Generally when it comes to building a website, quality web design firms tend to make use of a systemized set of phases for the project. Regardless of whether it is a simple marketing website or a more complex one with custom features, making use of an organized strategy is vital to a successful build.
The website development process can be broken down into 5 major phases, each of which are interrelated and serve a specific purpose. Dividing a website project into these 5 phases and focusing the right resources, time and money for each can result in the best outcomes at the end. The 5 phases are discussed in a little more detail below:
- Definition: This is the first phase of any website development and it is where you define exactly what is going to be built. During this phase an analyst would look at your current business situation using various methodologies to understand the pains and problems of the business in order to tailor the best solution. These methods can include things like interviews, surveys and even going in and monitoring day to day business operations in order to help understand what purpose the website is going to serve and what features will be necessary to achieve that goal. Generally the definition phase is where the business and web design agency agree to and list out all the features to be built. 15% of the project timeline is given to the definition phase.
- Interface Design: Once the features of the website have been agreed on and the customer has given the green light, the next step is interface design. This is where the look and feel of the website is planned, design concepts done and final design chosen. During this phase a website development agency will get the team of designers to come up with some concepts. These concepts will be based on colour schemes and features decided on during phase 1. Once the concepts are ready, they are presented to the client who then chooses one to go ahead with. About 20% of overall development time is given to the interface design in order to get best combination of design elements and usability.
- Programming: This is the main development phase of the website and is where most of the work is done and resources focused. At this phase the bulk of the website is put built, this is where the chosen design from phase 2 and the selected features from phase 1 are brought together. During this phase all the necessary coding is done to set-up the websites in terms of appearance as well as code each of the individual features required. This is the phase where most of the website project build time is allocated, approximately about 40%.
- Marketing: So once the website is completed the next aspect is marketing. There is no point in having a great quality website built if nobody knows about it or nobody can find it. This is where marketing comes into play. Updates are done to the website itself, like including keywords and setting up analytics to track visitors. In addition to this there are more specific marketing strategies that can be employed. Some of these marketing strategies are pay-per-click advertising, running email and social media marketing campaigns, blogging and SEO. The basic marketing is generally only allocated about 15% of the project timeline, but things like SEO etc. may need more resources allocated as it is an ongoing process. Web design agencies generally treat these marketing options as separate services for hire.
- Testing: This is the fifth and final phase of website development. In this phase the final product is thoroughly tested. All the features on the website are tested to make sure they function as required. The compatibility of the website on mobile devices and various different browsers is also checked and updated. If the website processes data then test data is added and checked. At some web design agencies, the website has a separate development link which can be used by clients to monitor the progress of the website prior to launch. This phase is generally given about 10% of the resources and time, but significantly depends on the features of the website and extent of testing required.