People are visual creatures. And with the rise of the Internet, we’ve become more knowledgeable and with that, more critical towards anything we see. It’s the same when it comes to website design and development.
Check this infographic to see how visual we actually are:
Image Source: The Importance of Visual Contact
This particularly applies to websites.
Did you know that it takes a user just 0.05 seconds to decide whether they’ll stay on your website or not? That means, just one look at it and if a person doesn’t like what they see, they are gone!
Suffice to say that that number is in direct correlation with how effective your website design and development is.
So, the question is: what should companies do to keep the customers longer than 0.05 seconds on their website?
Clearly, a lot of websites do this, so you know it’s possible to keep a user longer than 0.05 seconds on a site. Let’s see how.
What Website Design And Development Strategy You Need To Keep The Users Longer Than 0.05 Seconds?
Here’s another statistic for you: 4 in 5 consumers use a Search Engine to find local information. Which basically means that if you don’t have an effective website design and development, you are at risk to lose those 4 customers.
Can you afford to lose 4 out of 5 customers only because you don’t have well designed, user-friendly website with well-written and useful content?
We don’t think so.
That is why we made this 8-step list to help brands overcome obstacles regarding successful and efficient website design and development.
Creating a website, from the beginning to the end, has several steps to consider.
In the next 6 minutes, we’ll briefly explain the 8 steps of creating an effective website design and development:
- Information Gathering/Strategy Making
- Crafting The Outlines Of Your Website – Research And Planning
- Creating Content For The Website
- Designing The Website
- Coding/Web Development
- Testing, Reviewing And Launching Of The Website
- Website Maintenance
- Documenting The Process Of Website Design
Let’s dive into the process.
1. Information Gathering / Strategy Making
In case you are thinking that forming a business’s brand is a complicated process, you are right. And for this precise reason understanding that brand and transforming it into a website is the first step.
Now, the process of website design and development is the same whether you are designing a website for yourself or for a client.
The goal here is to present/develop a brand using the smart strategy:
- Main Objective – It’s imperative to know what is the goal of your website. You can decide that with asking the right question with your team such as: What do you want to achieve with the website? Are you trying to gain more leads or generate more sales? Or you want to improve the overall user experience?
You need to have the answer to these questions before the website design and development starts.
- Target Market – If you think that ‘Everyone’ could be your potential customers, you are not playing it quite smart. Segmentation is crucial if you want to achieve success. You need to clearly define who is your targeted audience or to whom is your message addressed to.
- Type of Content – Implementation of the third strategy might be little down the road, but the concept needs to be thought of at this point. You need to make up a strategy about how to engage your targeted audience – blog posts, newsletter, videos, etc.
As you can see, these are all internal factors of the website design and development process. They depend entirely on you. So, if you haven’t defined them by now, now would be the right moment to do so.
It’s absolutely crucial to gain precise information at this point. Wrong or hazy goals can change the entire course of the website design and development process and companies may end up with a poor quality outcome.
These steps will help the designers to visualize and understand the company’s mission and to define accordingly the look and the feel of the website.
Once you are happy with this part you are ready for the next step.
2. Crafting The Outlines Of Your Website – Research And Planning
At this point, the overall structure of a website is created.
A site map works as a table of contents of a book. It is a representation of the hierarchy between pages and the content elements of the website.
It’s important to create the site map at the beginning of the website design and development process for multiple reasons:
- Avoid Creating Duplicate Content: It’s quite common for websites to present the same content on different pages. If that is the case, it’s better if you link to that page rather than making pages with the same content. Designing a site map can help you recognize this problem and find the most suitable solution. Also, it’s beneficial from the perspective of ranking on Google. If the website has duplicate content, it might happen that the wrong page is being indexed and it won’t show an increase in the conversion rates.
- Lay Out The Conversion Funnel: It’s important to remember for whom you are building the website – for the users. Call to action buttons, subscription buttons, downloadable PDF files, blog section – all of these elements help the user go through the conversion funnel journey. It’s your job to make it as straightforward as possible.
- Get The Team To See Eye To Eye: Most importantly, website design and development is definitely not one-man’s job. The same applies when crafting a site map. Business owners, account manager, web designers, developers – they all need to work together on it to get the best possible product. Their work influences the user’s journey on the site, so each opinion is equally important. A well thought out site map will save you a lot of headaches: your designers will have a blueprint to follow, and once the website is done, the users will be able to navigate the site with ease.
After this, comes the content creation as the third step of website design and development process.
3. Creating Content For The Website
One of the most important factors to keep your website design and development ‘alive’ is to create valuable and unique content.
Yes, visual elements are relevant when the user is on your site, but if there isn’t any content that would engage the user, it would be a waste of perfect Internet space.
Your copywriters need to produce quality content, with valuable statistics and useful, relevant and high-quality resources. Call to action buttons are also mandatory if you want to see your content strategy to pay off, as well as posting of that content on social media regularly.
To create quality content from scratch is not an easy task. The smart move would be to invest in good copywriters familiar with the particular product/service.
It is important, in the process of website design and development, to consider an SEO optimized content, written with a relevant keyword in mind, as well as to include quality visual content.
Now it comes the fun part – web development.
4. Designing The Website
Once the site map is in place, the next step when it comes to website design and development. is creating a wireframe.
A wireframe is a structure of that particular sitemap and it shows the layout of the website.
It’s used to show the elements in hierarchical order and their location on the site.
It looks something like this:
Image Source: Wireframe Examples and Templates
It is a designer’s responsibility to decide the place of each element.
A wireframe is not the final website design, but it can be used as a guide for it.
After that, designers make a mock-up out of the wireframe. The mock-up can show how a website will look like. It’s usually an image of the planned website designed in Photoshop.
It may seem like a lot of work is done, and you would be right.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg of the website design and development process.
The design needs to be reviewed and approved by a business owner. During the entire website design and development process, the designers should be in touch with the decision-makers just to make sure everything is going in the right direction.
By this point, you should have an idea about how the website will look like.
The next step is coding.
5. Coding/Web Development
This is the website design and development stage where the site is created, literally. You need a front-end and a back-end developer to make this happen.
The front-end developer is in charge of how the graphical elements will be displayed on the website. He or she is the one who constantly works with the web designer, to make sure everything will coexist in harmony on the website.
The back-end developer is in charge of the database, and also makes sure that data is in line with the front-end requirements.
Usually, the first thing that’s created is the Home Page and then other pages. All the elements that were created in the previous steps of the website design and development process should be incorporated and matched together at this step.
The back-end developers, on the other hand, are working with PHP, Ruby on Rails, Python or .Net.
The front-end and back-end development are needed if you opt for a custom-made website. But, that means it will take much longer to get it done, it will cost more, and will be more complicated when it’s time for updates.
This is why these days the majority of business is implementing CMS (Content Management System) solutions. The most popular are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. With CMS your website will be done much faster because all the programming is already done for you.
You just need to install plugins, depending on your service and you are good to go. If there will be any programming it will be something minimal and mostly tweaks, which is much easier to do.
This doesn’t mean though that you won’t need a front-end and a back-end developer, you will, but they will mostly work on fixing bugs and some other minor issues.
The security of the website is another important website design and development issue that should be solved in this step.
All of this, once implemented, should be tested to see if it runs smoothly before the website goes live.
And that is the next step.
6. Testing, Reviewing And Launching Of The Website
You might think that all the hard work is done once you’re done with the website development phase, but you’d be wrong.
Website design and development is an ongoing process.
First, after installing all the elements, the QA (Quality Assurance) needs to test all of it.
Whether the site is working on all the different web browsers, does the written code works perfectly or if it’s valid and done according to the website design and developments latest requirements.
This employee, rather than checking everything that works, is looking for things that don’t quite work. So later on, these can all be corrected by the developing team.
Also, the security of the website is checked at this point, just to make sure everything works as it should so the website is protected from attacks.
After doing several checks, it’s time to upload the website on a server. With FTP (File Transfer Protocol) software, you can upload the website first on a local server. It helps you do one last checkup and correct the mistakes before going on a live server.
The launching of the website is done with this step, but the overall website design and development process is far from finished. As we said previously, a website needs constant maintenance.
And that is the next step.
7. Website Maintenance
Without proper maintenance, your website will not work as it should and overtime, if you skip this part, it can stop working completely. The maintenance is important from different reasons such as:
- Problems with performance on certain features or apps, if there’s any
- Keeping the reputation for your brand
- The overall security of the website
- The overall user experience
Each of these elements needs to be under constant maintenance.
It’s crucial for the team of developers to keep an eye on the website.
The process of maintenance also involves:
- Updating the CMS system (WordPress, Drupal, etc.)
- Changes according to the latest law regulations
- Changes according to the latest updates
- On-going backups of the site
- ADA compliance updates
- Security updates
No matter the issue, the website needs constant maintenance by professionals.
If your developers are too busy with the project, you can hire a company to do this for you.
Either way, it’s your obligation to do this if you want your site to function properly.
8. Documenting The Process Of Website Design
The last, but crucial step, is documenting the whole process. This documentation will show the entire process of website design and development in details.
If you are working on a client’s website, you should make one documentation for the client and one for the internal use.
The one for the client should show the process in a simpler way – from the tasks, the goals, the people responsible for completing them and the final product.
The documentation for internal use should be written in more details, explaining the technical process from the beginning to the end.
Documentation is important because it will make the workflow much easier and will clarify the steps for any developer. This step is especially important if some problems occur; you will know exactly where the problem is, who was working on that particular step so you can send the ticket to that person to fix it.
Nowadays, manual documentation is going out of style.
However, it’s still super important for developers to get every detail of the process, for the existing and future developers and colleagues.
What Should You Remember About Website Design And Development
Since the Internet has entered our homes and offices, it has changed the way one user thinks and one business works.
Effective website design and development is a necessity, given the Internet-driven society we live in.
And, to achieve this, there are, in general, 8 steps:
As you can see, to create effective website design and development is not at all simple or straightforward process. It involves a lot of people with different skills, resources, combined with a lot of patience to do all this and to do it well.
It might become an even more difficult process if you don’t have the right team to get you from having an average website without any visitors to intuitive design offering an easy user experience.
That is why WebMaxFormance exists. We are building websites for over 10 years now. And we are pretty experienced in this area.
Average website design and development is not something we do.
Instead, we are focused on offering exceptional services.
Do you remember that statistic at the beginning of the text, that about 4 out of 5 people use the Search Engine to find local information?
And that not having a proper website with quality design and effective development won’t bring those 4 people in?
With our 10+ years proven experience you can be sure that we will bring you those 4 people.
And many more.
Get a custom website that will boost your business as well as meet your visual requirements.