsider, re-scope or re-plan project work. Projects that are left unattended for 30 days or more are subject to restart charges. See your FluidRank proposal for details.
During the development phase, we take the pages that we designed during the design and revision process and code them to work with your store. We build all of our custom designed sites on a FluidRank sandbox so that we don’t interrupt your live site while we work. During this phase, we’ll build any custom functionality outlined in your scope of work. Only FluidRank employees will have access to a FluidRank sandbox for the duration of your project. For more information and rules regarding sandboxes, please read the terms and conditions of your proposal.
You’ll have direct access to communicate with your developers through Podio only. If you’d like to set up a call with your developers, all correspondence needs to go through your project manager. Development communication is left for Podio only.
Spending too long in any phase of the project can mean that the version of the platform we begin development on may not be the latest version when we finish. That’s why we set a development window in each project proposal so that we can launch your project with the latest platform version. The development window begins when development starts, as marked in your proposal’s timeline, and lasts for the weeks allotted to development, data migration, and QA testing outlined in your proposal. If there are delays, pauses, or unforeseen stops, we will need additional development time in order to bring your project onto the latest version when the development phase finally closes. If you choose to add something to your project during this phase that wasn’t considered when the proposed timeline was written, that’s ok! Your project manager will talk to you about how a change order will affect the timeline and if we’ll need to extend our development window to accommodate.
For all projects which have been delayed and are outside of the development window, the client may elect to have FluidRank sync to the latest version of the platform theme. If you elect to have FluidRank sync your project to the latest version, you will have the option to update the platform by purchasing additional development time.
While we work on developing your pages we won’t need as much of your input as we do in Design and QA phases. We recommend that you use this time to put together some of the elements that we’ll need to fill out your site after development is complete.
Client communication is necessary for the FluidRank process, and punctuality is important. All of our projects are put into a queue, and tasks are processed in this order. If communication is not held for a week or more, FluidRank reserves the right to move that project further back in line. Said project will still be continued and completed, but it will be placed behind other tasks in the queue. This conveyor belt system is necessary to preserve our timeline for as many clients as possible if one project is interrupted.
We begin work on your first mockup the moment our first kickoff meeting is completed. This starts with the homepage, which determines the visual language for the rest of our design and is usually delivered within 5-7 business days of the initial kickoff meeting. Our mockups represent our suggestion of the best way to design your site for your industry, and within the limitations, if your platform and budget. As we begin revising mockups you should expect responses on your rounds of revision within 1-2 business days of submitting them.
Mockups are received through Adobe XD, a system that allows you to see examples of effects (e.g. color change, zoom, and hover). Through Adobe XD, you’ll be able to add comments and point out any desired changes for the next revision. Excluding scopes of work that include advanced responsive design, mockups only show the desktop version of the design.
Anticipating all platform-specific limitations is a top priority for our mockup, but an occasional design may require slight changes when it’s coded onto the platform. You are responsible for providing the menu items, page copy, and images for your site. Although FluidRank designs some images as part of a custom design, the client is responsible for sizing and quality of said images.
Occasionally additional functionality questions can cause the design process to stop and start, which can delay your timeline. We try not to put the design process on hold when functionality questions arise. Instead we elect to keep that process moving and simply add out of scope items to your mockups if they are requested during the course of revising your pages. We submit the final designs to our developers at the end of the design process and give our clients the option. If they would like to add any out of scope development items requested during the design phase we can certainly accommodate that via change orders. You will also have the opportunity to have us remove extra functionality from the designs with one more complimentary round of revisions.
You’ll have direct access to communicate with your designer through Podio and Adobe XD only. If you’d like to set up a call, you can set up a call with your project manager to relay notes to the designer.
Your input is required throughout the design process. When leaving comments on a mockup, we ask that you take some time to gather all your changes and leave them in one batch, rather than trickling comments in over multiple days. This helps us work most efficiently and conserve your rounds of revision. As we begin revising mockups you should expect responses on your rounds of revision within 1-2 business days of submitting them.
FluidRank understands that clients may request design changes to pages that have already been built to the client’s specification. Note that our agreement does not include a provision for any revisions outside of our original proposal revision policy. That means that any modification requests for a page that’s been designed and completed to the client’s specification will require billing for additional time and work.
Anything that was not initially planned for or worked on through the design process is considered out of scope. Any out of scope items will delay the proposed timeline; FluidRank will provide an estimate of added time, but be aware that one day of client delay is usually equal to three days of agency delay. Once the design and mockup phase is complete, no alterations can be made without additional costs and the timing impact of the project. These modifications will be billed for at $150 per hour or per the rate in the proposal agreement and per the complexity of the task (which is at the discretion of FluidRank Agency)
Mockups are most effective when communication is clear and thorough; be specific and clear with your comments and mention all desired changes before moving on to the next mockup. Doing so will allow us to remain within the rounds of revision in your scope of work. Every custom designed page will have limited rounds of revision, and if that number is exceeded, we’ll need to charge for extra design time.
An approved custom page is sent to development to begin coding, so please make sure you’re certain that the page looks right before you give us official approval. The project’s second invoice will be due at the end of the design phase, during which, please provide the copy/images that we can use for your site, you may upload them onto Podio or share them in a dropbox link. Until we receive your content, we’ll use placeholder copy and images in the meantime.
FluidRank requires a certain amount of punctuality with regard to client communication. All FluidRank projects are put into a queue, and tasks are processed in that order. If we cannot reach a client for a week or more, FluidRank reserves the right to move that project further back in line. That does not mean that your project will not get worked on, only that remaining items will wait behind tasks for projects which are ahead in the queue. This conveyor belt system helps us to preserve our timeline for as many clients as possible if one project gets interrupted.
As previously stated, please be aware that 1 day of client delay is equal to 3 days of agency delay, as a rule of thumb. Any additional requests or change orders can delay our process since we have to stop, reconsider, re-scope or replan project work. Projects that are left unattended for 30 days or more are subject to restart charges. See your FluidRank proposal for details.
Page Speed & Load Time: FluidRank Agency will deliver all work using best practices regarding page load speed. These common web standards may include but are not limited to: use of image sprites, SVG, browser, and session caching, CSS3 standards, and other web technologies. Many factors affect page load and website speed including but not limited to: web hosting, eCommerce platform, internet service providers, plugin authors, many images on a single webpage, custom functionality, larger images, extended pages, hover effects and other factors not controlled by FluidRank that are often at the request of the client. Additional consultation or services rendered regarding optimization or enhancement shall be billed by FluidRank at our blended hourly rate.
After the proposal is accepted, and we’ve received your deposit, we’ll begin working on your project. Your project manager will set up your workspace in Podio, our project management system. Through Podio, you’ll be able to communicate with your project manager, designer, developer, and anyone else assigned to your workspace. You’ll be able to set tasks, provide content and images, and follow the progress of your project. Podio saves us time and fosters greater transparency. We try to avoid emails as they get lost in the mix. Once you’re on the platform, your project manager will provide links for you to fill out any questionnaires or forms necessary to begin your project.