There are several stages that a website goes through during development. If you are thinking about building your own website, you can use this plan of stages and processes to help you keep on track throughout the build.
This stage incorporates the planning and research that goes into creating a successful website. Background research is carried out, paying special attention to the type of user/customer expected to visit the website, and likely keywords and phrases to get results in the search engines. The structure of the website can then be planned which will indicate the number of sections and pages needed.
Always consider your visitor and what information they want to get from your website, make this as easy as possible to find.
Once the planning stage is complete it’s time to think about the look and feel of the website and create a design. Web designers will usually create some design mock-ups for the homepage and one or two content pages, using industry software. You can sketch these ideas out yourself with pen and paper, or any computer software that you have available to use. These give you something to follow when you are creating the working prototype and can allow you to try out colours, fonts and styles. Designs are usually created to the client’s brief in the company style or to a personal taste. So if you are designing a website for your business stick to the colours of your business logo to keep inline with you corporate identity. Please note: It is much easier to make changes to the layout, look and feel at this stage as it can be complicated and time consuming to change at a later stage.
This is the development stage where a fully working demo of the website is built. It is where you start creating templates in HTML and CSS, or choose a theme for WordPress. Depending on whether a CMS is used or if the site is a static html site, the working prototype usually consists of the homepage and two other content pages for proofing purposes. The website will remain at the prototype stage whilst it is being developed further and proofed, until all pages are created and content is added.
Search Engine Optimisation
You will want the world to see your fabulous website so this part is really important – SEO is carried out in tandem with the prototyping stage and is something that should be part of the regular maintenance of your website. The keyword research that is carried out in the planning stage is used to help create SEO friendly content for all the pages. This sometimes involves modifying the wording in content pages to improve search engine results, so written copy should not be set in stone. Once the site is live the URL will be submitted to the search engines and other relevant directories for indexing. It can take anywhere from a couple of days to a month for the website to start appearing in the google search results, and a further two or three months before it will settle to it’s own position in the rankings.
When the website is complete, proofing has been carried out and everything is checked and complete the website is ready for launch. Time to pop open the champagne! A good way to launch the website is to share the link in social media and encourage people to come and visit. This is also the time to start your marketing campaign whilst waiting for the search engines to index your website and business to pick up.
Just because your website is live and working for you doesn’t mean that it will stay that way. Your website will require maintenance and if it has a CMS (such as WordPress) it will require regular security updates. At this point your website has become a tool of your business and it will only continue to help your business if you use it. In the future you may require changes to be made to your site as your company grows and flourishes, and the internet is forever evolving so you may wish to use new trends or tools in your webpages to increase sales or views. These are all changes that will benefit your website, google rankings, and your business. Check out our article on Website Maintenance which explains how to use your website and keep it up to date.