Most people believe that the web development process is primarily about coding. Actually there is much more to take care of than just writing a code. Usually there are about five to eight steps involved in developing a website. Your business goal defines how many phases of web development you will need to pass. We have prepared a fundamental guide through the website development process for you to read that includes seven major stages:
- 1. Gathering Information
- 2. Planning
- 3. Design
- 4. Content Writing and Assembly
- 5. Development
- 6. Testing, Review and Launch
- 7. Maintenance
Step 1. Gathering Information
This is one of the most important stages of website development. Gathering information is the most time-consuming phase, so be ready to spend up to 60% of your working hours on research. Your main goal on this stage is to find as much information as possible to help you further your development strategy.
Define Your Goal and Target Audience- It’s very important to understand the purpose of your website and the audience it will be targeted at. From the very beginning you should know whether your website will bring you leads, sell your products or be a customer support tool.
Research Your Competitors- Analyzing your competitors’ websites will help you get a general idea of the latest trends and see what “must-haves” you should offer to your audience. Remember that good artists copy, great artists steal.
Content- Think of what content will attract your target audience. Are they looking for interesting texts, videos or specific products? Ensure that your visitors get exactly what they need.
Step 2. Planning
Once you have all the information, you can move to planning. This is the moment when you should start with sitemap development. Sitemap is a list of all topics your website covers. Make sure to include all topics as sitemap tells Google and other search engines how content on your website is built. Comprehensive sitemap is your key to successful search engine optimization. Besides, the better content structure your website has, the easier it will be for users to navigate it.
Step 3. Design
This is one of the most exciting and creative steps in developing a website. This is the stage where you determine the way your product will look. Target audience and website purpose are the basic things to consider here. For example, if your target audience primarily consists of office workers, the website should look simple yet elegant. Usually designers offer several mock-ups for you to choose from. Before approving the mock-ups ensure that the overall design matches current trends. Remember that communication between you and your designer is essential to release a perfect product that will meet all your preferences and requirements.
Step 4. Content Writing and Assembly
The role of writing high quality content that will drive traffic to your website cannot be underestimated. It’s crucial to put all your effort into eye-catching content that will actually help you sell. Since creating good content is one of the most important website development steps, you will need to invest both your finances and time into it. The sooner you start working on content the better. There definitely will be numerous edits until you get what you want. Don’t waste your time and make sure to be ready with the content before you start coding.
By the way, don’t forget to enrich your content with SEO keywords. However, remember that keywords are not only for search engines, but also for users. You should avoid keyword staffing and make your texts informative and useful for readers.
Step 5. Development
Finally! Here you are. Ready to start with the core website building process. Remember all those mock-ups you discussed with your designer? You will need them on this stage. Usually, the homepage is the first to come. Afterwards, you go with development of all other pages (use the sitemap you created before to follow page hierarchy). Don’t forget to implement content management system (with all its plugins) and framework. Search engine optimization is what you should also consider during the main development process. You should be ready with meta titles, meta descriptions, meta keywords and other SEO elements by this time.
Step 6. Testing, Review and Launch
Well, you’ve done a lot of work! You have created your very own website! Once everything you planned to do is done, it’s time for testing. Sure, it won’t be as exciting as the design stage or as creative a content one, but still it’s very important. Even though most likely you will find it boring (unlike other web development process steps). Everything needs to be checked and tested. Literally every single detail:
- · Text content (make sure there are no misspelled words and grammatical errors);
- · Media content (images and videos should be displayed properly);
- · Browser and device compatibility (ensure your website works properly in most commonly used browsers and on all devices);
- · HTML and CSS;
- · All kinds of forms order forms, personal info forms etc.).
Step 7. Maintenance
Website maintenance is an ongoing process. There always will be some errors and bugs that need to be fixed. There will always be improvements to make, so if you think your work is done once a website is launched, you are wrong. Creating and releasing a website is not enough – making sure everything works perfectly is more important. We would recommend adding a feedback system to your website so that users are able to report a bug or a spelling error. If needed, provide your users with support services so that their issues are handled within a short period of time.
The website development planning process requires a lot of time and effort. It’s not easy. It requires concentration and a strong understanding of what your goal is. However, be careful and a precise planning process will help you create a website that will be a success. A well-designed website is the #1 tool to speak for your brand and communicate with your customers.
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