Modern Website Development. Most Important Stages and Best Practices.

Modern Website Development. Most Important Stages and Best Practices.

The most common mistake among web developers is first to build a website and then re-build it according to the requirements from a SEO-specialist or restructure it based off a particular product. Having accumulated more than a decade of experience with websites we've worked out our own algorithm in building websites.

Nov 01, 2021

Website development. Stages of work

The most common mistake among web developers is first to build a website and then re-build it according to the requirements from a SEO-specialist or restructure it based off a particular product or service. We have been in web development for more than a decade by now. Starting from administrating and building websites from scratch, we slowly adopted website promotion using PPC ads, and later the development of complex online marketing development. We have accumulated plenty of experience working with websites and have worked out our own algorithm in building websites. Every developer has their own approach, however, we would like to share our experience now from a perspective of managers that are required to assign tasks to programmers and graphic designers, what is expected to be done and how it can be supervised.

Plan of building a website from scratch

Before launching the website it is recommended to detach it from search engine indexation, so that random users wouldn't visit it during the development.

1. Before we start, we have to understand the website objectives. In other words, what it should look like, whether it is going to be a one-pager or an e-commerce website, or just an online showroom. We need to understand the website's conception and its structure beforehand and have a clear understanding of what the website is being built for, its key purpose.

2. Development of the conception of a website. At this stage it is important to perform an in-depth market analysis, check out the competitors' websites and list all their strong and weak points. It is important to stand out from competition. During this phase, the basic structure of the website is created: main menu sections, marketing-related features, basic layout. Normally, this stage requires a deep involvement of a marketing specialist.

3. Picking out the most suitable CMS. By now we have figured out what the website is going to look like and its main objectives. We have also performed our market analysis and understood which competitors search engines like most. Therefore, during the third stage it is required to pick a content management system for the website. At this step we are selecting which CMS would satisfy our needs: whether it is a free CMS or one requiring subscription, or possibly it is necessary to build our own CMS. The most suitable web hosting is also picked at this stage (sometimes the website is hosted on the client company's servers). The choice is mostly based off the complexity of the project, requirements towards CMS and the websites overall functionality.

4. Technical tasks for programmers. At this stage we form a technical task on building a website. The task must be written in a language that is easy to understand and all the iffy parts of it should be discussed with the programmers to avoid unnecessary work later. It is mandatory to be as precise as possible and explain to the programmers all the functionality expected from the website and which purposes it is going to serve. Website development is a serious step, as your website is going to represent your product or service online. It is how your brand is going to be perceived on the internet.

5. Design development. During this stage we create tasks for graphic designers using the terms and language in general that is clear and easy to understand. We describe the color theme that we or the marketing departments would like to see. We describe the layout that was determined during the previous step, the menu sections, and which pages require a unique design. The client's company may already have their brand color, in that case, it is the designers' job to incorporate it on the website. Graphic designer creates prototypes of all the unique pages: main, services/products catalog, product page, contacts, testimonials page etc.

6. Gathering semantics. This stage starts SEO development. Website promotion cannot exist without the semantics (Semantic Core, SC). After the SC is collected, it is going to be clear whether any extra menu sections need to be added, and if any landing page links or additional pages for news/articles or a blog are required. We prefer to work on this stage using information determined at stages 3 and 4, in order to make sure that the structure is complete and there will be no additions that could break the website's complete look in the future.

7. Building layout. The prototype created earlier is now being transformed into a code. A layout specialist, a web programmer or a graphic designer usually work on that. However, it is very important to comply with modern layout development guidelines for the website to look fresh and work properly.

8. Programming. In order to add any functionality, such as functioning contact forms, sending data to a server, setting up shopping cart, programming is required. It is very important that the specialist responsible for the programming understands the whats and the whys of every function they are to develop.

9. Adding content. At first, some placeholder texts and images may work just fine, just to see how the website looks when it's complete. Then a content specialist starts filling the website with the required multimedia and texts. It is important to use unique images and texts, that should be written following the recommendations given by a SEO specialist (stage 6, Semantic Core). Based on that SC a SEO specialist creates tasks for a copywriter to write unique texts on all of the website's pages. During the process, all the categories and product cards are also being filled with text. Some texts can be generated automatically, but with a strict supervision by a SEO specialist: such task can be assigned to programmers, that may help fill out the metadata or product description texts. We have performed the automatic text filling for both cases. Sometimes, when a website has too many product pages, it becomes almost impossible to fill out the metadata without any software assistance, such as a script that generates meta description based on the product description.

10. Website testing. In parallel with the previous step, website testing should be conducted. It is required to test out all the features on every type of device. Every button must be working properly; the website should look great on any web browser and in all popular resolutions. At this stage it is possible to work on technical optimization of the website, including its loading speed.

11. Launch! Now we are ready to open access to the website for search engines, start advertising and launch marketing campaigns. The website is complete and ready to welcome users.

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