It is hard to find a business that doesn’t have its own website where they showcase its products and offer all the necessary information to its customers. A website is your own corner of the internet, over which you have full control over, which is one of the most appealing things about it.
You get a say in how you will present yourself to potential customers and what your products will look like to them, which is where the true importance of a website lies.
Many business owners are scared of starting the website development process, which makes their sales bad and discoverability really hard. These days, it is crucial to have a website, because they can be of great help, especially if your business is part of a saturated market.
If you think that the website development process is a fuss and you’re having second thoughts about hiring a digital agency, we’re here to show you that it is actually not that complicated.
So, let’s look at the web development process.
1. Initial planning
During this phase of the web development process, the client and the digital agency organize a meeting, where they discuss the design and technical specifications of a website. The client tells them what their website and business are all about, what the current website is lacking (if there is one), how many and which pages they will have on the website, etc.
In short, the client lists all of their ideas and their vision of the website, and the digital agency makes notes and discusses these ideas with them. They give advice and suggestions, especially if the client doesn’t really have a clear vision of their website. It is extremely beneficial if the client already knows what they want since this shortens this phase significantly.
Which questions do the developers ask the client?
- Tell us more about your company
- What is the aim of this project?
- Do you have deadlines and what are they?
- Who is your target audience?
- Who is your competition?
- Which action do you want the visitors of your website to perform?
- Who is writing your content?
- Do you have professionally taken photos?
- Are there any advanced functions you want on your website?
- Do you have a vision of your website? Describe it.
- What kind of websites do you like? Is there anything specific?
- Is there something you wouldn’t like to be on your website?
- How do your customers find you? Do you have a marketing strategy already?
- What is your budget?
- Do you already have a name for your business, a registered domain and hosting?
2. Writing the proposal and signing the contract
After the client responds to all of these questions, the digital agency works on the proposal. They write a presentation on what the client wanted and the ways of how their goals and wishes will be achieved. This gives the client a clear and picture of the project.
Additionally, it is important to discuss the preferred method of communication. The best one is naturally email, because emails store all the information and documents that the client and digital agency send to one another. It is, in a way, a database, and a very useful one.
If during any of these processes, the client or the digital agency gets red flags from one another, it is best to stop right there and end the project. If either one of them feels uncomfortable working with the other, it is best to end the project and look for someone else. No one wants to be working on a project this important with someone who is highly unprofessional.
On the other hand, if everything turns out alright, the client signs the contract and thus starts up the website development process.
3. Theme or website built from scratch?
The client decides if they want to use a WordPress theme or create a website from scratch. If you would like to know more about the latter, we’ve written a blog on how to create a WordPress website from scratch.
If the client wants a WordPress theme, the digital agency finds and carefully chooses a few that match the client’s specifications and then sends them to the client, who then picks their favorite one.
4. Mockups and wireframing – the design part of the website development process
Wireframing is the first technical step in the website development process. Here, the developers take everything the client has said into account and make the structure of a website. It is a rough draft and shows the client where all the website elements will be, such as images, pages, text blocks, and everything else. In a way, it is a blueprint that is going to gain more and more details in the web development process.
It is followed by mockups, which add more detail and color to the wireframes. The developers add text and images where the wireframes said they would be. Even though mockups look like a finished product, they cannot be interacted with, and are only there for viewing.
The agency then shows this design to the client, who gives their opinion on what they like and don’t like.
When the design phase of the website development process is finished, it is followed by coding.
5. Coding the website
The developers then take the theme that the client chose and start changing and implementing the elements that the client wanted. For example, if the theme has 5 columns where the images of products are inserted, and the client would only like 3, the developers change the code accordingly.
The same goes for some extra parts of pages that the client deems unnecessary. The developers remove everything the client doesn’t want on their website and add everything else they do.
If the website is built from scratch, this process is much longer and demanding.
6. First and other versions of the website
After the theme is corrected and contains everything the client wanted, the developers send the first version of the website to the client. This version is still in progress, so it is highly possible that the client wants more changes done to it. It can always happen that they change their minds and want to rearrange some elements.
Every critique is jotted down, and the developers afterward go back to the coding and make the needed changes.
After they fix these, the agency sends the website once again to the client. This version is most often the final one and no changes are made to it again. However, it can always happen that the client changes their mind again. The length of this process largely depends on the client’s satisfaction, which is why the questions we mentioned earlier are so important. The more information the developers can coax out of the client, the easier this process will be.
7. Deployment and optimization
Now that the developers have the final version of the design, they deploy it onto your domain and hosting that the client provided. If not, the digital agency can do this for them.
The next and final step of the website development process is the optimization of the website, where the digital agency’s quality assurance experts test the website’s performance and reliability. They use a multitude of tools to benchmark the website for loading, speed and responsiveness, to make sure that your website works perfectly on all devices, web browsers and that it is the fastest it can be.
There you have it, the whole website development process put into words. As you can see, most of the work the client does is during the first stage, where they discuss the website design and purposes with the digital agency.
When it comes to all the other stages of the website development process, the client only provides the agency with their opinion and what they would like to be different.
Hopefully, this convinces you that the development process isn’t as scary as people present it to be, so you can hire a digital agency and have them make a stunning website for your business.