There are numerous steps in the web site design and development process. From gathering initial information, to the creation of your web site and finally to maintenance to keep your web site up to date and current. The exact process will vary slightly with each website we create but the basics are generally the same.
Phase 1 - Information Gathering
The first step in designing a successful web site is to collect information. Many things need to be taken into consideration when the look and feel of your site is created.
This first step is actually the most important one, as it involves a solid understanding of the company it is created for.
It involves a good understanding of the person the website is for, what their business goals are and how the web can be utilized to help you achieve those goals.
Certain things to consider are:
- Purpose - What is the purpose of the site?
- Goals - What do you hope to accomplish by building this web site?
- Target Audience - Is there a specific group of people that will help you reach your goals?
- Content - What kind of information will the target audience be looking for on your site?
Phase 2 - Planning & Preperation
Using the information gathered from the first phase, it is time to put together a plan for your web site.
This is the point where we develop a site map.
The site map is a list of all main topic areas of the site, as well as sub-topics and pages. This serves as a guide as to what content will be on the site, and is essential to developing a consistent, easy to understand navigational system.
The end-user of the web site (your customers & clients) must be kept in mind when designing your site. These are, after all, the people who will be learning about your service or buying your product.
A good user interface creates an easy to navigate web site, and is the basis for this.
During the planning phase we will also help you decide what technologies should be implemented.
Elements such as interactive forms, e commerce, newsletters capturemodules, are all discussed when planning your web site.
Phase 3 - Design & Development
Target audience is one of the key factors taken into consideration
A site aimed at teenagers, for example, will look much different than a corporate business website.
As part of the design phase, it is also important to incorporate elements such as the company logo or colors to help strengthen the identity of your company on the web site.
In this phase, communication between us is crucial to ensure that the final web site will match your needs and taste.
It is important that you work closely with us, exchanging ideas, until you arrive at the final design for your web site.
The developmental stage is the point where the web site itself is created
This is typically done by first developing the home page, followed by a “shell” for the interior pages. The shell serves as a template for the content pages of your site, as it contains the main navigational structure for the web site.
Once the shell has been created, we will take your content and distribute it throughout the site, in the appropriate areas.
Elements such as interactive contact forms, Blogs or ecommerce shopping carts are implemented and made functional during this phase, as well. At this point we will make your site available to view on a test server to take a look around.
Phase 4 - Testing, Tests & more testingAt this point, we will attend to the final details and test your web site thouroughly. We'll test things such as the complete functionality of forms or responsive web design, as well last testing for last minute compatibility issues (viewing differences between different web browsers), ensuring that your web site is optimized to be viewed properly in the most recent browser versions.
We are well versed in current standards for web site design and development - The basic technologies currently used are HTML5, CSS3, PHP & jQuery.
Once you give us the final approval, it is time to deliver the site, we'll upload the web site files to your domain & server and test everything one last time.
This marks the official launch of your site, as it is now viewable to the public.
Phase 5 - SEO & ongoing maintenance
The development of your web site is not necessarily over, though. One way to bring repeat visitors to your site is to offer new content or products on a regular basis.
We will be more than happy to continue working together with you, to update the information on your web site & offer maintenance packages at reduced rates, based on how often you anticipate making changes or additions to your web site.
Most sites we build use theCMS - Content Management System, so you can make changes and additions yourself, though we too understand that this may be a little daunting for some.
Our maintenance packages are designed to give you peace of mind that your website stays up to date, both in content and in software terms, leaving you to get on with running your own business.
Other maintenance type items include SEO (Search Engine Optimization) & SEM (Search Engine Marketing).
This is the optimization of you web site with elements such as title, description and keyword tags which help your web site achieve higher rankings in the search engines.The previously mentioned code validation is something that plays a vital role in SEO, as well.
There are a lot of details involved in optimizing and submitting your web site to the search engines – enough to warrant it’s own page.
This is a very important step, because even though you now have a web site, you need to make sure that your users, customer and clients can find it!