Web Portal Development: A Journey From Planning to Execution
By the means of this article we are going to point out a few points that a development team needs to undertake before they start developing a website and exactly how they should begin at executing the plan when the blueprint is ready.
The Planning Phase
When it comes to planning there are at least six key points that a developer must know about how the website of his company or the client’s should look. If these points are taken care then your chances of making a successful website increases exponentially.
- Determine the goals for the website. Ask the client, or know what does he/she wants to accomplish from his/her website.
- Pinpointing the target audience is not required for marketers only. It is a crucial planning pre-requisite to know the right audience, where do their interests lie and how can your website accomplish what they are looking for.
- What are your call-to-actions going to be? Determining what you want the website visitors to do once they are on your site.
- Determine how you can make it easy for the website visitors to navigate from one page to another to achieve their objective of visiting your website.
- Make a list of step by step guidelines to follow in the making of the website after collecting all the above information.
- Create a list of keywords that you will be using to optimize the website for search query on popular search engines.
Using the information gathered from asking the client these questions, now is the time to actually develop a blueprint around it by brain-storming the ideas. This is the point where a sitemap is developed.
A sitemap is a list of all the pages on your website along with the sub-topics categorised under them. This helps in creating the navigation system for your website. While designing a sitemap you take into account the goals of the visitor: why they would visit your website and what will they find on it that solves their problems. Now guiding them to the product page through various stages is important.
When the sitemap has been outlined, now the technical team needs to decide what technologies should be implemented. Questions like what CMS to incorporate(like wordpress), is there a need of a contact form to be incorporated, etc.
The Design Phase
After gathering all the information from the planning phase, now is the time to think about the look and feel of the website. For this purpose, ask this question to yourself:
what is the kind of audience we are looking at?
For example, a website catering to teenagers will look entirely different from a website meant for a financial institution.
Let the web designer brain-storm on the information that you have gathered and come up with a few prototypes. He will send in some wireframes for your website, and let the ball rolling when you finalize one of the designs you were looking for. Make sure that the design gives a strength and uniformity to the colors used with the company logo.
The Development Phase
The development phase has arrived and the web development needs to start working on the design and the sitemap that has been finalized. Usually, the home page is developed first and then comes the shell page- for the interior pages. The shell serves as the template for the content pages as it contains the navigational structure for the website. After the creation of the shell, the designers will start integrating and distributing your content like customer testimonials, video tutorials, photographs etc. on the various pages of the website.
Elements like CMS, blog pages, contact forms, or even E-commerce shopping carts are added and made functional during this stage itself.
During this time, the designer should be able to provide the client with a view to the website under development for an ongoing feedback process and implementation.
Writing valid HTML/CSS code that complies to current web standards, maximizing functionality, and accessibility to as large as possible audience should be done at this stage.
The Testing, Delivery and Maintenance Phase
At this point the website is undergoing its final touch points before it is delivered to the client. Testing will include the complete functionality of the pages: all the links are working, navigation of pages is done correctly, etc. to make sure that no errors occur at the time a visitor comes to your website under the environment of latest web browser version.
As part of testing, validating HTML/CSS codes to meet the current standards is done.
After the testing is over, all the files of the website are transferred to the server using an FTP protocol. Some web designers also offer services like domain name registration and web hosting, but it is the choice of the client to whether host the website on the designer’s server or at a locally owned server.
It is the client’s wish to direct the designer to do the SEO work on the website. For which the marketing team needs to be constantly in touch with the design team and direct them to optimize the website for the chosen keywords. Most popular tool used by marketers these days is Google keyword planner. The marketers choose the keywords and tell the designer team to optimize the website for the particular chosen keywords and optimize the website by applying these keywords in the HTML code of the website. This helps in the visibility of the website during the time when a search query is typed into the search bar by any visitor on a search engine.
Maintenance phase includes the time when designers are most required. Maintenance of a website is not correlated with the time when there are faulty links on the website or some pages are not showing up on the request of the visitor. Maintenance phase relates also with the time when the client wants to put up the new content on the website like blogs, new keywords to be optimized, photographs, customer testimonials etc. to be added. Many designers offer packages for such maintenance jobs for your website and continue working on your website for as long as you want.
We believe if these following steps are followed, you should be able to develop a website of your dreams and gain visitors who are actually interested in your products/services.
Let us know what more can be added to this piece of content in the comments below or how useful did you find this article.