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Building a website is like building a house – you don’t just wake up and start building a house, you need to have planned so many phases of the building process. The same thing is applicable to custom web development – there are many preparations you need to do, from information gathering down to testing and maintenance.
When it comes to web development, there are about five panning processes, and we are going to talk about them in this post.
1. Planning and analysis
The first step in the web development process is planning and analysis. In planning and analysis, a good web development company would look at what your needs are as a business and make sure that these needs are properly captured when the site is created.
This first process is often the most important part of the entire web development process. If it is not gotten right, the other process will definitely not go right. To get off with this process, your web development company is going to ask you a lot of questions. The many questions are to help them understand your business processes and then use the gathered information to design a website that will make your business processes easier and simpler.
Several things to consider in this phase of the web development process include the following:
Purpose: what aim do you want to achieve with your site? Do you want to share information, sell a product, or promote a service? Etc.
Goal: the goal you want to accomplish with your website could be to make money or to just share information.
Target audience: the audience you want to reach with your website will determine many functionalities of your website. For example, if you are targeting more mobile users, your website will be designed to be responsive and mobile friendly, etc. this is why the target audience you want to reach is considered.
Content: visitors to you can be looking for specific information, they can also be looking to order online or to purchase a product or service. You have to put their content needs into consideration.
After the above criteria have been put into consideration, the web developer documents all the gathered information and use it to develop a sitemap. A sitemap details the different parts of the proposed website and how the website is going to be navigated from one functionality to the other. The gathered information is also used to determine the best technologies to be used in the actual web development.
2. Web design and finalization
In this phase of the web development process, the information gathered in the phase one above is used to create an initial design for your website.
When creating this initial design, your target audience is put into consideration. For instance, if your target audience is women, your site is designed to contain catchy colors and to be more aesthetic. If your audience is professionals, the site is designed to speak professionalism.
During this phase, your web development company is going to send you different mockups for your website usually in .jpg format. Communication between you and your web designer at this phase of the development process is very important, especially as you have to make sure that what is being developed aligns with your business goals.
After the design that involves the development of prototypes and mockups, the actual development of the website begins.
3. Functionalities and features
This phase involves the implementation of the actual functionalities of the website. Your web designer will look at the already developed prototype and convert it into a functional website that captures all the elements and features already outlined in the prototype.
Typically, the homepage of the website is developed first, followed by the other pages of the website. Additional features such as content management system (CMS), shopping carts, and interactive web forms are also added at this phase. Your web designer will always communicate every feature that is being added to you to make sure that you are both on the same page.
4. Testing and bug fixing
During the testing phase, your web designer will finalize the development of your website and test all the functionalities. Typically, the functionalities that are often tested include web forms and other scripts, the speed of the website, the responsiveness of the website, and the compatibility of the website on different browsers.
Your web designer will also test the code base of your website to ensure that the code meets current web development code standards as set by the w3 organization. Once every functionality of the website has been tested and all identified bugs fixed, the site is delivered to you.
5. Final delivery
Your web designer will need you to access your new website and give final approval before they deliver the final product to you. Once you have tested the website and given your final approval, your web designer uploads the files of the website to your web server. If you don’t have a domain ready, your web designer may offer to get you one as most web development companies also offer domain registration services as an extra. Once your site has been uploaded to a live server, it is tested again to see that all the features are working on a live server. If a CMS is being used for the website, details such as plugins are installed to complete the web development process.
After going live, the website needs to be maintained on a regular basis. Typical maintenance operations include updating the content of the website regularly and installing additional plugins that are relevant. Other things that constitute site maintenance include WordPress upgrades (if you are using WordPress as your CMS), and website backup. You can perform most site maintenance activities yourself. However, it is best you leave it in the hands of the web development company that designed the website. A good web development company will always take over the maintenance of your website on an ongoing basis.
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