If you do not have a website for your business, it means you’re losing out on potential customers. However, launching a website isn’t such an easy task, especially for those who’re about to run their first site ever.
If you’re looking to build your personal website or want to create a site for your small business, these tips are exactly what you need. Check them out.
1. Collection of Information for a Website: Purpose, Main Goals, and Target Audience
Creating an Idea
At this stage, you need to decide on the subject of the project (site, service). Then you proceed with collecting all the relevant material: text, graphics, and much more.
It is very important to understand why and for whom you are developing the website. Without the correct goals and objectives, you will not be able to create the necessary site. Perhaps you will be able to start, but in the process of creating the site, you will realize that you are about to end up not with what you wanted.
The Target Audience
Another important stage, which cannot be forgotten before the development of the technical details is a definition of the audience for which the site will be created. The thing is, the necessary functionality, the design of the project and the embedded content will depend on it. For example, a site for women is better off with gentle shades and the maximum functionality possible; men need clearness and understandability. For the younger generation, not only the text content matters, video material, which, luckily, is easy to learn, is just as important.
2. Planning: Creating a Sitemap and Layout
Sitemap helps users to understand the structure of the site and find the right information quickly. It also allows you to understand the internal structure of the future site. However, it does not describe what the site is going to look like. The sitemap is not just a list of pages, it also includes buttons, links, etc.
Once you have decided on the structure of the project, you can draw up a project layout (schematically). To draw the outline, you can use a paper and a pen, Photoshop or any other graphics editor. It is important to note that this step isn’t the last one. At this stage you don’t have the finished design layout yet, just a sketch made to understand how the site will host the main information blocks, graphics, and other design elements.
3. Design: Page Template, Review and Approval
After the project layout, you can proceed directly to the layout design. At this stage, start with the definition of the color scheme. One way to determine the main color in a project is to create a mood board. To do this, you need to make a list of all the synonyms associated with the theme of the project, and then type each synonym in the Google picture search. Based on the images found, write out the colors that are found most often. These colors will constitute a visual perception of your project and trigger the desired emotional response from the users.
4. Create Content
Content is just as important for the quality of the site. Content is everything that users are going to see on the pages: illustrations, articles, and even the smallest descriptions. They are created and hosted by content managers, editors or copywriters.
5. Layout and Development
Now you can finally move on to the layout of the site. All the graphic elements developed earlier are used at this step. Usually, a home page is created first, and then the remaining pages are added to it in accordance with the hierarchy developed during the sitemap creation. At this step, you also need to install CMS if you are going to use it.
All the static elements of the website, the design of which was developed earlier when creating the template, are transformed into real dynamic interactive elements of the webpage. An important task now is to carry out the SEO-optimization (Search Engine Optimization). This means optimization of the elements of the web page (headlines, descriptions, keywords) in order to raise the site’s position in the search engine results. The validity of the code is extremely important in this case.
6. Testing and Launching
Get Domain and Web Hosting
A domain name is a web address, like yoursitename.com. Hosting is a service that connects your site to the internet. In fact, this stage can be completed not only at the end but also at the very beginning of development. Its essence is to install the selected CMS and transfer all the site files to the hosting (server). There are times when development companies run client sites on their own capacities.
Owning your own domain name looks far more professional than having your site on someone else’s domain (like yourbusiness.my-free-website.com), and it’s super affordable, too. Plus, having your own hosting will also make sure your website loads quickly and won’t go down for hours at a time (pretty important for everyone who visits your pages.)
The final step of site creation is testing. During this stage, the behavior and appearance, as well as operation of the software of the site are checked in different browsers and on different devices (PCs, tablets, smartphones). Finally, all the detected errors and shortcomings are eliminated by programmers, after which the finished project is published.
7. Support: User Feedback and Regular Updates
It is important to understand that a website is more of a service than a product. It is not enough to simply “deliver” it to the consumer. Make sure that everything works as smoothly as planned and the end users are satisfied with the product. In any case, you should be prepared to make changes quickly if necessary. A feedback system will allow you to identify the problems encountered by site visitors. The most critical task in such cases will be to solve problems as quickly as possible. Your users are more likely to prefer a different resource than tolerate inconveniences.
Also, do not forget to update the CMS regularly. Regular updates will save you from errors and security problems.