The Six Stages of Creating a New Website
Despite the impression of simplicity that can be seen on a screen, creating a good website shares the same requirements as building a skyscraper. Both projects need good architecture to be successful.
Like any physical structure that needs to be built from scratch, creating a website also needs a blueprint. And that plan or scheme consists of six stages. Here, we focus on explaining the six stages of creating a new website.
Stage 1: gathering and learning
The first stage in creating a website is to gather as much information as possible to find out what you want (and what you don't want) for your site. You can collect this information by looking at the sites you currently use, the sites of your competitors, and the comments of your friends and colleagues.
Like many companies, you can choose to hire the services of an expert web designer to create your site. Be prepared to answer the case questions, as these are necessary for the creation of a "creative report".
The "creative report" will function as a guide or reference for the creation of the site. Regardless of whether or not you hire a design firm, you should know the answers to the following questions:
- Determine the purpose of your website
- Set your website goals
What do I want my visitors to do when viewing the site?
- Know the audience of your website
- Target audiences
Who am I trying to reach? What are the demographics of my audience?
- Create content for your website
What type of information is my target audience looking for? Looking for specific information, a particular product, or buy online?
Stage 2: planning
The following tasks should now be carried out:
- Plan your website strategy
- Creation of the site map. Make a list of all the thematic areas of the site, as well as the subtopics, to develop a homogeneous and easy to understand navigation system.
- The decision on the required technologies. Determine what you will need for your interactive forms, flash applications, or content management systems (CMS).
- Determination of the compatible resolutions. Considering the increased mobile adaptation rate of websites, it is worth considering implementing a responsive web design. This approach allows sites to fit seamlessly onto any screen, such as a desktop, tablet, or smartphone.
- Creation of sketches. Arrange the pages of your site in a wireframe. This will allow you to visualize the design and provide the structure of your website.
- Plan the content. Knowing what you want to communicate, and how much content you have, provides a guide to the design process.
Stage 3: design
If you have already defined all the topics seen in stages 1 and 2, the design of the home page and the subsequent subpages will be simple.
For example, establishing whether your target audience is single, middle-class, 18-24-year-old, college-educated women or married, upper-class, 65-80-year-old retired men greatly influences the elements of design and applications to be used.
Seeing the page layout with real content and photos, your logo and the chosen color scheme will bring your vision to the site to life. Take advantage of this stage to make the necessary changes!
If you are working with expert designers, they will give you sketches or prototypes at different stages of the process for you to comment on. Making changes later is costly and difficult to implement, so you should intelligently take advantage of this stage.
Stage 4: development
Once the design is finalised and approved it is possible to create the website. Interactive elements such as contact forms, flash animations, and shopping carts will also be implemented at this stage. At this time it is possible to make minor changes and fixes.
Stage 5: testing, delivery, and launch
Your web developer will test the website, verifying from its correct operation to possible compatibility problems. Also, the developer will verify that all the code on your website is valid, complying with current web standards.
Once definitively approved, the website files will be uploaded to their servers and the site will be launched.
Stage 6: Maintenance
Now that the site is finally built, it's just as important to maintain it. At the planning stage of this process, you decided if you wanted to be in charge of maintaining the site or would rather hire a third party (such as your web designer) to do it.
If you preferred that everything be under your control, the designer generally opts for a design with CMS to allow you to edit the content of your site and add new pages.
Your website development doesn't end on launch day. Just like in a building, certain steps need to be taken to ensure that the site operates safely in the best possible way.