The 6 Stages of Website Development
As of January 2019, there were 1,518,207,412 websites across the world.
A staggering number, isn’t it?
The statement that the World Wide Web has taken the world by storm is an understatement today. It is where the world resides today.
The population on the Internet today is divided into web visitors, web developers and in most cases, both.
Web Developers are in high demand today as the number of websites on the Internet keeps increasing at an exponential rate. More and more people are shifting to web developing as a career choice and this begs the all-important question.
What is Web Development?
Put simply, Web Development involves developing a website for the World Wide Web or a private network also known as an intranet. Web Development includes the development of a single web page or complex web-based Internet apps, electronic businesses and social network services.
Website Development is a process that involves an intricate series of steps. Time and money are two important factors that determine how much time a general website development process may take.
However, on average, the web development process consists of five to eight steps.
- Ideation and Information Gathering
- Planning: Sitemap and Wireframe Creation
- Design: Page Layouts, Review, and Approval Cycle
- Content Writing and Assembly
- Testing, Review, and Launch
- Maintenance: Opinion Monitoring and Regular Updating
Ideation and Information Gathering
The stage of Ideation is a stage that involves discovering and researching. This determines how the subsequent steps will look like.
At this point, it is necessary for a web developer to have a clear understanding of the purposes the website will be used for, the ultimate goals that the website aspires to achieve, and the target audience that the website aims for.
Understanding the goals of a website and the audience that’ll find it relevant is important because different websites appeal to different groups of people. An educational website that displays information on the latest board exam syllabus will need to be different from a Bollywood site that has the latest news on what’s going on in the world of Bollywood.
Information gathering as a part of the web development also proves to be time and cost-saving as a well-defined and detailed plan based on pre-development data can help us avoid spending extra resources on solving the unexpected issues such as design changing or adding the functionality that wasn’t originally planned.
The estimated time required for this process is from 1-2 weeks.
Planning: Sitemap and Wireframe Creation
Planning is that stage of the web development process where the developer creates the feel of the website that lets a client judge how the entire website will look like.
The sitemap is created based on the information that was gathered together in the previous phase.
The sitemap that is created in this stage should clearly describe the relationships between the home page and the other pages of the website. This helps understand the usability of the product. The sitemap makes it helps you judge how easily the web visitor can find the required information/service that he/she is searching for. The main reason why the sitemap is created is to build a website that is very user-friendly and easily navigable.
The sitemap describes how the inner structure of the website looks like but does not define the user interface. For time-saving purposes, it is necessary to get the basic design approved by the client so that the next phase of developing can be started. In this instance, a wireframe or mock-up is created. A wireframe is a visual representation of the user interface that you’re going to create. But it doesn’t contain any design elements such as colors, logos, etc. It only describes the elements that will be added to the page and their location. It’s artless and cheap in production sketch.
The other important thing is to select technology stack – programming languages, frameworks, CMS that you’re going to use.
Estimated time: from 2 to 6 weeks
Design: Page Layouts, Review, and Approval Cycle
The design phase is one of the most important steps in the web development process. In this step, the website slowly takes shape. Visual content, such as images, pictures and videos are all created in the design phase of the web development process. During the designing phase, the needs and requirements of the client and the target audience must be considered at all times.
The website layout is the result of a designer’s work. The website layout can be a graphic sketch or an actual graphic design. The basic function of this website layout is to represent the information structure, visualize the content, and demonstrate the basic functionality. Layouts contain colors, logos, images and can give a general understanding of the future product.
After the website layout, the client reviews the layout and sends you his/her feedback. If the client is not satisfied with the website layout, the client can review the layout and send you his feedback. If the client is not sure about some aspects of your design, you should change the layout and send it back to him. This cycle should be repeated until the customer is completely satisfied.
Estimated time: from 4 to 12 weeks
Content Writing and Assembly
The phase of content writing and compiling generally overlaps with other phases of website creation. The importance of this phase cannot be underestimated.
It is necessary to write the essence that you’d like to communicate with the target audience. The phase of content writing also includes catching headlines, text editing, writing fresh text, compiling existing text, etc., which requires time and effort.
As a rule, the client undertakes to provide website content ready to migrate to the site. It is better when all website content is provided before or during website coding.
The coding phase is the phase where the website creation is started.
The graphical elements that had been designed in the previous phases are implemented to create an actual website.
The home page is created at the start followed by all sub-pages, according to the website hierarchy. Frameworks and CMS should be implemented to make sure that the server can handle the installation and set-up smoothly.
All static web page elements that were designed during the mock-up and layout creation should be created and tested. Then, special features and interactivity should be added. What’s necessary is a detailed understanding of each and every website development technology that is going to be used.
Estimated time: from 6 to 15 weeks
Testing, Review, and Launch
Testing is one of the more important steps of the web development process. The reason why it is so important is that every single link should be tested to make ensure that no broken links exist among them. Every form, the script should be checked to find every possible typo. Spell-checking software should also be run for this purpose. The use of code validators for checking if the code follows the current web standards is essential. Valid code is necessary, for example, if cross-browser compatibility is crucial for you.
After the checking and re-checking of the website, it is time to upload it to a server. The software used for this purpose is FTP that is an abbreviation for File Transfer Protocol. After you deploy the files, you should run yet another, final test to be sure that all your files have been installed correctly.
Estimated time: from 2 to 4 weeks
Maintenance: Opinion Monitoring and Regular Updating
A website is not a final product really. Owning a website is not enough for the client. Website Maintainance is essential.
A website is more of a service than a product. Thus, it is important that even after the creation of the website, everything works satisfactorily.
The presence of the feedback system that is added to the site allows you to detect the problems that end-users will face. The most important task is to fix the problem as fast as you can. In case the problems are not fixed, web visitors may prefer to use another website rather than put up with the inconvenience.
The other important thing is to keep your website up to date. If you use a CMS, regular updates will prevent you from bugs and decrease security risks.
Estimated time: ongoing
A Web Development project doesn’t start with coding and stop with finally launching the website. A good website development company makes sure that all the above criteria are met.
The preparation stage affects all the succeeding stages after it, defining how productive the development process will be. The post-launch period is rather significant.
A web development project should be agile and flexible enough so that the possibility to change the website according to user feedback exists.
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