Are you new to the web development process and in need of some useful guidance?
Below is our step-by-step guide to help you get started developing your website.
It’s not as daunting as it seems, we promise!
Identify Your Goals
Prior to thinking about your website, you need to think about your goals. Below are some questions to help you define your goals:
- What are the primary objectives of your website?
- How will it enhance your current business model?
- Who is your ideal visitor?
- How will you appeal to them?
- What do you want visitors to do while they are on your website?
Once you are able to answer these questions, you should gain a clearer picture of what your goals should look like.
What is your definition of success, and how will you measure it? Is the primary objective of your website to increase sales? If the answer is yes, your level of success will directly be tied to whether or not your sales have increased post-launch.
If you don’t define what success looks like to you, you’ll never know whether or not you’ve achieved it.
When setting goals for your website, the SMART framework can be a helpful tool.
Be clear about what you want your website to accomplish. As noted in the example above, it could be to increase sales.
This is where the numbers come in. To measure your success, your goals will need to be quantitative, like improving your conversion rate by 8%.
Set attainable goals. They should be challenging, but also realistic. It’s not a goal if it doesn’t take some effort to achieve.
How do the goals of your website align with that of your company overall? These should be directly related to one another.
Put a deadline on it. I.E., “I want sales to increase 5 percent by Q2 2018.” Without a deadline, your goals may fall to the wayside.
Define the Scope of Your Web Development Process
The next step is to define the scope of your web development process. What are your boundaries? What are some achievable deadlines you can set to assure that you meet your goals in a timely manner?
Staying focused when defining the scope of any project is paramount. If you’re not focused, it’s likely that your vision will become clouded. Stay on track, and you can save yourself a lot of time and frustration in the long run.
Create the Sitemap/Wireframe
Once you have your goals and the scope of your website in mind, you can create the sitemap and wireframe.
Simply put, a sitemap is a list of the different pages on your website. That’s it!
A wireframe is similar to a mockup. That is, it’s a demonstration of the various components that will be featured on your website. However, it’s important to note that at this stage, there are no actual visuals.
Think of it as a template. This is where the header image will go, etc.
By completing your sitemap and wireframe, you will be able to identify any potential challenges and issues more easily (and that’s even before delving into the design and development stages).
Content is King
It’s true! It could easily be argued that the single most important aspect of a website is its content. Since the average person gets distracted in only eight seconds, it should be of utmost importance to make a good first impression – and to do so quickly.
Good content is what drives users’ engagement. It also invites them to act and fulfill the goal of your website – be it making a purchase, digesting information, or simply being entertained.
Perhaps most important, though, is search engine optimization, or SEO. A stellar SEO strategy will ensure that your website will be seen by as many people as possible. More visitors = more sales, etc.
One way to improve where you rank in search engines is to use keywords and phrases. Figure out what your target audience is searching for, and use that as a guide to drive the content on your website.
For better rankings, be sure to use keywords in the title, beginning, and body copy of each page.
Check out our guide for some of the best tools for SEO to get you on the path to the ranking you desire.
Focus on Visuals
With a sitemap and wireframe down, you can begin delving into the design aspect of the website development process.
When laying out the goals for your website, you should have thought about how the website will be branded. Is there a specific color palette you are required to adhere to? What logos will be used, and how?
The most important consideration, aside from the site’s branding, however, is its layout. How will the content be structured on each of the website’s pages? Ensure that the website is easy to navigate and understand.
Additionally, you’ll want to include images. They’ll help you build trust and a relationship with users. Finding the right text/image ratio that works for you is key.
Test It Out
Another crucial step in the web development process is testing. Before launching your website, be sure to test that it loads properly and is fully functioning. Delayed page load times will negatively affect your conversion rate.
Read: Visitors will leave your website if pages take too long to load. Thus, it is wise to ensure that all images and logos load successfully when testing your website.
Also, test every single link on your website. Every single one. It’s easier to find and fix issues in the testing phases than it is once the website has launched. Consider using tools like a link checker to make the web development process run that much more smoothly.
Finally, test your website on multiple devices and in different browsers. If your website is not optimized for mobile or iPad/tablet use, you risk losing even more visitors.
Ready, Set, Launch!
The final (and most exciting!) step in the web development process is the launch. This is where your website goes live, and you get to inform the entire world of its existence.
Shout it from the rooftops. However you choose to do it, promoting your website is vital.
After your website has launched and you have promoted it to your liking, be sure to continue maintaining it.
How We Can Help
If managing your own SEO strategy sounds too daunting, we can help you. Take a look at our plans and pricing. We know you’ll find one that suits your needs, and we’re excited to get started!