Many first-time web designers are surprised to learn that the planning of a website takes just as much time as its implementation. Creating a website can be roughly broken down into 6 stages:
- Gathering of Information
- Website Planning
- Designing Phase
- Development Phase
- Testing Phase followed by Delivery
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at each of these stages, and why following a step-by-step planning and implementation model with your website will guarantee a successful website.
Gathering of Information
Before digging into your design, take a moment to gather as much information as you can on your client and their demographic, market, and competition.
While there are plenty of quantitative analysis tools out there to help you make sound judgements, spending time reviewing your client’s competition is another important way to know how to orient your client’s website, as well as design meetings.
During initial meetings with your client, come prepared with a list of questions that will help you determine their needs:
- What purpose will the website serve? Is it for promotional purposes, e-commerce, or to provide information?
- Find out your client’s demographics. Understanding who you are designing for will help determine the structure and priorities of their website.
In this stage, you’ll design a sitemap. A sitemap is a list of all the topics the website is supposed to cover, as well as the likely placement – or navigation – for each area of content. The sitemap acts as a guide throughout the web design process.
You’ve conducted your analyses, you’ve laid out your sitemap, and finally, you’re ready to get designing.
Outlining the steps that need to be taken during the web design process are too numerous and specific to get into here, but there is one factor that plainly rings true: Successful web design responds to a client’s needs.
Communication between yourself and your client is of key importance throughout the design stage. You will need to make sure that you are going exactly according to the needs of the client. This also ensures less trouble with regards to changes when the product is actually delivered.
Now that you have discussed all the important stuff, development of the website can start.
If you were to develop your website yourself, this would be the point in time that we would talk about programming languages. With IM Creator, though, there’s no need to wade into particular pond. All you need to do is decide how the website will look, compile your content, and put it in place using out WYSIWYG editor.
Testing Phase and Delivery
The testing phase of website building is absolutely crucial, and the best opportunity to make sure that each page on your new site is running smoothly. Testing can – and should – be undertaken not only by yourself, but also by colleagues, and in many cases, clients. There are also a number of tools online that help you get an objective handle on reviewing your website for bugs and glitches.
Once you are done testing the website, you can give it the go-ahead, and the website can be handed off to the client and made live. You will be using FTP servers to upload all the necessary files to the hosting server. At this stage, the domain name should have been registered along with the appropriate hosting server. Transfer all the files to the hosting server linking to the domain, and voila! The website is live.
The last and final phase of the website is maintenance. As mentioned before, this is one of the more important phases of the entire process. You will have to offer your support and services even after the website is delivered. If it is an e-commerce website, the client will need you to add newer products every now and then, and you should be able to do that for them etc. Moreover, if for any reason the servers are down, you should be able to ensure a backup so your client does not suffer any losses.