If there is one fact we all should agree with is that the technological revolution has played a very significant part in the way we conduct our livelihoods. We have seen some revolutionary innovations we could never have imagined would have been possible. Online shopping, e-learning, and online banking are a few examples of what technology has done to human life. Today, most people spend their time online. We read newspapers, chat with our friends, order products, and do many other things with the click of a button. Imagine the number of hours an average internet user spends online.
Developers have been tasked with the heavy task of creating applications that facilitate digital interactions. And they have done an excellent job creating web applications considering the number of websites that exists today. Internet live stats puts the total number of websites at around 1.97 billion as of July 2022. And we can only anticipate this number to continue rising. And behind every successful website, there goes tremendous effort in website development. In this article, we will try to demystify what website development is and what it entails.
What is website development?
Website development refers to the way and means of building a functional website and maintaining the said website. In short, website development refers to the work that happens behind the scenes to give a website the greatness it deserves, such as having a perfect outlook, fast operation, and seamless user experience. To achieve this, web developers (the devs) use various coding languages that vary depending on the tasks they are performing.
Website development skills are in very high demand, and most people have established well-paying careers around website development.
Website Development Process
Have you been having the dream of becoming a full-time website developer, or are you planning to develop a website for your business to give the business an online presence? I cannot say that website development is an easy task. It can be so demanding as it requires you to have adequate skills, resources, and tools. Nevertheless, website development is something that can be done. This article will take you through the process of website development.
Step 1: Starting with setting Smart Goals
The first step of the website development process is setting the goals. The goals are the objectives you intend the website to achieve. I highly recommend creating a written sign-off that details all the goals. There are so many goals you might wish to achieve with your website. They include the following.
- Establishing an online presence through SEO
- Increasing lead generations, conversion rates, and on-site sales
- Facilitating web administration through the user-friendly back-end and content optimization
While setting the goals, ensure they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely (SMART).
STEP 2: Website Planning
Website planning represents the second step in the process of website development. Website planning is a strategic activity that intends to define and document the kind of website the developer wants to build. It entails a lot of factors such as the functionality and marketing requirements, lists of integrations that ought to be incorporated on the new website, requirements of content management systems, technology requirements that the website needs to function, and site maps users will follow to navigate the website, conversion funnels and messaging, and the key performance indicators, among many other aspects.
Step 3: Website Design
Website design is one of the most critical elements of the website development process. It is the aspect of website development that is concerned with the outward appearance of the website, and user experience aspects, rather than software development. It addresses the appearance, layout, and to some extent, the website content.
The website layout is basically how the content will be structured to appear on the website. Website appearance deal with the color schemes, fonts, images, and other visible aspects of the website. Another important aspect of website design is mobile-friendliness and responsiveness. Most people prefer using smartphones to access websites which is why it would be best to build a website that is compatible with all devices and operating systems.
Step 4: Content Creation
As you prepare to get started with website development, it would be best to start creating website content and landing pages for the website. You should understand that one of the main reasons people will be visiting your website is because of the content it has. If your website does not have appealing content, then it will be experiencing high bounce rates.
SEO copywriting is one aspect of content creation that should be a top priority even as you plan to start off with your website development project. Such content should be created in line with the best SEO practices, such as appropriate use of keywords and excellent linking strategies. Long-form content could also play in your favor. For instance, eBooks and whitepapers could be great content for your website. Lastly, it would be best to diversify the content forms to also use videos and high-quality images to enhance the user experience.
Step 5: Website Development
At this point, you already have a strategic and meticulous plan in place to guide your website development process. The website development phase is one that requires a lot of technical know-how, skills, and resources. A team of competent engineers will be entrusted with developing the website for your business. There are three major types of website development that you ought to know. They are front-end development, back-end development, and full-stack development.
Step 6: Quality Assurance
Before launching a website, it is wise to ensure that it is fit for the assignment. The website should be thoroughly reviewed to ensure it meets all the qualities of a good website. The quality assurance process typically investigates several website elements such as speed, responsiveness, functionality, and website security, among many others, to ensure they are up to par.
One of the most important factors that should be looked at with a keen eye is the website security aspect. We live in the age and era where hackers are rampaging the internet streets, and website security is no longer guaranteed. Website developers are left with the arduous task of ensuring that the website has all the security protocols and infrastructures required to be safe. For instance, a website should be running on HTTPS and not HTTP. HTTPS only allows encrypted sessions meaning that client-server interactions cannot be intercepted by unwanted third parties. To initiate the HTTPS encrypted sessions, website owners must buy and install an SSL certificate. There are several SSL certificates, such as RapidSSL certificate, Thawte SSL, Comodo SSL certificate and GeoTrust SSL certificates, that will give a website the security it needs.
Step 7: Launching and Maintaining the Website
Once the website has passed all the quality assurance tests, it is now ready for launch. Launching simply means taking the website live and making it accessible to its intended audience. After the launch comes the task of maintaining the website. Maintaining means updating the website with new functionalities, security patches, and other features that improve the well-being of the website.
Having a website can be the starting point that drives your business to success. However, most people fear developing websites because of the heavy work involved. It is true that website development is an extensive process that requires adequate skills and resources. But when done right, it is something that can be achieved in the seven simple steps explained above.