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Everything That Goes into Building a Website

Website Design Process

When planning for a website design, you might be wondering just how big of an undertaking it is. How much time, resources, and money will you need to invest? Well, that depends on your goals as well as the budget, time, and resources you have available. But whether you’re building a 5-page brochure site or a 150-page site that integrates with multiple platforms, your project will likely include the following components.

Discovery and Planning

Before you can start building, you need to know what you want to build. And before you can do that, you have to define your goals. What actions do you want visitors to take on your website? How will you measure your site’s success? What is the ideal user experience for each key audience you expect to visit your site?

After answering these questions, a web design team will be able to:

  • Define the key calls-to-action that should be present on your site
  • Develop a sitemap that lists all the pages (and their hierarchy) that should be on the site

Wireframes and Design

Now that the web design team has an idea of what you want, they can start designing how your site will look. If your organization has already established brand standards, this makes things easier since they’ll know what colors, fonts, and tone to use. Then they’ll determine how those elements transfer to your web presence and how to be sure the design works in tandem with your goals.

Some designers sketch out a rough layout, some do wireframes, and some jump straight into design. It’ll often depend on the size and scope of the project. Flat designs won’t behave the same as your functional website, but they really help guide the developer when building out the site—and help you understand what the plan is so you can sign off on it.

Development

Once the design is finalized, the development team starts building it. Often, they’ll build out the home page and main elements (header, menu, body, and footer) and then move on to the other pages of the site.

This is also when any integrations will happen, such as:

  • Connecting your site to other platforms (e-commerce, appointment scheduling, payment processing, etc.)
  • Adding any special bells and whistles, such as an event calendar or notification bar
  • Syncing up your email sign-up form with your email marketing provider
  • Connecting to your social media accounts and displaying the feeds/latest posts

And don’t forget that your site doesn’t exist in a vacuum—it will interact with the rest of the internet in various ways, and it’s important to put some thought into how it will do so. For example:

  • Responsiveness. People will view your website on a variety of devices, screen sizes, and browsers. It needs to look good everywhere, and that doesn’t happen automatically. Decisions need to be made on how to ensure responsive web design, i.e. ensure that the design doesn’t break on a certain device or look odd at a certain screen resolution.
  • SEO. You’ll likely want your website to show up in Google’s search results (and other search engines too). At a minimum, you’ll want your site to adhere to SEO best practices by having SEO-friendly URLs, unique page titles and meta descriptions for all pages of your site, optimized images with alt text, and fast page load time.
  • OG markup. Once your website launches, you and the rest of the world will likely share it on social media. You’ll want to explicitly set the text and image that are displayed when doing so.
  • Security. Almost the minute you launch your site, spambots and crawlers will start scoping it out. To help fend off brute force attacks and hacks, you’ll want to be sure security precautions are in place.

Quality Assurance and Testing

Before launching your site, the design, development, and account teams will thoroughly test your site. They will be checking the following:

  • Requirements testing. Does the site match the requirements of the project?
  • User testing. When people go to the site, do they understand how it works?
  • Browser testing. Does it display well across all the most common browsers?
  • Responsive testing. Does it display well across all the most common devices and screen sizes?

Deployment

Deployment sounds like a simple process of just flipping the switch to “on,” but there’s a little more to it. We run through a pre-launch checklist to ensure everything is in place, then deploy the site on your domain and conduct one final round of testing on the live site. Then, congrats—your site is live!

Post-Launch

Now you’re done! Well, kind of. You still want to keep an eye on your site’s traffic and engagement so you can measure success. You’ll need to keep up with technical maintenance (e.g. plugin updates) and you’ll likely want to drive traffic to your site through a variety of digital marketing efforts, such as SEO, PPC, email marketing, content marketing, and social media.

Ready to build that new website? Thoughtprocess Interactive can help. We have 20 years of experience in website design and development. We’ve worked with many clients over the years (you can view some of our projects here) and look forward to building a website for you that includes all of the above elements!

Categories:Brand Identity Digital Marketing Web Design Website Maintenance

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