7 Basic Steps in Website Development
How do you develop a website? Content management systems (CMS), such as WordPress, have made it easier for non-technical individuals. But without knowing which steps to take in the process, you could still be left in the dark. Here are the 7 basic steps in website development. Learn the steps, implement the process, and be more efficient in your workflow!
Step 1: Gather and Assess Information
Your website’s look and feel depend on how well you implement the necessary components. CMS have made it easy for everyone to just drag, drop, or customize their websites. It’s almost as easy as a click of a button.
You can click on a particular button to create a new page, install plugins to provide more features and functions, or install a theme to design your site. Many other convenient ways exist.
But before you implement those ways, you need to come up with a clear idea of what you want to achieve. How do you want your site to look and feel? How do you want users to experience your website?
In this stage, you need to identify the things you want to incorporate. They will serve as your site’s foundation, which you can strengthen in the long run.
Here are some questions you could ask:
- What is your website about? Is it about an idea, a cause, a product?
- What actions do you want people to do? Do you want them to buy, to reason out, to ask for help?
- Who are your target users—age, preferences, location, career, devices?
- What do you want to be found for? In which area do you specialize?
- What is your purpose for setting up a website?
- To which social platforms do you want to link your site?
- What makes your brand unique? How should your site reflect it?
Having a clear vision and a resolute purpose makes website development easier. With them, you get to spend more time on the necessary aspects. List down your answers, and assess their value.
This is also where you learn more about your brand. Your brand is your site’s identity. Before you take a step farther, you should already have your own logo, tagline, and other essential features that people can remember you by.
Step 2: Create a Plan
Once you have identified and assessed all necessary information, the next thing you need is a plan. This is the stage when you sketch your intended website. It’s like having a blueprint of your house.
Remember that your website is your own place online. You can build it anyway you want. Among the things to consider are:
- Main tabs – What are the main menus that people can browse through? You can have an About page, Products and Services page, and Contact page. You have your own say.
- Content – What do you want to present under each menu?
- Layout – How do you want each page to look and feel? In what way should it be arranged? What design do you want to apply?
- Mobile – Will your website efficiently cater to mobile users?
What’s important is that you come up with a detailed sketch of your website. Check to see how each component would relate to the others. You can use sitemaps for organizing your thoughts.
Similar to the sample at the right, you can start your sitemap from your home page. Next, narrow down your site’s content under each major menu or section. Your goal is to sketch a coherent relationship that will efficiently carry out your site’s purpose.
You want to ensure your site users experience the best service you can provide. Guide them through logical sequences and menus.
Step 3: Conceptualize Site Pages
Now that you know what to place in your website, you can start making the actual layout. This is the stage when you decide the standard layout, which includes text, color, and media.
You answer the question: how do you want people to experience each page or content of your website?
“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’” -George Bernard Shaw
Consistency plays a major role in bringing your ideas to life. Think about the colors that your brand has, the font type that you want to use, or the visuals you want to place. In everything that you present in your site, you want users to identify them as yours.
Here’s a list of layout criteria you can use:
- ORGANIZATION – Check to see that your layout is arranged according to your site’s purpose. What type of website do you want to build? What are its main menus or sections? Visualize your site.
- CREATIVITY – This gives life and purpose. Think out of box for ways to make your website unique from others. You can use Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, or any other tools that can provide the perfect visuals. You can also place videos in any page to keep users engaged.
- RELEVANCE – Here you answer the question: why do you want to place that media or text there? Is it the perfect spot? It’s easy to come up with images and other visuals, but sometimes they end in the wrong places in your site. Think about whether or not it’s appropriate to do such and such, and whether they are consistent as a whole.
- ENCAPSULATION – This refers to whether or not your site layout (including design) efficiently carries out your purpose. There are two main things to consider: target user and final layout. This brings back to the ideas of who your ideal users are and how your site will suit their needs.
- SATISFACTION – Does your layout presently satisfy? You can come up with a lot more ideas in the future. The present trends and situation are more important than those that aren’t available. Having a website is more than just promoting your brand. It’s a way of service, and you want to suffice your users’ current needs as much as possible.
Step 4: Write and Assemble Content
Content is the most important thing in any website. Without it, people will have a hard time identifying what you are about. In this stage, you’ll focus on writing text content.
Among the things to do are:
- Research the ideal content – research on relevant keywords or phrases; think about how you want to be found
- Create catchy titles – enough to captivate site users and keep them engaged
- Write the body of your text – length depends on purpose; some parts may just need a line or two
- Proofread text – check for misspelled words, grammar errors, plagiarism, etc.
- Revise when necessary – ensure consistency, coherence, and originality
The writing process does take time. But without written content, your website could be misunderstood. You can come up with signs and icons, but images sometimes have other implied meanings. You want your users to easily understand what you are trying to offer.
Once you have your write-ups, you can assemble them in your website in the next step.
Step 5: Construct Website
Finally, you get to build your site! This is the stage when you place everything you have prepared—logo, tagline, text content, videos, images, etc.
Before anything else, you should already have your chosen CMS and site host. Once done, you can start placing all the ideas you prepared. You can begin from the home page until you complete the entire site.
You can use plugins and themes when necessary. Only make sure they are up-to-date and compatible with your other site components.
Another thing to consider is SEO. Check to see if your site is optimized for search engines. Use keywords in your content, and apply the best practices for various search engines.
You can boost your inbound links through quality content or what we refer to as thought leadership. Or, you can submit your site URL to search engines to allow them to index your website.
Step 6: Evaluate and Launch
With all things ready, you need to check and recheck your site. This includes but does not limit to: code validation, broken links, misspelled words, and SEO. You want to make sure that each component works well before releasing it to the public.
Among the tools you can use are:
- Code validator online
- Google PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom for site speed
- Keyword tool for SEO
- Plagiarism checker
- Grammar checker
In the long run, you can use Google Analytics or other tools to star updated with your site’s performance when it comes to site traffic. You want to improve your website to cater to your users’ specific needs.
Once evaluated, you can transfer your site to an FTP client for release. File transfer protocol, as they are called, makes it easy for you to download or upload files from your PC to the internet and vice versa. Learn more here.
Step 7: Maintain and Backup
Developing a website doesn’t end in its public launch. Regular maintenance is critical to prevent or lessen site issues. In the process, you need to backup your files to avoid rewriting codes or creating new content when a problem comes up.
Stay updated with security releases and updates on your software and plugins. Expired versions create holes in your system, and give way to bugs and malicious threats. Might as well take action before any such threats arise.
An Efficient Strategy
Success takes time, and come as results of hard work and persistence. What happens behind the scenes influence final output. If your site isn’t as satisfying as you wanted it, you could have missed certain steps in the process.
When you are working with a team, delegation could be challenging. The above are just 7 basic steps in website development. You can come up with workflows and be more specific with the steps you take.
What’s important is that you abide by them and notify your teammates of any modifications or recent successes. They are there to help when necessary.
Your goal is to provide a website that will enable your users to get the most out of your unique offers. Be guided and collaborate well towards success.
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