To successfully create a website that fulfills your goals, a thorough web design and development process is required. Each web design company may have their own preferences to steps in the process, while some on the other hand may not have any. Just keep in mind that the more the web company knows about your business the better position they are in to make suggestions.
With over a decade of website designing experience, I have outlined below a basic step-by-step procedure that has resulted both in achieving client's objectives and creating many award winning sites. Following a process in creating a website will make it less complicated for all parties involved and because of it, both time and money is saved.
Step 1 – Preparation
Prior to creating, designing or even layout, it's important, at a minimum, to describe the following:
Who is your target market?
Why would readers visit your site?
How knowledgeable are your visitors about the subject?
What are your website's goals/objectives? Both short and long term.
What are your competitors doing and how effective are their websites?
What kind of impression are you trying to portray to your visitors?
Feedback from coworkers, clients and website visitors from an existing website may also shed light on current issues, successes and failures.
Step 2 – Strategy Development
Collect, analyze and share this information with your web team. This step is more strategic in nature; general ideas, concepts and features are discussed on how to achieve the goals/objectives and issues outlined above.
Step 3 – Creative
Now that the web team has an understanding of your business, goals and the agreed upon strategy, layout concepts and website content can be developed. Once content is confirmed, the web firm constructs and organizes website layout and sitemap, creates any functionality specifications and schematics. The design team takes all this information and puts together design concepts.
Step 4 – Production
Once design concepts are completed and approved, the next step is the technical development process. This is the stage where web developers take the creative files, website content and images and converts it to code for internet compatibility. Any other site features are also programmed and integrated.
Step 5 – Staging
The completed website is typically placed on a staging or demo server for review before making it live. The importance of a company's website must not be undervalued. It's at the point where the website is live that most people think the web design is completed and can leave it till the next re-design. That's a big mistake.
It's crucial to collect visitor's feedback, look at website statistics, analytics and determine successes, failures, opportunities and threats in comparison with the old website. Does your new website achieve its original objectives? The time you spend in the planning stages of your website will ensure a smooth, clear and efficient end result.