Are you looking for a way to expand your business, broaden your audience, and increase your sales?
Websites are not only an excellent way to achieve this, they're a necessity in today's hyper-competitive markets. You may already have a website, but feel overwhelmed by the number of phases involved in the website development process.
To help you out, here is a breakdown of the 5 most important steps in the website development process to get you started.
What is the purpose of your site? Is it to host a blog and engage an audience or is it a company profile complete with product descriptions. What are your goals? To improve sales, position yourself as a market authority, or to increase brand advocacy? And finally, who is your target audience? What are their interests, their needs, and possible perception of your brand? Answering these questions during the planning phase of the web development process ensures your objectives are clear and measurable.
Ideally, you want to limit the number of your goals and keep them as simple as possible. Otherwise, you could spread your resources too thin, rush the design, and not adequately address the main purpose of your website. So start by creating a summary that outlines your company, its background and history, while highlighting the unique value your products and services can provide to your audience. This will set the tone of your key messages youíll use to attract and interest your audience, while also distinguishing you from any competitorís you have.
Itís also recommended you work with an SEO consulate to effectively target your audience and help your websiteís visibility in Ö.
This step sketches out the overall navigation structure of your site, providing you with a detailed view of key pages and of content that will appear throughout the site. It doesnít involve any design elements, but focuses on the sitemap and wireframes of your pages, laying out the foundation of how you want your site to look.
At this step in the development phase, you should consider the relationship between pages and their positions. For instance, will you have the most recent blog posts displayed at the top of your site or a company video showcasing your product? Will your navigation buttons sit at the top or beneath your logo?
The purpose and goals of your website will determine its design. To get some ideas, freely browse some Wordpress websites or even competitor websites to help you flesh out the design.
Visual Design and Development
With a solid blueprint, you can begin the next step in the development process: the visual design. This step is about visually conveying your companyís brand in a way that appeals to your audience. In fact, the first impression visitors have about your company is determined by how the perceive the design.
The average visitor spends 8 seconds on a page before clicking somewhere else. With such as small frame of time to capture the attention of your audience, your content and media need to immediately seize their interest. For the best advice on how to do this, look to social media.
For instance, photos make up 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook, with an 87% interaction rate from users; tweets with images get 18% more clicks and 150% more retweets than tweets without images. Furthermore, the average internet user spends 88% more time on websites with video than a website without video.
Use similar visual tactics on your website to effectively capture the attention of your audience.
Testing and Launch
You need to make sure that your site is functionally properly, there are no broken links or missing elements before itís launched. Itís recommended you place your site on a private server and only share the web address within your company.
This will allow you and other team members to view your site and find any issues that could make a bad impression on your brand. Itís also critical you review your site on multiple browsers and devices to ensure there are no redirects or errors that undermine the userís viewing experience.
When you do launch your website, keep in mind the project is far from over. There are bound to be mistakes only your users find, so it's important you encourage feedback and do your best to immediately fix any problems. As traffic grows, you can start using that data to make any adjustments to your design in order to optimize the user experience. From here, come the headache of website maintenance, requiring a different set of skills entirely.
Need support along the way? At Contensive, our talented team of engineers, analysts and web designers can ensure your website progress forward, offering you complete transparency through the process. For ongoing support and user training, contact us today.