A website project is not only a work of art, it's a carefully crafted product customized for the exact purposes of the website owner to showcase products, services or brand. There are numerous steps in the website design and development process.
Note: there is an updated article with much more details, please make sure you check out our website development strategy article.
Many things need to be taken into consideration when designing a website, that's why in the beginning is good to sit down with all the persons involved and discuss as many issues as you can. This means that if the usage and operation of the website involves sales, inventory management, and accounting then all these departments should be involved in the whole process. Knowing the purpose, goals, the target audience and the kind of content of the site, will help the software service provider to understand the client needs and make the best decisions. For this you should consider some aspects:
What is the purpose of the site? What defines your bsuiness and how do you wnat to represent it on the website? What kind of website will it be: an online store, corporate blog, portfolio... ?
What do you want to achieve by building this website? The most common goals are either to share information or make money.
Is there a specific group of people that will help you reach your goals? It is helpful to picture the “ideal” person you want to visit your web site. Consider their age, sex or interests – this will help to determine the best design style for the website.
What your target audience will be looking for on your site? What appeals to their needs and desires? Are they looking for specific information, service or product…?
With the information gathered the designer team will create a sitemap of the website – a list of all main subject areas of the site, as well as sub-subjects. Sitemap is essential to develop the site and will help to understand better the navigation system.
Also in this phase will be decided which features and technologies will be implemented in the website - interactive forms, parallax animation, search engine, discount features, social media feed, etc.
In this phase, communication is crucial to guarantee that the final website will match the needs of the client. The designer and the client will work together, exchanging ideas, until they arrive at the final design for the site. Once the final design of the website is approved, the developers can start working.
Various testing sessions will happen at the end of this stage to ensure the quality of the final work. The team will test things such as the complete functionality of forms or other scripts, test for last minute compatibility issues (viewing differences between different web browsers), ensuring that the site is optimized to be viewed properly in the most recent browser versions.
The proper documentation and backend admin are handed over to the customer. On-site training sessions can be held according to the details and requirements set in the project's contract.
Launching a website is a first step in the long process to promote your services, products or brand. Social media and online communities are great sources to generate inbound traffic, improve conversion rate, better SEO ranking, brand awareness, etc.
Creating and launching a new website is a big accomplishment. There are countless hours that go into designing, coding, reviewing, testing, and publishing a website. Once you’ve built a great website, keep the momentum going. Devote resources to regular maintenance, and check in with visitors regularly to identify areas for improvement.