Website Development Process: 7 Steps to Create a Website
Today digital technology is growing extremely fast, and with the advent of the internet, the world has become more digitalized than ever before. Now any kind of information is easy to find within a couple of clicks. Many people today spend most of their time on the internet reading news, watching movies, browsing social media, or making purchases online. This means that a website has become a must-have for almost any business.
A company's website is strongly associated with its products and services, so it must reflect the company's core values and identity. A quality website forms the client’s experience and helps them understand the products or services of the company better. Furthermore, a clear and well-structured website can also help to increase traffic and attract new customers. Let's learn more about the steps of web development.
What Is Website Development and Why Is It Important?
The website development process is the work that is connected with building a website. A website can be anything from a landing page with mostly text on it, to a complex web application or even a social network. Custom web development includes all the actions that are aimed at the creation, updating, and post-launch maintenance of the website.
As the digital space is constantly growing, almost any business today needs to be present on the internet. This is among the recent global trends in business. In many cases, a website is the place we encounter the company for the first time, that is why it is often associated with its products and can form our impression of the company itself. And if the potential customer's experience with using the website is negative, it can make them assume that the products of the company are not good enough as well.
Why Should Your Business Build a Website?
There is a number of reasons why you should consider creating a website for your business.
- A well-made website adds to a reputation of a trusted company.
- It can help people get more information about your business.
- Using a website you can keep the customers informed on all the changes within your company.
- It becomes possible to reach out to a bigger audience.
- It is vital for marketing and promoting your products or services.
- A website makes it easier to convert potential customers into actual clients.
- You can place your portfolio, case studies, and customer reviews there.
Building a quality website is quite a challenging task. The process of website development includes web design, content development, coding the website, dealing with security configurations, and all the other kinds of tasks. While the stages of website development can sometimes vary depending on the situation, but the overall picture mainly stays the same.
The Main Steps of a Website Development Process
In general, there are seven main website development phases:
- Research and Gathering Information
- Content Writing
- Website Development
- Testing and Deployment
- Maintenance and Updating
Let's delve deeper in each of them.
1. Research and Gathering Information
Before starting the website development process, clearing out all the details of the project and setting goals is essential. This is the project discovery phase and it is crucial for understanding how the work on the next steps should be done.
If the details are not clear from the very beginning, it will be much harder to do any proper planning, and the project can go in the wrong direction. This, in turn, can make the development process of a website stretch for longer, and use up more resources than expected but brings back fruitful results as the development team shares insights and expertise during brainstorming sessions.
In order to define the website development strategies that will work best for your project, take into consideration the main factors.
- Business Details and Goals
To achieve good results in the website development it is crucial to analyze the company's work and requirements to create a plan for future development process. It is necessary to clarify the main goal of the website.
Is it created for promoting your company's services? Selling products on a small e-commerce store or building a marketplace? Or are you just planning to share basic information about the organization? It can also be useful to define the core message that you want to communicate through your website.
- Target Audience
The next step of a proper website development process is to take a closer look at the target audience and answer some of the following questions:
- Which group of people would you like to reach in the first place?
- What are their age, gender, interests, and habits?
- What kind of information will they be looking for on your website?
- Is there any additional information that can be useful for these people?
- Are there any specific preferences?
Answering these questions will help you better understand the target audience's needs and requirements and determine the way the website should look.
It can also be a good idea to look at the company's competitors and find some ideas for inspiration, or decide what should be different on your website so that it will stand out.
One of the most pivotal website development steps is planning. This is the stage when the developers create data for the customer to judge how the website will look when it is ready. At this point, it is necessary to work on product feature prioritization and create a plan based on the information gathered in the previous step. You can use project planning tools to streamline the planning process.
- Creating a Sitemap
One of the most important things to do in the planning stage is to create a sitemap. Usually, it determines the structure of the website, the number of pages and how they should be connected, and what type of content needs to be present. This step should not be skipped, as trying to build a website without a clear plan never turns out as good as expected.
Creating a quality sitemap before starting the website development process will help to make it more user-friendly and easier to understand. However, the sitemap only shows the structure of the website, but it doesn't include the user interface. That is why creating a mockup or a wireframe allows for seeing the whole picture.
- Creating a Wireframe
Another website development phase worth mentioning is creating a wireframe. A wireframe shows the main elements of the visual interface that you are going to create. It doesn't include images, logo design, colors, etc. It only shows the main elements of the website and their location in a simplified way.
After you have created a sitemap and a wireframe, it's time to choose the tech stack that you are going to use. This includes:
- the programming language;
- web development frameworks;
- choosing a headless or traditional CMS;
- defining the website development timeline.
All the visual content of the website is usually created during the design stage. This part of the work is often shaped by the company's style, branding elements, corporate colors, and other elements specified by the client. These elements should be consistent across all the platforms where they are used: social media pages, newsletters, marketing materials, etc.
During this step of website development, the design team creates one or more prototypes of the website. The wireframes created in the previous step are transformed into elements of product or MVP design (typography, colors, images, buttons, menus, animations, and much more).
Keeping in mind the target audience and its interests is key to creating a positive user experience. The primary function of these layouts is to show the website's functionality, information structure, and visualize the content to create a complete vision of the final product.
When designing a webpage, it is important to consider the accessibility of all the content on the site, including audio and video. Automatic audio to text transcription software can be a valuable tool in this regard, as it allows website designers to provide written transcripts of audio and video content for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, or who prefer to read rather than listen to content. By considering the use of automatic audio to text transcription software when designing a webpage, website designers can create more accessible and inclusive content for all users.
The design phase usually includes a lot of communication with the client. After the designs are finished, the customer needs to review the layout and give feedback. If they are not satisfied with some of the elements, the team changes the layout and sends it back. This cycle is repeated until the customer is fully satisfied.
4. Content Writing
Once the wireframe and the concept of the website are ready, it is time to start the process of creating content for the website. Work on website content and design is often performed simultaneously so that the resulting picture can be more integral.
Content is one of the most valuable aspects of the website. At this step, it is necessary to put into writing the main message you want to convey and communicate to the visitors of the website.
Content has two essential purposes:
- It increases the engagement of the audience
It is really important to have quality content on the website because it can engage the readers and drive them to take target actions. To make sure the content is engaging, create catching headlines, edit the texts in a way that they are easier to read, and add calls to action.
- Content is important for SEO promotion
Content also influences the site's visibility in search engines. This is why search engine optimization, or SEO, should be taken into account while creating content for a website. To make the website easier to find by the search engines, the content should be readable, informative, and rich in relevant keywords.
5. Website Development
Another vital part of the website development process is the building of the website itself. Many companies turn to third-party outsourcing providers for web development services. The graphic elements that have been created in the previous website development steps now need to be converted into a real website. Usually, the home page is built first, followed by the rest of the pages, according to the sitemap that was out together before.
After that, all the static elements of the website need to be created and tested. Then, add extra features and interactive elements. During this website development phase, it is crucial to have a deep understanding of all the technologies that you're going to use.
The website development process includes two elements: frontend and backend development.
- Front-end Development
Front-end development deals with building the client-side of the website, that users can interact with. The designs that have been created in the previous website development stages are turned into elements of the website, animations, and interactive effects. The frontend development team integrates all the necessary functions and makes sure that the website is responsive, user-friendly, and works well on all kinds of devices.
- Back-end Development
Back-end development sets up the interaction between the user-side and server-side of the website. The back-end developers are responsible for the business logic, database management, working with the server, and other tasks, according to the objectives of the website.
6. Testing and Deployment
Testing is one of the unmissable stages of the website development process as well. There should be a series of tests to eliminate the possible bugs in the built MVP. The quality assurance team needs to check all the links, forms, scripts, etc. Also, it is necessary to make sure that the site is functioning correctly and smoothly, to check its usability, compatibility, and performance.
When the QA testing is finished, the development team may need to fix the problems on the website, and probably add some extra details to optimize the functionality and performance of the website.
After the website has been thoroughly tested and checked, and the quality assurance team gave its approval, it is time to upload the data to the server. When all the files have been uploaded, make another, final test, in order to make sure that everything works correctly.
7. Post-Launch Maintenance and Updates
When the website is deployed and you passed the MVP launch threshold, the work on it doesn't stop. You can expand it to a greater extent with more features and capabilities.
As the business grows, it may be necessary to update the information, and add more pages or new features to the website. It can be useful to test the MVP, collect user feedback, and update the website based on this information.
Maintenance of the website usually includes:
- editing the existing content;
- adding new content;
- fixing bugs and errors;
- site backups;
- installing plugins.
Regular maintenance allows for keeping in touch with the users and keeping your website up-to-date. This can also prevent bugs and decrease security risks.
Final Thoughts on the Website Creation Process
Website development is not limited to the website creation itself. The website development process includes many essential steps, and each of them is equally important to ensure good results. Following these website development steps will help you understand how things should be done, stay aware of the progress, and avoid a lot of problems that can occur due to poor management. Only with thorough preparation is it possible to be sure that everything goes as planned, and the result is going to be as good as expected.
If you have an idea for a website but are still not sure how to start, you can contact our experts, and they will be happy to assist. Upsilon provides professional services for early-stage startups and team augmentation services for growing businesses. Furthermore, we have sprint-based pricing and are flexible about various collaboration types, so don't be shy to reach out and discuss your project!