Regardless of what kind of site you have conceived – one-page or 15-20 pages – you need to understand that it requires an investment of time, effort and money. After all, this is a kind of real estate – your private property, the construction and arrangement of which you personally manage. And it’s your responsibility to make sure that the site is of the highest quality and most convenient for customers.
The main stages of creating a website:
- Creation of technical specifications
- Creation of design layouts
- Basic content
- Technical support
In building a house, before grabbing a hammer, saw or other construction tool, it is important to think through all the details to the smallest detail. The same applies to the Internet resource.
The importance of site planning
Too many people start hammering in the nails right away without wasting time creating a proper plan. But the bottom line is that no matter what work you do (create a website, build a house, or start a marketing campaign), you need to spend two-thirds of the time planning and only one-third of the implementation of the plan. Saving time during the planning phase of a project leads to unexpected errors, which, as a result, have to redo some of the work
So what should you consider when creating a website, and what are the steps involved in this process?
You should start by defining your target audience and analyzing your competitors. It is important for a website owner to understand their target audience, their needs and pains. Then he will be able to adapt his site to their interests and get his own benefit from this. It is worth finding answers to the questions:
Who is the website for?
What are the preferences of your potential customers?
What information will be useful and interesting for them?
What communication channels do they use?
Review your direct competitors, study their solutions, find advantages and disadvantages. And then use it for your own purposes. Define your advantages, your zest, which will distinguish you and show you in a favorable light.
Define the purpose of your site, what you want to achieve with it and what tools will help you with this. The goals of a business resource can be completely different:
- sell (for e-commerce);
- attract customers;
- present a product or product line;
- tell about the service;
- collect leads (contact information);
- tell about your company;
- build long-term relationships with clients;
- inform the target audience;
- increase reach and brand awareness using digital channels.
One site can be suitable for several purposes at once, there are also complex individual projects that perform each of the listed tasks. It is very important to correctly determine what kind of result is needed and, on the basis of this information, form the rest of the stages of work on the creation of the site.
3. Creation of technical specifications
An extremely important step. Errors are unacceptable here, since they can appear at any stage and, as a result, throw the project far back. The TOR prescribes the main requirements of the project, its capabilities and way of working, taking into account the analysis of the target audience and competitors, goals and strategy. In fact, the two previous stages are carried out in order to draw up a high-quality technical specification and transfer it to the work of specialists.
Basic requirements for the terms of reference:
- Detail. Everything that a specialist has to do must be indicated in the TOR. Even if it’s a required part of the job, even if the developer has done it hundreds of times and doesn’t need a reminder. Each requirement, each aspect of the work should be prescribed.
- No inaccuracies. Any ambiguous wording or subjectivity has no place in the terms of reference. This is an instruction that says what and how to do, but the concepts: “good”, “beautiful”, “catchy” are different for everyone.
- Understandable language. Correction: understandable for a specialist. This means that the specialist does not have to decipher and ask again what exactly they want from him.
For clarity, a prototype is created with detailed layout and navigation. The latter requires special attention. Too many sites are built without regard to ease of navigation. Why do so many people love Apple products? Because they are intuitive. The user at the first contact with the product understands how to use it.
The designer primarily provides the usability of the interface. All elements on the page should be positioned in such a way that the user can easily find and use them. With the help of the arrangement of information blocks, the designer controls the attention of the visitor, demonstrates to him what he should or wants to see at the moment.
5. Creation of design layouts
The stage of website design development is responsible for the visual component of the resource:
- the form;
The designer adheres to the client’s corporate identity, inscribes the logo, makes the site fully recognizable and relevant to the company.
It is good to follow trends, but do not make the design too “fashionable”, it should be modern and keep its relevance for at least two years. Later, when the resource has earned the trust of search bots, visitors and customers, you can change its appearance.
After completing the work, the designer sends the layout for approval to the customer and only then sends it to the adaptive layout. It involves translating sketches into HTML, that is, adapting the site image for any browser and device (PC, tablet, smartphone and other gadgets).
This is exactly the case when “measure seven times, cut one.” It is better to draw the design of the site 7 times and once – to make it up in HTML, than to send the first version for the layout, and then endlessly make edits and retype. And here the customer must be attentive first of all. It is he who approves the concept of the site. The more actively the customer participates in the design discussion, the more likely he will receive a resource that meets his expectations.
Why do you need programming? It seems that the designers have already drawn everything, the layout designers have translated the sketches into HTML – they have adapted the site layout for the World Wide Web. What’s next? And then a programmer enters the scene and brings the pictures to life. It is better to explain here using the example of the call button. The designer made it rectangular and green in color, placed in it an inviting slogan (for example, “Book tickets now”). All this is good. But you need to make the button active! So that the visitor immediately gets to the cherished ticket booking page, and does not fight in hysterics, seeing that a miracle does not happen from a mouse click.
Sometimes the stage of layout and programming is performed simultaneously. If, of course, the scale of the project allows.
8. Basic content
A site without content is like a birdhouse without birds. The filling stage involves translating the content into the required format and placing it on the resource pages. Materials are prepared in advance. They can be written by both copywriters according to a previously drawn up terms of reference (TOR), as well as the site owner or any person who knows the specifics of texts and knows the art of words. But the work does not stop there. The content requires a stable update. Otherwise, search bots will crawl the site when ranking. An important factor is the interest of customers. It is important to constantly warm them up with up-to-date information.
Although after each stage of development, the resource is checked for “works – does not work”, you cannot do without final testing. What if a broken link is lost somewhere, information is displayed incorrectly or a pop-up window does not pop up on the screen? Various flaws are found during testing and the team eliminates them immediately. As a rule, for testing and demonstration, the site is placed on a special site. Later, when all the errors have been eliminated, the project with all the files is transferred to its permanent place of registration on the Internet – hosting. But that’s not all. After migration, the resource is tested again.
10. Technical support
When transferring a finished project, specialists teach how to work with the administration panel, as well as with statistics collection services. After that, the owner can completely independently publish new content, create pages, post products, collect data for analytics of behavioral indicators and use the rest of the resource’s functionality. If you have any questions, the development company is always ready to help you figure it out. The same applies to bugs, if they suddenly appeared after the release of the site – the technical support team will immediately fix them.
SEO can be added to the main stages at the development stage, which will help the site to reach the top faster and keep its positions steadily, as well as prepare it for further promotion.
When choosing a developer, make sure that he gives enough attention to all stages, because each of them plays a decisive role in the work of the future site. To do this, you can familiarize yourself with the company’s portfolio or talk to a manager.