By David Adress
President, Bitochon Technologies
There are numerous steps in a website development and design process. It requires the accumulation of information, creation of the website and finally, maintenance to keep the website current and up-to-date. There are six basic steps that need to be followed:
- Information Gathering
- Testing and Delivery
1. Information Gathering
The very first step in the web design process is to note down as much info about the website as possible. There are many things that need to be considered for the look and feel of the website. This step is a very important one because it requires an excellent understanding of the company/business it is being made for. You need to understand the goals of the company and what they want to accomplish with their website.
Your website designer needs to start with questions, lots of them. This is the only way to understand the company/business and their requirements. For example, some of the questions can be:
- What purpose will the website serve? Do you want your website to be informative? Does it promote a service or sell a product?
- Do you want the website to be a source of income or just to share information about your services/products?
- Do you want the website to target a specific audience or does it have to cater to a worldwide audience? Do you have a specific demographic in mind? This will help your designer to determine the best design style for the website.
- What kind of information will you be having on your website? Will the visitors be looking for specific services, products or online ordering?
These are important questions that will help your designer to come up with the perfect design, color combinations and style for the website.
Once you have gathered the information from the first step, it is time to go to the second step of the website development process. This step requires the making of the site map. The site map is the list of all the main headlines of the site and the sub-headings. This will help you note down each and every content that is to come on the website, something that makes website navigation easy to understand. Easy navigation is essential for a website as it allows the visitors to find their way through a site, and locate desired information easily. After all, these are the people who will be visiting and learning about your business/product. The easier you make it for them the more interested they will be, converting them from potential customers to paying customers.
This is also the stage when your web designer will help you decide which technologies are to be used for website development. Depending on the type of website and what you want it to accomplish, you will need different elements such as:
- Interactive Forms
- Ecommerce Shopping Cart
- Content Management Systems (CMS)
- User Side Coding
- Server Side Coding
3. Web Design
Now comes the part of determining the look & feel of the website. The most important thing to keep in mind here are the target audience. For example, if your website is aimed towards senior citizens then the visuals are going to be different when compared to one meant for teenagers. Also, if your site is for a restaurant then it is going to be designed differently from one that is being made for an educational institute.
It is part of the design phase to come up with the company logo and the colors that will define your business’ identity. The designer will create more than one web designs; these will be the prototypes, which are usually ‘.jpg’ images of what the final product will look like. You can follow your website’s design process in two ways,
- Have the designer send you an email with the website mock-ups,
- By giving you a secured access to an area of their website meant specifically for you to view the design process.
Communication between you and the design team is crucial for the success of your website. No matter which way the design process you get to view, the important thing to remember is that this gives you the opportunity to stay up-to-date with the progress, by giving feedback on what you like and dislike. It is easier (and better) to make changes during this step because it gets very difficult and time consuming to ask for changes once the web design has been completed.
This is the step where the website itself is created and the web developer steps in. All the visual graphic elements that were created by the web designer will now be taken and used to create a functional website. The first step within the development phase is the creation of the Home Page. This is the most important page of your website as it is the doorway to your business/company. It is through here that the visitors will enter and browse your site.
Next comes the creation of the ‘shell’. This serves as the base for your interior pages as all of them will follow the same design template. The shell is the main navigational structure of your website and once it has been created, all the content will be distributed at their appropriate places throughout the site.
All ecommerce shopping carts, HTML5/Flash animations, forms and valid XHTML/CSS codes will be made and implemented during this step. This also helps catch errors/bugs early on, allowing the developer to debug them.
At this stage, the web developer tests your websites functionality and looks at any final details that may need to be added. All the scripts and forms will be tested thoroughly for any compatibility issues on different web browsers and operating systems. Also keep in mind that the website must meet the latest standards of website development and design.
Make sure to give your website a good test-drive. Check every nook and corner of its functionality to ensure that it is bug free. Once you have done that, it is time for the final approval and for the website to be delivered to a server. A File Transfer Protocol (FTP) program uploads the website to the server. Give your website another test run, this ensures that all the files have been uploaded successfully and that the website is functioning properly.
Congratulations! You just launched your website to the World Wide Web!
6. Maintenance & Updates
The main development steps are done. Now comes the part where you have to keep your website running to ensure that visitors come to your site on a regular basis. You will need things such as:
- New Content
- New Products
- Product Deals
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Content Management System (CMS)
These will encourage/enable the users to visit your site on a regular basis. If your business is located in New York then a good way to do that would be to hire a firm that offers website development in New York. The better your internet marketing strategy is, the better your website will perform in terms of getting regular visitors and generating leads and customers.
These 6 steps are the basis of all website design and development that takes place throughout the world. If you are looking for a web developer/designer then you need to keep these steps in mind to ensure that your website is as awesome as it deserves to be!