Whether working on your website with your staff, an agency, or a freelancer, there are processes involved to ensure the success of the project. You need to understand everything every step of the way because you want to know what to expect. This will also allow you to determine when to check on the developer or with the rest of the team involved.
As the business owner, you may have the vision on how the website will look like, and that is a good thing. More often than not, those who want to have their websites done have no idea what they want that they entrust everything in the hands of the developer. That is not very ideal and could lead to disaster.
The web development process ensures that all parties involved have a good understanding of what everyone needs to do. In this post, we will break down the recommended steps towards building a website that is more than pleasing to the eye.
The Website Development Process
1. Information Gathering
The first step is all about gathering information from all parties involved. For the web developer, the information-gathering process is the first step to understanding the business, including the target market, the goal or goals for having a website.
For you as the business owner, this is the time to communicate your vision on how the website will look like. This will allow the developer to see how he can translate your vision into what you want to achieve with the website.
Both parties should be open to ideas. The developer should acknowledge that you, as the business owner, wants to be in charge. But keep in mind that not everything you want can work.
For example, some businesses want to convey a fun or friendly environment with a colorful website. But the misuse of colors may cause your target audience to leave. The about page is a great place to highlight company culture through stories or images.
The information-gathering stage helps determine the scope of the web development project. This will also define what you need to provide as the owner of the company.
The planning process involves creating a sitemap laying out all the pages of the website. This is the basis for creating a structure for the flow of navigation.
This phase is also where SEO comes in, which involves keyword research and analysis. A competitive analysis is also recommended. This is analyzing the keywords used by the competition. These SEO tasks are key to developing an SEO strategy.
Creating an SEO strategy is important for content creation because it will be the next task to focus on in this phase. With search engine optimization in mind, work on content for individual pages can proceed.
If content creation is part of the contract you signed with the agency or freelancer, all you need to do is to provide details about the business, products or services, clients, and some back story to serve as a guide.
The design stage involves the visual element of the website. The look of the website depends on the visual branding of the business.
If this was well-defined during the initial phase of the website development process, there is nothing left to do but to implement what was agreed upon.
If the agency is in charge of developing the visual branding, it may take some work. The developer will likely present some ideas to you and wait for your comments or approval.
At this stage, the web developer starts working on the approved design. This process can be the most time-intensive work. Expect constant communication with your developer. If not, you can always ask for updates from time to time.
There is a lot of work needed, from building out the pages, content, and other features of the website. Be ready to provide more content, including photos and videos at this stage.
At this point, all your pages, content, and other visual elements are in place. The site is usually available for viewing but protected with a password to ensure that the public will not be able to view it yet.
Testing is critical because it ensures that everything is working. Make sure that the customer experience is seamless when they visit the website. Viewing it on different web browsers and devices is a good practice.
Check navigation and links. View every page to determine that content and any visual elements are rendering properly. Read through the web content thoroughly to spot errors on grammar, misspellings, and typographical errors.
Testing is also done at the backend. Is the information submitted through the forms captured? Are pages loading fast? The testing phase will be a lot easier if it's done by several people. Guidelines should be in place on how to do the testing for this process to be successful.
The testing stage is also the time to check if everything that agreed upon is in place. As the business owner, you have the final say if the website should go launch or rolled back to address issues or concerns.
With your approval, knowing that everything is in place and no errors found, it is time to launch the website. It is time to let people know about your new website.
But it does not stop there. You still need to be in touch with your website developer for minor problems that need an immediate fix.
The final stage of the website development process is maintenance. Your website is a collection of software and codes that changes from time to time. Updating it ensures that your website is working all the time.
You will also need to update content as your business progresses and make some changes to vision, goals, product, or service offerings.
If you want to be in charge of the maintenance, make sure that you have the technical understanding. Because sometimes, some updates may break your website.
You see, having a quality website developed is more than having a website. It involves commitment from the very start of the project and even after it is up and running. By understanding the website development process, you will be able to accomplish what you have set out to achieve for your business.
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