Website development steps
A Web development process is a documented outline of the steps needed to be taken from start to finish in order to complete a typical Web design project. Any software development project, a methodology should be followed to ensure project consistency and completeness.
Step 1. Gathering Information: Purpose, Main Goals, and Target Audience:
This is the basic beginning stage of discovering and researching, to determine how the subsequent steps will look like. The most important task at this point is to get the clear understanding of your future website purposes, the main goals you wish to get, and the target audience you want to attract to your site. Such kind of a website development questionnaire helps to develop the best strategy for further project management and accomplish the task on planned time.
Different types of websites provide visitors with different functionality which means that different technologies should be used according to the purposes. A well described and detailed plan made on the basis of this pre-development data can protect you from spending extra resources on solving the unexpected issues such as design changing or adding the functionality that wasn’t initially planned.
Step 2. Planning: In this step of website development cycle, the developer creates the data that can give to a customer an opportunity to judge how the entire site will look like.
On the basis of the information that was gathered together in the previous phase, the sitemap is created.
The sitemap should describe the relations between the main areas of your website. This helps to understand how usable the final product will be.
It can show you the “relationship” between the different pages of a website, so that it will be easy for the end-user to find the required information or service if he starts from the main page.
The main reason behind the sitemap creation is to build a user-friendly and easy to navigate website.
The sitemap allows you to understand how the inner structure of a website looks like.
Before you start to code or even work on a design, it is necessary to get approval from a customer that everything looks fine so you can begin the next phase of developing.
Step 3. Design: Page Layouts
During the design phase, all the visual content, such as images, photos, and videos are created. Once again, all the info that was gathered through the first phase is crucial. The customer and target audience must be considered while you work on a design.
Website layout can be a graphic sketch or an actual graphic design. The primary function of the layout is to represent the information structure, visualize the content, and demonstrate the basic functional. Layouts contain colors, logos, images and can give a general understanding of the future product.
After that, the customer can review the layout and send you his feedback. If the client is not sure about some aspects of your design, you should change the layout and send it back to him. This cycle should be repeated until the customer is completely satisfied.
Step 4. Content Writing and Assembly
Content writing and compiling usually overlaps with other stages of website creation, and its role can’t be underestimated. In this step, it is necessary to put in writing the very essence you’d like to communicate to the audience of your website, and add calls-to-action. Content writing involves also creation of catching headlines, text editing, writing new text, compiling the existing text, etc. and which takes time and effort. As a rule, the client undertakes to provide website content ready to migrate to the site. It is better when all website content is provided before or during website coding.
Step 5. Coding
In this step, you can finally start creating the website itself. Graphic elements that have been designed during the previous stages should be used to create an actual website. Usually, the home page is created first, and then all sub-pages are added, according to the website hierarchy that was previously created in the form of a sitemap.
All static web page elements that were designed during the mock-up and layout creation should be created and tested. Then, special features and interactivity should be added.
A deep understanding of every website development technology that you’re going to use is crucial at this phase.
When you use CMS (Content Management System) for site creation, you can also install CMS plugins at this step if there’s a need. The other important step is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is the optimization of website elements ( e.g., title, description, keyword) that can help your site achieve higher rankings in the search engines. And, once again, valid code is pretty important for SEO.
Step 6. Testing, Review and Launch
Testing is probably the most repetitive part of a process. Every single link should be tested to make sure that there are no broken bones among them. You should check every form, every script; run spell-checking software to find possible typos. Use code validators to check if your code follows the current web standards. Valid code is necessary, for example, if cross-browser compatibility is very important things.
After you check and re-check your website, it’s time to upload it to a server. One of most important tool called FTP (File Transfer Protocol) software is used for uploading locally developed web application or website to the remote server to publish it online. After you deployed the files, you should run a final test to make sure that all your files have been uploaded correctly.
Step 7. Maintenance: Monitoring and Regular Updating
What’s important to remember is that a website is more a service than a product. It’s not enough to “deliver” a website to a user. You should also make sure that everything works fine, and everybody is satisfied and always be prepared to make changes in another case.
Feedback system added to the site will allow you to detect possible problems the end-users face. The highest priority task in this case is to fix the problem as fast as you can. If you won’t, you may find one day that your users prefer to use another website rather than put up with the inconvenience.
The other important thing is keeping your website up to date. If you use a CMS, regular updates will prevent you from bugs and decrease security risks.