Six Phases of the Website Design and Development Process
There are several steps in the website design and development process.
From gathering initial information to creating your website, a lot takes place before the big launch. While the exact process varies slightly between projects, the basics remain the same.
Phase One: Discovery / Gathering Information
The first step in designing a successful website is to gather information.
Many things need to be considered when designing the look and feel of your website, so you are first asked a lot of questions to help get a clear understanding of your business and your needs in a website. Certain things to consider are:
What is the purpose of the site? Do you want to provide information, promote a service, sell a product, etc.?
What do you hope to accomplish by building this site? Two of the more common goals are to make money or share information.
Is there a specific group of people that will help you reach your goals? It is helpful to picture your ideal customer. Consider their age, gender, or interests – this will help determine the best design style for your site.
What kind of information will the target audience be looking for on your site? Are they looking for specific information, a particular product or service, etc.?
Phase Two: Planning
Using the information gathered from phase one, we first put together a plan.
Here we develop a sitemap – a list of all the main topics and sub-topics for your website. This gives us a guide as to what content will be on the site and is essential to developing a consistent, easy-to-understand navigational system.
This is also where we decide what technologies should be implemented – contact forms, custom post types, specific plugins, etc.
Phase Three: Design
Drawing from the information gathered to this point, we determine the look and feel of the site.
Target audience is one of the key factors taken into consideration here. A site aimed at young adults, for example, will look much different than one meant for a financial institution. Branding elements such as your company logo and colors are also incorporated into the design to help strengthen your company’s identity on the website.
Phase Four: Development
This is where the functional website itself is created.
We take all of the individual graphic elements from the preliminary design and use them to create the functional website. More specifically, they are used to create the functional WordPress theme, which establishes the look and feel of your site. This includes not only the desktop view, but also the mobile responsive views, ensuring that your site is accessible to as large an audience as possible.
Once the WordPress theme has been developed, we take your content and distribute it throughout the site in the appropriate areas.
Phase Five: Testing and Delivery
At this point, we attend to the final details and test your website.
We test things such as the complete functionality of forms or other features. We test for last-minute compatibility issues such as viewing differences between different web browsers or mobile devices.
Once we receive your final approval, it is time to deliver the site. We migrate the files to your server. In most cases, this also involves installing and configuring WordPress and a core set of essential plugins to help enhance the site. Here we quickly test the site again to ensure everything has been set up correctly and that the site continues to be fully functional.
This marks the official launch of your website, as it is now viewable to the public.
Phase Six: Maintenance
Once your site is launched, that doesn’t mean that all the work is over.
One way to bring repeat visitors to your site is to offer updated content on a regular basis. And as new versions of WordPress and any installed plugins become available, those should be upgraded, as well.
If you don’t feel comfortable running the upgrades yourself, and/or you prefer to better spend your time running your business instead of worrying about your website, I will be more than happy to continue working together with you to keep your website up to date.
There are several maintenance plans available for existing clients at reduced rates, based on how often you anticipate making changes or additions to your site.