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21 September 2015

7 Web Development Steps to Design the Perfect Website

7 Web Development Steps to Design the Perfect Website
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By Manmeet Anand

Web Development Steps

The overall impression of a website depends on the quality of its design. Whether the users are impressed or not upon visiting the site depends on its layout and visuals. This makes the web development stage one of the most important in creating a successful online presence.

Every web development project has to go through certain steps that take the project from initiation to completion. The web development steps divide the project into easily manageable phases. Although the exact phase of the web development process varies slightly, the most basic steps remain the same.

Below are 5 essential stages of the design process that will help you understand how a website is designed and developed on a professional scale.

Step 1: Project Planning

Project planning refers to determining the overall goals and objectives of the web development project. This is arguably the most important stage in the entire project. It is further divided into the following five parts.

  1. Requirement Assessment – Requirement assessment refers to finding out the precise requirements of the website. This includes determining the target audience, website goals, detailed features, and other similar information about the website.
  2. Project Summary – The project summary sums up the website’s requirements. The document is typically concise and serves as a reference point throughout the web development process.
  3. Determining Required Resources – The project planning stage also defines the software and other resource requirements for the website project. In this step, any 3rd party media needs are identified. All of the resource requirements are then added to the budget of the project.
  4. Key performance goals – The website planning stage also involves determining key performance goals. Project deadlines, budgeted costs, and page speed are some of the website design and development goals that are set at this stage.
  5. Competitor Analysis – Finally, this stage also involves conducting a competitor analysis. Which are the rival businesses of your website? How many visitors will visit the website? What will be their bounce rate? Other important things that are considered at this stage include visual branding, call to action, navigation, and layout.

Step 2: Determining Project Scope

The next stage of the design process includes determining project scope. Creating a well define scope of the project will help in ensuring that the website project ends on time and within the specified budget. One of the best ways to delineate scope of the project is through a Gantt chart.

A Gantt chart offers a visual reference of the project. The chart shows activities involved in the project. It also shows the timeframe for the completion of each stage. It helps in specifying scope of the project. Moreover, it also creates accountability between the website design team.

Step 3: Website Design

The next critical stage of the website design process is designing the website itself. In this stage, the website development team focuses on selecting the theme, color, layout, features, and other aspects of the website.

During this stage the website designers incorporate various elements such as company logo, color that strengthens brand identity, a theme that reflects the company’s product portfolio, and layout that is elegant and looks appealing.

The website designer will create one or more prototype designs for the website. This is then sent to the website owners through email with the mock-ups of the website.

Step 4: Website Development

In this web development stage, the website development team takes individual elements of the website and uses them to create a functional website. The stage involves developing a home page after which a “shell” is created for the interior pages.

The shell contains navigational structure and site layout without the web content. Once the website owner provides the content, it is distributed throughout the site in the specified areas.

On the technical side, the website development process includes elements such as designing interactive contact forms, implementing payment gateways, and choosing a CMS (content management system) such as WordPress, Joomla, and Magento.

Step 5: Website Testing and Deployment

The fifth and final stage of the website is the testing and deployment process. In this stage, the website designer adds final touches to the site and tests the website before deployment. The designer will test the complete functionality of the site to ensure that it runs smoothly without any glitch.

The website designer will test the scripts and forums, ensure that the site displays well on different devices and platforms, verify internal links, and other similar tasks.

The website designer will also validate the website codes to ensure that it meets the latest website standards. This ensures that the website performs smoothly without any issues and problems.

The website is then shown to its owners to obtain final approval of the site. After the final approval, it’s time to deliver the site. The web design team will upload the site on a hosting server specified and selected by the website owner using an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program.

After the website has been uploaded to the hosting server, a final run through is conducted to ensure that the site performs without any problem. This step is performed just to validate that all the files have been uploaded correctly, and that the site is fully functional.

Finally, the website design team adds finer details to the website to optimize its functionality and performance like plug in installation, on page SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and page speed optimization.

On a final note, you should know that the web development process takes a lot of time and effort. Designing a visually appealing website that stands out from the competition is an uphill task. But the rewards are certainly greater than the effort, cost, and time required to craft a beautiful website.

Step 6: Content Creation

Content is one of the most important aspects of a website. Two fundamental aspects of website content are—driving engagement and search engine optimization (SEO).

Since content engages readers and promotes them to take action; therefore the style of content writing is important.

Writers should avoid long and lifeless content, which fail to attract visitors’ attention. And instead, they should write interesting, short and to-the-point content not only to grab the attention of visitors but also to prompt them to click through the other pages. If your pages need large content, then structure the content into small paragraphs, and supplement those with visuals to make it interesting for the visitors to engage.

It is also the content that plays the most important role in boosting the visibility of a website in search engine results. Search engines easily find websites with content, which are well-structured, informative and are rich in keywords. So, write your website’s content with rich keywords for better Search Engine Optimization.

Step 7: Visuals

In website design, images play a very important role. Images have a lot to do on websites. In addition to giving websites a professional look and feel, images also help in building trust for your brand.

Images make texts on websites easier to understand and also strengthen the appeal of the texts. Appropriate images help a lot in conveying the underlying messages in the texts.

Content with images is known to engage more visitors, increase the number of clicks and hence boost the revenue.

But, do not use large images that slow down your website. Use a tool, such as Optimizilla to compress the large images to restrict website slowdowns.

So, use the right images to appeal as well as communicate with the visitors of your website.