Phases of Website Design and Development
A website goes through several phases of development. From gathering initial information to the creation of your web site, and finally, its uploading and maintenance, you need to closely co-ordinate with your designer to get the best out of your efforts.
Developing a website is a serious thing, demanding plenty of investment and planning. You expect it to serve as a round-the-clock advertising and sales medium of your products or services. For ensuring that it serves the objective effectively, you need to hire a skillful web designer, and then co-ordinate with him through every phase of development.
Phase 1: Collection of Information
Gathering information is the first step while designing any website. While putting up a plan regarding development of a website, many factors have to be taken into consideration. It involves a good understanding of the company, its business objectives, target audience etc. Purpose of the site has to be well-defined. It should be clear whether one wants to provide information, sell a product, promote a service etc. You also have to be clear about age, education, background etc. of your target audience. You also need to make out what kind of information will the target audience be looking for on your site.
Phase Two: Planning
When you have all the information at your disposal, it is time to chalk out a plan for your website. Make a detailed sitemap including all main topic areas of your site as well as sub-topics. It would serve as a guide as to what content would be on the site and help to develop an easy-to-comprehend navigational system. It is during this stage when the web designer decides about the technologies to be implemented.
Phase Three: Design
It is time now to determine the look and feel of your website. Your field and target audience are key factors to be taken into consideration. For instance, a dental design website needs a sober look and to-the-point approach. In design phase, you also need to incorporate elements such as the company logo or colors to strengthen the identity of your business. In this phase, communication between the client and designer is crucial to ensure that the final website suits your needs and taste.
Phase Four: Development
The actual development of website begins at this stage. The designer takes all the individual graphic elements from the prototype and uses them to create a functional website. Home page is the first one to be developed, followed by the interior pages. The design and navigation contains all the elements previously decided on. On the technical front, code needed for front-end and back-end web development is written at this stage.
Phase Five: Testing and Delivery
This stage involves giving the website final touch and testing it on different parameters. A website has to be tested for the complete functionality of forms or other scripts, as well as for compatibility with different web browsers. As part of testing, the designer must ensure that the code written for your website validates. Valid code means that the website meets the current web development standards. Once the testing is done, the website is uploaded using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program to your server. Most designers offer domain name registration and web hosting services as well. Once you set up these accounts, and the web site uploaded to the server, it becomes public.
Phase Six: Maintenance
Your task is not done once the site is uploaded. A site has to be well-maintained to keep it on good search engine rankings and bring visitors. You need to provide fresh content, products or services on a regular basis to preserve user interest. You also have to work consistently to promote your site on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. Most visitors will reach you through these search engines. Hence it is imperative to ensure that your site ranks well on the selected keywords. You also need to promote your interests in social media and do proper networking.
Choosing the right web designer is of critical importance in this regard. You must hire a designer who has got relevant experience of designing the sites in your niche. For instance, if you are a dentist and need a website to promote your services online, choose a developer who has proper experience of