Process of Website Development
In this article, we’ll look at how the overall website development process might look. The total number of development stages typically ranges from five to eight, but the overall picture remains consistent. Let’s go with the average.
So, here are the seven main steps of web development:
1) Information Gathering,
4) Content Writing and Assembly,
6) Testing, Review and Launch,
Website Development Timeline
When you consider the process of website development, two major concerns come to mind: cost and time. These two values are heavily influenced by the project’s size and scope. You can create a website development timeline, add tasks, and set milestones for your project to outline the entire development process. It is the most effective method for tracking project implementation and ensuring that you meet the deadline.
We prefer GanttPRO—a simple, user-friendly Gantt chart for online project planning—for this purpose. Please see the screenshot below:
We’ve prepared a detailed description of the whole website development process, estimated time for each step, and a checklist to double check you don’t miss anything.
Website Development Life Cycle
Step 1. Gathering Information: Purpose, Main Goals, and Target Audience
This stage, the discovery and research stage, determines how the subsequent steps will look. At this point, the most important task is to gain a clear understanding of your future website’s purposes, the main goals you want to achieve, and the target audience you want to attract to your site. A website development questionnaire of this type aids in the development of the best strategy for future project management.
The look of a news portal differs from that of an entertainment website, and online resources for teenagers differ from those for adults. Different types of websites offer different functionality to visitors, which means that different technologies should be used for different purposes. A well-described and detailed plan based on this pre-development data can keep you from spending extra resources on unexpected issues like design changes or adding functionality that wasn’t originally planned.
Estimated time: from 1 to 2 weeks
Step 2. Planning: Sitemap and Wireframe Creation
At this stage of the website development cycle, the developer creates the data that allows a customer to judge how the entire site will look like.
Based on the information that was gathered together in the previous phase, the sitemap is created. Here is the sitemap of the XB Software website:
The sitemap should describe the relationships between your website’s main areas. This type of representation could aid in understanding how usable the final product will be. It can show you the “relationship” between the various pages of a website, allowing you to judge how easy it will be for the end-user to find the required information or service if he starts from the main page. The main reason for creating a sitemap is to create a user-friendly and easy-to-navigate website.
The sitemap describes how the inner structure of a website looks but does not describe the user interface. Before you start coding or working on a design, you may need to get approval from a customer that everything looks good so you can move on to the next phase of development. A wireframe or mock-up is created in this case. A wireframe is a visual representation of the user interface you intend to design. However, it lacks design elements such as colours, logos, and so on. It only describes the elements that will be added to the page and where they will be placed. The production sketch is artless and cheap.
You can use any mockup for this purpose. We used Moqups. Here’s how the wireframe can look like:
The other important thing is select technology stack – programming language, frameworks, CMS that you’re going to use.
Estimated time: from 2 to 6 weeks
Step 3. Design: Page Layouts, Review, and Approval Cycle
Your website takes shape during the design phase. At this stage, all visual content, such as images, photos, and videos, is created. Once again, all of the information gathered during the first phase is critical. While creating a design, keep the customer and target audience in mind.
The website layout is the work of a designer. It could be a graphic sketch or a finished graphic design. The layout’s primary purpose is to represent the information structure, visualise the content, and demonstrate basic functionality. Colors, logos, and images are included in layouts, which can provide a general understanding of the future product.
After that, the customer 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
Step 4. Content Writing and Assembly
Writing and compiling content usually overlaps with other stages of website development, and its importance cannot be overstated. At this stage, you must write down the essence of what you want to communicate to your website’s audience and include calls-to-action. Content writing also entails creating eye-catching headlines, text editing, writing new text, compiling existing text, and other time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks. In most cases, the client agrees to provide website content that is ready to migrate to the site. It is preferable if all website content is provided prior to or during website development.
Estimated time: from 5 to 15 weeks
XB Software provides a no obligation consultation on your project
Step 5. Coding
At this point, you can begin working on the website itself. Graphic elements created during previous stages should be used to create an actual website. Typically, the home page is created first, followed by all sub-pages, in accordance with the website hierarchy, which was previously created in the form of a sitemap. Frameworks and CMS should be used to ensure that the server can handle the installation and setup without issue.
All static web page elements created during the mock-up and layout creation process must be created and tested. Then, special features and interactive elements should be included. At this stage, you must have a thorough understanding of every website development technology that you intend to use.
When you use CMS for site creation, you can also install CMS plugins at this step if there’s a need. The other important step is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is the optimization of website elements ( e.g., title, description, keyword) that can help your site achieve higher rankings in the search engines. And, once again, valid code is pretty important for SEO.
Estimated time: from 6 to 15 weeks
Step 6. Testing, Review, and Launch
Testing is most likely the most routine aspect of a process. Every single link should be tested to ensure that none of them are broken. Check every form, script, and run spell-checking software to look for possible typos. Use code validators to ensure that your code adheres to current web standards. Valid code is required, for example, if cross-browser compatibility is important to you.
It’s time to upload your website to a server after you’ve double-checked it. To accomplish this, FTP (File Transfer Protocol) software is used. After you’ve deployed the files, you should run one more final test to ensure that all of your files were properly installed.
Estimated time: from 2 to 4 weeks
Step 7. Maintenance: Opinion Monitoring and Regular Updating
It’s important to remember that a website is a service rather than a product. It is not sufficient to “deliver” a website to a user. You should also ensure that everything works properly and that everyone is satisfied, and you should always be prepared to make changes in the future.
The feedback system added to the site will allow you to detect potential issues that end users may encounter. In this case, the most important task is to solve the problem as soon as possible. If you don’t, you might find that your users would rather use another website than put up with the inconvenience.
Another critical aspect is keeping your website up to date. If you use a CMS, regular updates will prevent you from bugs and decrease security risks.
Estimated time: ongoing
Bonus: Website Development Checklist
To make sure you don’t miss anything and do work on time, grab this checklist:
Remember that the website development project does not begin with coding and does not end when your website is finally launched. The preparation stage has an impact on all subsequent stages, determining how productive the development process will be. A comprehensive understanding of your end-age, user’s gender, and interests could be the key to success. The post-launch period is quite lengthy. Your project should be agile and flexible enough to allow you to change your website based on user feedback or the spirit of the time. Keeping in mind that there’s no such thing as insignificant website development phase will prevent you from unexpected troubles and give you confidence that everything flows as it should, and you have full control over the project.
Hopefully, this article provided you with valuable information, and you can develop your website with ease.