With the uptake of digital activity in the past decade, a website has become an absolute business requirement, but what does the creation of a website entail? In this article, we outline the website development process and give you insight into the running of a website project, and what to expect when taking on this digital venture.
Before we dive into the website development process it is important to understand what services and skills are involved in a website, as there is a mixture of once off and on-going requirements.
Website Blueprint (Project Plan) / Once-Off
Like all well-run projects, there needs to be a consolidated document outlining the strategic objective of the website, the site structure and the detailed content and functionality requirements.
Search Engine Optimisation / Once-off & Ongoing
Hand-in-hand with the project blueprint, a search engine optimisation strategy needs to be created. This will determine what keywords and phrases need to be included in your content. This effort will have a significant impact on the organic traffic your website will receive the years to come.
Website Design / Once-off
The design of a website is a once-off procedure and requires involvement from both parties. We work hand in hand with the client to ensure that the design meets stringent technical criteria, all the while amplifying the business objectives.
Website Development / Once-off
Development is the time taken to code the design and functionality of the website. This process is purely time and skill based and can run anywhere from two weeks to several months, depending on the time it takes to complete the project.
Hosting / Ongoing
Just as you buy a house with a parking spot for your car, hosting is renting server space so your website content has somewhere to sit online. This is a monthly cost and varies depending on the amount of space required.
At the start of every website project we get asked the same questions:
How long will this take? How much is it going to cost?
It is difficult to answer these questions right off the bat as there are numerous details that need to be defined before answers can be provided. Here is a quick checklist into the website development process that you should be provided with, or discuss with your agency:
- Do you have a defined purpose and/or objective you want your website to achieve?
- Has the target audience been identified and researched?
- Have you discussed your SEO strategy?
- Has the website structure and architecture been identified?
- Do you have a design in mind? Or have you provided examples of work that you like?
- Have you compiled all the website content- text and images?
- What functionality would you like to see, or have included?
- What language do you require the website built in?
- Do you require a hosting solution?
- Has your website metrics been signed off, and do your know which Tracking tools will be used?
All the above-mentioned factors will be included in a blueprint document that outlines the time required to complete the project and will lead to accurate scoping and costing. Once these have been defined and the costing signed off, we move into the design of the website.
This may be the hardest portion of the website process, as a designer needs to take a client’s thoughts and turn them into strikingly beautiful visuals, all the while ticking the boxes to ensure objectives are being met. There is often the mindset that the agency MUST come up with something great, first time, and it MUST be what exactly what you’re looking for. We agree with this, to a certain degree. We also believe that work is only as good as the brief, therefore 50% of the responsibility falls on the client to showcase what they need, and what they don’t like. The more information provided means the more accurate we can be in designing a site.
There is no right way to build due to the vast amount of coding languages and techniques, but there are definitely ways to NOT build a site.
While the design is being created, we work on an SEO strategy that targets the correct users by utilising the most effective terms, aiding in differentiating yourself from your competitors. This process involves over a week of research and meta data creation for each page on the site.
Once the design and SEO strategy has been signed off, we start the development phase of the project. Websites can be built in an infinite amount of ways, and every agency is different. There is no right way to build due to the vast amount of coding languages and techniques, but there are definitely ways to NOT build a site. We pride ourselves on building according to needs with strict quality checks- this ensures we offer quality products regardless of the size of the project.
Development time can run for weeks or months as it is all dependant on the scope of the project, and may be updated several times during the various phases. Therefore, we consider a website build to be a joint venture as we may be involved in your online business activities for several weeks. This may be integral to the website development process.
The completion of the website is only the start of the digital journey. We implement tracking on specific events in order to track the success of the site and to ensure that goals are being met. As a show of goodwill, all our website builds include 3 months of free reporting, should you not move forward with any other monthly digital service.
A Client’s Role in the Website Development Process
As the above highlights, a website is not a simple process. In order to accurately represent your organisation on digital, and assist your business goals, a website should be thoroughly discussed. It’s essential that your internal management team agree on the purpose of your site, and that your agency understands and builds to accommodate both internal and external stakeholders.
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