What is the website development process?
The website development process is a series of progressive steps to create better websites. It includes the required steps to create a website from start to finish and makes it easier for the person to understand how a website should be built.
This article will help you to go through the whole website development process which you can follow yourself or with a web developer.
1. Identifying your goals
It starts with the goals that you want to achieve with your new or re-designed website. Having clear goals helps the web designer to structure your website which suits your targeted audience.
There could be different goals like selling a product online or generating leads or having a blog to generate traffic and so on.
Each business is unique in its way and only you know your business better than anyone else.
For example, let’s say you are starting a clothing business and let’s say the most profit you could make on men’s jackets, so you may want to target men who are at a certain age to sell the jackets.
A website is like having your own shop on the internet.
Here is a list of (some) questions you may ask yourself to define the goals of the website.
- Whom am I targeting?
- The people who I target, where they live?
- What age group am I targeting?
- Who would be my ideal customer?
- Am I selling my products or services locally or globally?
Once you have defined goals, you may send that data to the web developer.
We at DigitalSitara ask these questions to our clients before we start working on their projects.
2. Gathering the data
A good web developer would ask you some questions to get an idea of what you are looking for, each person and business is different and something someone likes, someone else may not like.
This data may include (not limited to) how your business works, what kind of design you are looking for, who are your competitors, and so on.
The following your web developer may ask or it is a good idea to send the following information to the web developer/designer.
- Your business competitor’s websites (links).
- The website designs that you like, these websites could be from any industry.
- The color scheme that you prefer for the new website.
- Your budget for the project.
- When do you expect this project to be completed?
This could be a good conversation starter about the project.
3. Competitor website research
Competitor website research is one of the steps of the whole process to research & analyze competitor website’s design, content, technologies they are using, UI/UX, and social media channels to find their strengths and weaknesses.
Once your website designer has the data from your side, he/she may have a look at your competitor’s websites.
This step of the website development process helps the website designer to structure your website.
A good website design doesn’t mean making everything animated.
A good website design would do everything possible to attract your visitor’s attention, and build trust and this means that it can lead to more sales compared to a cookie cutter or a badly designed website.
For example, showing the website owner’s face image would be a good idea to build trust, showing testimonials of your past clients is a good idea as well.
Here is a brilliant example.
You don’t even need to scroll or do pretty much anything to see this, once you land on the page, you see his friendly smiling face images multiple times, who he is and what he does, and how he can help you with your business.
It is a brilliant design because it answers the questions people would have, builds trust, sells services and products, and provides the information to the website visitors for free with the blog posts, all at the same time!
If you spend a bit more time without doing anything, you would see this.
So, it is good to analyze competitor websites and come up with a good website structure to build a better-designed website.
This is why a custom-made website design is important and better than a cookie cutter website or template that you can find anywhere on the internet.
4. Structuring the website design
Structuring website design means organizing the website content with multiple pages and layouts, connecting them with each other, and creating a good user interface (UI) to provide an excellent user experience (UX) to the website visitor.
At this stage, visualization happens.
This means you should be able to see the first initial version of your website in its full glory with images and colors.
The web designer would use the provided data from your side and the data he/she collected while researching your competitor(s) websites.
The web designer would choose the best possible layout for the project to create a great UI, here are some common or most used (not limited to) layouts for website designs.
1. F Layout
2. Z Layout/Zigzag Layout
3. Grid Layout
4. Full image Layout
5. Creative & Modern Layout
These are only a few examples of website layouts, the web developer would choose the most suitable layout for the project requirements.
5. Fine-tuning the design with client inputs
The changes would be made at this stage of the process, you as the client already can see the design before the actual coding happens, it becomes easier to make changes.
It is also affordable to make changes at this stage because it takes less time and resources to make changes compared to a coded design.
So, even if it is required to make more changes than whatever was agreed, it would cost less compared to making changes in the coded design.
Brainstorming also happens at this stage of the website design process, you can review the whole design, provide inputs as well as discuss it with the designer/developer for the same.
Once, the changes are finalized, the developer would send the design back to you (the client) for more input.
This stage of the process may continue until the design is fine-tuned and completed as required.
So, once this stage completes, you will have a clear idea of what will be the visual result.
6. Coding the static website design
As the design would be finalized and approved already by you, at this stage it would be converted into the actual website design that works in the web browser.
At this stage, the design will load and work fine in the web browser but it won’t be dynamic, think of it like a car that has doors, and nice colors but does not have an engine (yet) to run.
Programming would make it dynamic which is the next step of the process.
Mobile-first design refers to the technique that takes care of the mobile devices first while developing the website, this means it would be a well-optimized website for the mobile devices.
Nowadays more people use the internet on their mobile devices compared to computers and any other devices.
This means, that more and more traffic now comes from mobile devices and because of it, a well-optimized website is a must nowadays which works well on mobile devices.
7. Programming/Backend development
At this stage of the website development process, the website comes to the life.
The developer would write the necessary server-side code, and create and manage databases, integrations, and anything else needed to make the whole website dynamic.
The web developer may choose the most suitable technologies to program the website/web application.
Each project is different so there is no single language, framework, or technology that works for all projects, this would depend on the project and server requirements.
Once this stage is completed, the website should be ready for testing.
At this stage, the created website would be tested for bugs, issues, and errors as well as for security issues.
Testing makes sure that the created website is robust and secure to make it live.
Any found issues would be fixed before launching the website.
Website optimization is a process to optimize the code to make sure the website runs with the lowest resources possible.
It improves the website performance and the load speed of the website resulting in a better user experience for the visitors.
Backend optimization could be done by optimizing database queries, optimizing the code, implementing cache, and so on.
These are some of the techniques used by developers and certainly, these are not the only ones.
10. Finalizing the website development process & Launch
Once the above steps are completed, the developer would set up the website on the server for the client and make it live.
The developer would conduct a few tests on the live site to make sure that it works as expected.
Let us know your thoughts about this article in the comments!