Website Development Process - A Simple Outline

Having a website built for you can be a traumatic experience! One of the reasons can be that the process is unclear. This is a simple step by step process, providing some understanding of what you might expect at each stage.

Step 1

Gather Existing Content For Your Website

Your  Branding - Don't start the website development unless you have your branding elements in place. Even as a small business you can have some branding guidelines - logo, strap line, colours, fonts for example. Having a good logo and branding in place is money well spent and will save you money in the long run. Your Collateral - Gather up any collateral you may have - brochures and flyers are the obvious example.
Step 2

Domain Name Registration And Hosting

Once you have your branding in place you can decide on a website address and register the domain name yourself. It is important to note that we are not talking about email or website hosting. It is you registering the domain name - I know I am repeating this but this is probably the most important thing for you to be in control of. A domain name has alot of information associated with it, telling the rest of the techie world where they go to find the website and where to go to find out about your emails
Step 3

Functional Needs

The functional features of the websites should have been outlined in the website quote. Basic features may include forms, chat, maps, events, blog, data integration are a few examples. At this step those features should expanded out to define the delivery in more detail.
Step 4

Website Pages and Menu Structure

Organising an outline of the pages you want and how they will flow. You may want a services page off which there are subpages describing each service in more detail. At this stage, it is also good practice to think about the keyword search phrase you'd like the page to rank for. This will help development of content and the url (link) structure. It doesn't have to be perfect but you'll start to understand how google will see your website. If you are migrating from an existing website, and especially if you have ranking on google you don't want to lose, then page matching should be completed which iwill start to create the redirection plan for the go live step.
Step 5

Initial Design

It is a good idea to lookup some websites which you like. This can provide a good platform to discuss what you do and don't like. The designer should also confer with the developer, or it may be the same person or team, to ensure that the search engine optimisation is considered.
Step 6

Completed Content

The design stage should have provided layouts for each of the pages, some may be repeated layouts, templates. The text then has to be decided on for each page using existing content from Step 1 or newly written. The style of images should have been considered with the design step but specific images will be selected and developed at this step.
Step 7

Responsive Design

How it is displayed on a larger screen, tablet or mobile will vary. You may not want or it may be recommended not display some sections of the content on a mobile. The main menu and particulary the header area will probably be quite different on a mobile.
Step 8

Performance Optimisation

It is important that your website loads fast, users are impatient and google marks you down if you have a slow website. Hosting will play a large part in this, but also each page should be checked on both mobile and desktop for issues.
Step 9

Client Acceptance and Go Live

Review the new website and provide a list of snags to the developer. Try to be as detailed as possible and include the page where you have found a snag. If you have an existing website, changing domain name and or changing hosting then there will be a number of tasks the developer has to go through. You should ask for an outline plan and expectations.

The Website Process