When it comes to custom website designing and development, there are various steps from initial information to maintenance and updating website from time to time. It is also true that the steps may differ from designer to designer, some basics remains the same. They are-
1. Information Gathering 2. Planning 3. Design 4. Development 5. Testing and Delivery 6. Maintenance
Phase One: Gathering Information
Information is the most important point while designing a successful website. That’s why it tops the list of the process. Gathering information comes in the front when it comes to building a successful website. The question that needs to be answered is- what is the company for, what does the company do or offer and all understanding of the company. The goals and objectives of the company should be clear so that the web design can help achieve those goals.
The best way to gather information is by asking questions and getting to understand the business and its needs from the website. Ask about the purpose, goals, who is the target audience, what are the content requirements for a particular product or service.
Phase Two: Planning
All the information collected in the phase one should be used in planning for the website design. Phase two is all about site map development. Site map is all about the list of all the main topics and sub topics and the content that will be in the site which is important in navigation.
The most important person here is the user or the visitor who is indeed the customer. He should be kept in mind while designing the site after all they are the ones who are going to buy the products you sell. A good navigation and interface is what makes users like your website and comeback.
Your designer will help you with all your queries of technologies that will be implemented, elements that would be used such as WordPress, CMS and so on.
Phase Three: Design
Once the content and framework has been taken care of, it’s time to take the creative side. What will the website look like? This will completely depend on the target audience. Are you targeting working professionals, teenagers, women, men, girls, boys or some other people, the target audience will determine what the site will look like? Also, it will depend on the products you are selling. In this process however, the company’s identity should be well maintained. Don’t worry, the designer will keep you in the loop with everything he’s planning. Communication mode here is generally emailing. You can view the whole project whenever you want and make changes if you wish to. Communication here is the key. As much as it is important that your website looks good, it is also important that your website stays true to its nature. When you are final with the design, then begins the development process.
Phase Four: Development
This is the stage of website creation. This is the process which starts from development of front page, followed by the interior pages. This is the phase of shell for the interior pages and it is like template of your website for all content pages. It also contains the navigational structure of the website. After the shell creation, the content is structured and added to the whole site wherever it needs to be added.
Your designer will let it available for viewing your site which ensures that it is open for suggestions, corrections or changes which could be made.
With a good understanding of front end and back end, the development company maximizes the functionality, and accessibility as per the need of the audience. Once the CMS is sorted, then comes the testing.
Phase Five: Testing and Delivery
When the whole coding is done and website development is in final stage or is almost ready, the website designer will test the website. The testing includes, compatibility across different browsers, functionality and interface.
In this process half of the work becomes easy if the web designer is well versed with the latest trends, knowledge and standards of website designing. Validation of codes, cross-browser compatibility etc. is all considered under the current standards.
When the website is approved from all relevant people, then comes the important part- launching. FTP, File Transfer Protocol is used in uploading website to the server. When it comes to hosting and domain names, either the designers offer it or recommend hosting provider to you for your site. Once the website is uploaded on the server, for precautions, there will be one last run to check whether all files, images are uploaded or not.
Some other details such as plugin installation for CMS or WordPress websites and not to forget the SEO for keywords for higher ranking on the search engines are also to be kept in mind. There are many options when it comes to optimizing sites for search engines because having a website makes no sense if people are not able to find it. the final step then is launching.
Phase Six: Maintenance
If you think launching website is the final step, well it is not. The actual test of a site comes when the traffic is increased on the site. How the site behaves in such cases, how often do you expect your visitors to come back and so on. And if you want the visitors to come back, you will need to give them new content which all comes under the maintenance part. However, if you wish to change the content yourself, CMS is for your rescue. While some people make changes on their own, other buy maintenance packages from the designers for time to time changes in the websites.
If you choose to change the content yourself, make sure that you still ask your designer for time to time updating, bug fixes, security check for vulnerabilities and threats. Other maintenance things includes site and code backups, framework updates, any additional plugins installation or WordPress upgrades.
Bonus Point- update your website with informative content often, you will get traffic on your website in no time over a period of time.