The 7 Steps of Web Development
Businesses are now taking a modern approach to keep up with the demands of the customers. Back in the day, entrepreneurs needed to have a physical store to showcase their products and services. Nowadays, websites are starting to take the place of physical stores, as it allows businesses to stay open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, enabling customers to know the brand, interact with it and purchase from the website whenever they want to.
In order to compete with the demands of modern business, it is not enough for businesses to be acquainted with websites: businesses have to build and maintain websites. This is where web development comes in.
Businesses need to create well-structured websites that attract their target audience, allowing them to understand what their products and services are and what their company stands for. This is accomplished by including all the elements of a website that will help the business accomplish their goals.
Although the process of creating a website is complex and lengthy, it can be summarised into 7 steps. Today, we will discuss in detail what it takes to create a comprehensive and well-developed website.
I. Gather all essential information needed to develop the website. This is the stage where the web developer, in close cooperation with the clients or business partners, will determine the information that is needed to build the website. Several questions are given to the clients and answers must be collected by the web developer. The questions will include things such as the purpose of the website and what the clients want to achieve through it.
- What is the website for?
- Is it intended to sell products or services, give information, or entertain the target audience?
- What does the client want their audience to do or discover on the website?
- Does the website need to showcase the voice of the brand or is it part of a marketing strategy that showcases its passion and main purpose?
- Are there any competitor websites from which they can get inspiration from?
By answering these questions, the client and web developer can identify their target audience, create an outline of the strategy for their creative work, analyse their competitors and manifest the qualities of the brand or business.
II. Planning the sitemap and wireframes. After collecting all data assembled from step one, the web developer can start planning the sitemap. The sitemap will show you the structure of your website without the user interface (UI). If the client wants to see a visual representation of the website with the UI, the web developer will create the wireframes, which contains the basic elements that are included in the website.
III. Creating the web design and layout. At this stage, all the visual elements and content of the website are created. The web design includes the branding of the business, content and data structure, as well as the functionality that makes it appealing to its target audience.
As soon as the first draft is complete, it must be shown to the client. The client will send feedback and some elements of the website may be changed according to their preference. This procedure must be repeated until the client is happy with the website.
In order for the website to be pleasing to its audience, it must be aesthetically attractive and user friendly. No little detail must be left behind, not even the shadows of the graphics or the colours of the click buttons.
To create a pleasing web design, web developers usually make use of visual style guides, moodboards or software such as Photoshop, Sketch and Illustrator.
IV. Website content. This is the stage where content about the client or brand to be conveyed to their target audience is generated, inviting them to do something on their website by putting calls of action throughout the web pages. This includes creating captivating headlines, informative or relevant blogs and other types of content that the target audience would love. The completion of all website content is best provided before the coding is commenced.
Creating content is important because it encourages the target audience to take the action that will satisfy the client’s website objectives or goals. Second, it is required in search engine optimisation, the process of improving the ranking of the website in the search engines with regards to specific keywords or key phrases.
V. Coding. This is the stage when the developers start creating the website itself, including the visual elements, content, graphic components, home page, sub pages and others. A content management system is often utilised to create, manage or modify the content.
VI. Website testing and deployment. This is the stage where the web developers will finalise the website and set it up for testing. This is needed to make sure the website works as it should be. As always, the website must be reviewed by the client and modified by the web developers until the client is fully satisfied with it. Various tests (compatibility test, functionality test, performance test, usability test, etc.) are also run to accuracy of the website and ensure that no issues or bugs are present. If the client is happy with everything and web developers have thoroughly checked the website, it will be deployed by using a File Transfer Protocol program.
VII. Website updates and maintenance. Regularly updating the website and maintaining it will ensure that it works properly. Upon deploying the website, the website may receive feedback from the target audience or the client itself. If this is the case, the website must be modified to address their feedback. Aside from that, this is the stage where the web developers will give the source code and project archives to the client.