Website Building Process

The time to take a website project from a dream to fruition depends on many factors, including how much time your staff have to work with us and respond to our questions, how large the site is, and external factors like how difficult it is to schedule photography. However for a medium-sized site, in general, you can expect:

  • A week or two to get the initial meeting scheduled. 
  • One to three months for you to write, edit, and have your text approved internally before giving any of it to us.
  • Once you give us final content that has been edited and approved by your organization, you can expect one to two months before your site goes live. This includes:
    • Time for us to build the text, images and multimedia in your website
    • A few days for you to review and provide us with one list of edits
    • Time for us to input the edits and do QA
    • Time for a final site review meeting
    • Time for us to push the site to the live server, request and program vanity URLs, search collections, redirects, and integrate faculty profiles

Step 1: Kick-off Meeting

In the initial meeting, you will meet with members of the YSM Web Group to discuss the various aspects of the project, your responsibilities, and answer any questions. 

A typical meeting covers the following:

  • Establish your needs and requirements for the website
  • Review the process of building your site in the content management system (CMS)
  • Create the draft navigation (from which we will build the site shell) 
  • Assess photography and other multimedia needs for your site
  • Go over responsibilities and work to be performed
  • Set initial production schedule
  • Review the cost, both for the base site building and any additional web-related services

We typically use this Intake Form during the meeting if you wish to review it in advance.

Step 2: Develop (or Revise) Content

Text

  • If you are building a new site, you will deliver compiled, finalized content including text, video, audio, and still images. If you need assistance writing the content, the Web Group can recommend freelance writers to assist you.
  • If you're revising an existing site, the Web Group will send you a word document containing content from your old site; if possible, it will be divided into the new navigation as determined in the initial meeting. 
  • You edit the content in the word document and add any content as you would like it to appear on your new website. You then have the content approved by your departmental leadership.
  • The primary contact in your organization is responsible for ensuring that all content is correct and accurate.  We do not edit typos or punctuation.  

Multimedia

  • Schedule headshots and “action” photography for your site.  Note that some photography is included in the “base” site building fee, which is usually sufficient for most websites. Additional photography will have to be covered by your organization. Read more about this process
    • Note that any images for the banner need to be high quality, professionally processed, at least 1,000 pixels wide, and represent YSM in a professional manner.
    • No images that depict animals are allowed, as per Yale University policy. 
  • Generate and edit other multimedia, including videos and general photos to use on the website. If you have questions about multimedia standards, please see the Web Group Guidelines page.

Step 3: Initial Site Build

  • The Web Group will take your finalized content and build your website with it. While we will try to closely adhere to the basic outline, we will use our professional judgement to decide the best layout and format for your content. 

  • Depending on the size of the website, this could up be four to eight weeks, and longer if the site is substantial.

  • Your newly-built website in development will be visible (only to the Yale community) at preview.yale.edu. You will need to be on a Yale computer or connected via VPN as it will be behind our firewall and thus not publicly accessible.

Step 4: Review and Edits

  • Once your organization receives the preview, you will review the site, assessing it for accurate representation of your content and your organization.  

  • If necessary, the Web Group project manager will meet with you to discuss changes you would like made to the site before it goes live. 

  • Your edits, as with the initial content, needs to be put together in one single, final, and approved document. You are allowed one round of edits.

  • It is important to note that you will be able to add and revise your site once you take it over, so nothing is ever final.

Step 5: Finalize and Go Live

  • After the round of edits is complete and reviewed, your organization will get a final review.

  • Assuming everything is correct, the Web Group will initiate the process to make the site available to the public (“go live”), which can take several days.

  • Editing privileges are then given to your organization's staff member who will be responsible for maintaining the site going forward.  More about the hand-off is available on our Taking Ownership page.