Building a website is a bit like building a house. The type of house or website you want to build determines the building process. To build your digital infrastructure, the website development process goes through 4-stages of work.
Find out what to expect when working with your website development team over the course of your website project. Learn about the work involved in each stage of creation, and how you can help make sure your website best serves your needs.
4 Phases of the Website Development Process
In order to derive the optimum use from your website, you need to identify the audience you wish to reach and the intended conversion you hope to elicit. For example, an e-commerce website has different functionality needs than that of an online publication or magazine.
Development Phase 1: Planning Your Website
The first phase of your website project involves all the preliminary planning needed for the end-goal of establishing a sitemap. The planning stage serves to help identify your website’s target audience, functionality requirements, branding and design standards, and user-interface (UI) specifications.
Explore websites that offer a similar service to that of your own, and identify websites that feature elements you want on your website. The more specific you get with what you want on your website, the better.
Also, take a look at your competitor’s websites for elements that they are lacking. You can easily capitalize on your competition shortcoming by being preemptive with your website plan.
Does your company have branding standards? Continuity, across all your website landing pages and digital channels helps your audience identify with your brand. Phase-1 of planning your website includes deciding on a color pallet, typography standards, and logo design.
These brand standards remain constant – from your website and social media to your business cards and newsletters.
Creating a Sitemap
Phase-1 of the website development process culminates in approving your sitemap. The sitemap specifies each landing page users will interact with on your website. It visually represents the navigation options featured from the top menu of your website.
Your sitemap looks like a bubble-map, with the homepage in the center bubble, and the main landing pages branching out from the homepage. Your sitemap represents the foundation of your website.
Once you are happy with the website pages featured on your sitemap, it’s time to move into phase-2, in which you compile the content.
Assembling Website Content
Using the sitemap as your guide-post, the next step of the process is dedicated to assembling all of the content you plan to feature. Each page of your website needs text and photography. Text is essential for communicating with your audience, and photography is crucial to grabbing the attention of your website visitors.
Depending on the nature of your website, you may need more of one or the other. In this phase of the website development process, you work with your development to identify the content requirements for each site page. This might include special functions, custom page elements, and more.
When the content requirements for each sitemap page are satisfied, the project moves into the design phase.
Development Phase 2: Website Design and Coding
Your website development process goes into full-throttle in the design phase. Your designer uses the content supplied to create a custom website design. The design of your website affects the experience of users as much as the functionality.
The design phase goes through two rounds of revisions. After receiving version-1 of your website design, you get a chance to compile a list of any changes you would like to see. The designer makes the revisions and submits version-2 back to you for approval.
If there are any lingering issues in the design, you can submit a second round of revisions to the designer. Once you approve the second-round of design revisions, the project moves into coding.
Coding the Website
Phase-2 of the development of your website focuses on bringing the design to life. Using the design that you approved, your programmers code-up each page of your website. This is the stage that separates full-stack developers from front end developers.
DOJO Creative only hires full-stack developers, who can code websites on the front and back end. Think of it, as the difference between someone who builds a home from scratch, and someone who installs a manufactured home.
Our full-stack developers custom-build your website, based on the needs you have expressed. Your website is functional, versatile, and customizable upon final delivery.
Development Phase 3: Website Revisions and Testing
But, before you can go-live with your website, the test-site goes into revisions. After you receive your website test-link, go through each page to make note of any elements that you want to be revised. Like the design phase, the revision phase culminates with your approval of the finished product.
Development Phase 4: Website Go-live and Training
Now you have a shiny new website and it’s time to move it into its new home. Thus far, the website exists on a test server, and it must move to your host-server before going live. The final step to the website development process is to teach you how to use your new site.
You communicate with the team to set up a 2 to 3-hour window in which you learn how to use the administrative functions of your new website. But, don’t worry – you get several weeks of check-up monitoring from your development team to be sure you are comfortable and confident at the helm.
How Long Does the Process Take?
The time in which it takes, to bring the project through all 4-phases is largely up to you – the client. On the quick-end, the website development process can go from start to finish in as little as three to four months. If you end up hitting roadblocks along the way, it takes longer.
How to Keep the Process Moving
The first possible hold-up is in gathering content for the project. Maybe you have content ready-and-waiting, or maybe you have to create it from scratch. When you send content over to your development team, the process moves forward.
Design revisions and coding revisions are the other spots in which the project can hit a road-bump – depending on the complexity of the site and how many cooks are in the kitchen. If your revisions are concise and timely, the process keeps moving.
The process of developing a website is cooperative between the client and the development team. In the end, a well-made website is worth its weight in gold, compared to a quick-and-cheap website. By the end of the website development process, there is no doubt that you are receiving a website that is specific and customized to your businesses needs.
For more information on the website development process or to get a quote, contact DOJO Creative at (574) 276-4998. And, check out our blog for the most recent articles and resources.