Six steps of a web development process

Although it is considered, that the most important processes in web development are coding and web design, it is not actually so. True, such technologies as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript give shape and define the method of data processing. But there is something very important that usually stays behind the curtains - those are stages of preliminary data gathering, detailed planning, project maintenance after the launch.

In this article we will explain how the average website development process looks like. Total number of development stages usually varies from five to eight, but it does not influence the big picture. We will choose an average figure.  

Here are six stages of the web development process:  1) Collecting information, 2) Design, 3) Writing and structuring the content, 4) Coding, 5) Testing, review and launch,  6) Support and update.

Timetable of a website development

timetable of a website development

When you think about creating a website, you usually thinkabout two things: time and money. These two values are directly dependent on the size and complexity of the project. To define the whole development process, you can create a time scale of the website development, adding tasks and setting project`s milestones. It is the best way to keep track ofof the process` stages in order to keep up.

I will present a detailed description of the whole development process, approximate time for each stage and a checklist to make sure you haven`t forgotten anything.

Note: duration of stags is in the rough, every project needs it`s time.

Website development cycle

Step 1. Collecting Information: Assignment, Main goals, Target audience

This step, research and data collection, defines, how will the following steps look like. The main task at this stage is to clearly understand the purpose of future site, goals you want to achieve, and what kind of audience you want on your website. Answering those questions will help to develop a better strategy for website development and management.

News portal differs from the entertainment site, web resources for teenagers aren`t like adult websites. Different functionality is needed for websites with different audience, wich means you have to use different technologies depending on your goals. Well described, detailed plan, compiled on the previously collected information, will help you to avoid expenses on additional resources for solving unexpected problems, such as design change and additional functionality that wasn`t planned before.

Next subsection of this step will be creation of a Sitemap and sketch for a future website.

It is necessary to clearly understand how the site will work, it`s functionality,  blocks layout, links and buttons.

Sitemap will let you understand, how the website`s structure looks like, but doesn`t describe the user`s interface. Sometimes, before coding, or even design, it is necessary to  coordinate everything with a client, in order to proceed to the next development stage. In this case, you have to create a sketch(or prototype). Sketch is a visual presentation of a user`s interface for a functionality you are planning to create. Sketch doesn`t contain any design elements, colours or logos. It just shows elements that will be added to the page and their placement. This is simple and inexpensive drawing.

Another important thing is a choice of technology stack - programming language, frameworks, CMS.

Estimated duration from 1 week.

Step 2. Design: Page Layout, coordination and approval

During the design phase, your website will recieve it`s future form and shape. On this step all the visual content is created - photo and video. Remember, all the information, collected on the first stage is very important . Visitors and target audience must be taken under consideration while creating the website`s design.

Website layout is a result of the designer`s work. It is a real website design, as it should look like. The primary function of the layout - to present the structure, visualize content, and demonstrate the functionality. Layout, logo, pictures may show a general idea about the future product.

Customer reviews layouts and approves them, or expresses his comments. If the customer is not fully satisfied with all the design elements, you should change the layout and show it to him again. This cycle should be repeated, until the customer is 100% satisfied with the layout of his future website.

Estimated duration from 2 weeks.

Step 3. Writing and structurising the content

Writing and structurising the content is a paralell stage, executing along with other web development stages, and it should not be underestimated. On this stage you should put in writing everything, you want to tell your target audience on the website and add calls to action. Writing the content also includes creating bright titles, text editing, writing new texts,  також створення яскравих заголовків, редагування тексту, написання нових текстів, processing of existing ones etc. It takes up a lot of time. Usually it is the customer who undertakes this job. It is usually better when the content is provided before or during the coding.

Estimated duration from 4 weeks.

Step 4. Coding

And finally you start to create a website. Graphic elements, created during pevious stages, must be used to create the website itself. Usually, home page is built first, and then, according to the website hierarchy, secondary pages are added. Frameworks and CMS are implemented, in order to handle the installation and set up without any problems.

All static elements of the page, that were created on the stage of layout developing, should be created and tested. Then are added various functions, such as interactive. Here a deep understanding of every technology used for website development is extremely important. When you are using CMS for the website development, on this stage you can add CMS plugins if needed. Another important step is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is optimizing website elements (such as header, description, keywords) that can help your website reach higher rang in search engines. And again, a valid code is very important for SEO.

Estimated duration from 4 weeks.

Step 5. Testing, review and launch

Perhaps testing is the most routine part of the process. Every link should be tested, to make sure that tthere are no broken links. Every form and script should be checked, run software that checks spelling, to avoid mistakes. Use code validators, to make sure that your code meets current web standards.After you test the website a few times, it is time to  put it on the server. For this FTP (File Transfer Protocol) protocol is used. After you unwrapped the website on the server, test everything once again, to make sure that all the website files are installed correctly.

Estimated duration from 1 week.

Step 6. Maintenance: Support and Update

Another important thing to know is that website is not a product, it is a service. It is not enough to pass it to the user. You should make sure that everything is functioning without mistakes, everyone is satisfied with the result, but otherwise, you have to be ready to correct mistakes.

But online tracking system on the website will let you find all the possible mistakes on the server end. In this case, a matter of the highest priority for you is to correct the error as soon as possible. If youdo not do this, sooner or later users will start leaving the website because of those errors.

Another important nuance is regular and  timely updating of the websites. If you are using CMS, regular updates will protect you from being hacked, viruses and will lower security risks.

Estimated duration - unlimited.

In conclusion i`d like to say, that the web development process doesn`t start with coding and doesn`t end the day you launched it. Preparation phase, planning are  decisive in the project development process.  Careful and thorough study of the following aspects, such as age, gender, interests of the end user may be the key to the succes. A period after launch is rather important. Your project must be fast and flexible enough, tobe able to change the website according to the users feedback or modern aspects. Aknowledging, that all of the web development stages are equally important, will help you avoid unexpected errors and appearance of the new ones. It will also give you confidence that everything goes as planned, and you have full control over the process.