1 – Plan
This is the most important stage in creating your website. Starting off with a good understanding of how the web can be utilised to help you achieve your business goals is crucial.
- Define your goals and who your target audience are. This will help you to generate a logical site map and relevant content.
- Are you following your current branding or will a rebrand be needed?
- What content management system (CMS) are you planning on using?
- Think about your calls to action (CTAs) – how are you going to capture leads?
- What keywords do your customers search for?
- If you are going to use a web development company and a SEO agency you will get the best from your investment if you bring them in now.
2 – Design
The look and feel of your website gives your potential customers their first impression of your company.
- What do you want your customers to think when they see your website?
- Who are your audience? Lego’s website is quite different to HSBC’s.
- Your designer will send you mock ups of your website – this will give you a chance to review what you like or dislike, and if it appeals to your audience.
- Communication and a good relationship between you and your designer is important
3 – Development
This stage is where the website is created. Your design will be taken from the mock ups and turned into a functional site.
- A home page is the first page developed. This will become a template for the other pages to follow, so ensure you are happy with how this looks.
- Other pages are then created, following your plan. Within these pages any specific functionality such as forms and shopping carts will be created.
- A good developer will keep you regularly updated and make your in-progress website available with regular updates.
- Check your developer is using the latest technology and optimising for speed as well as looks.
4 – Testing
- You and the developer should both be testing your website. The developer will ensure everything works, but it will be down to you to check it works in a way your audience would expect.
- Testing should be conducted across screen sizes and browsers to ensure it is mobile friendly.
- Any tweaks will be made at this stage following the initial testing. Make sure you let your developer know of anything you need tweaking.
- Ensure you know how to use your CMS, are happy with how everything works and like the look and feel before giving final approval.
5 – Maintenance
Web development is not over when the final approval is given. As new browsers are released, new technology becomes more popular and there are updates to your CMS parts of your website might need attention.
- Ensure you have a support contract with your developer so changes can be made quickly and efficiently.
- Discuss what you expect the support contract to cover, as it is better to be clear from the beginning. For example, a support contract won’t cover a redesign.
- Your site should be regularly backed up.
This blog post was provided by Karen Harding, the Marketing Manager at Objective IT. Objective provides web portal development and bespoke, cross-platform web design for businesses in and around Essex.