Your website represents you to the world. An understanding of the web development cycle will enable you to work efficiently with web developers to achieve a prominent online presence.
As a businessman, you have to put in a lot of effort and planning in setting up your business, as well as your website and online presence on various social networks. That is why hiring website developers to help you build your website is getting more popular. From identifying the feature you need for your website to going live, the whole process is known as Web Development Life Cycle. Normally, this process goes through 6 stages, namely:
- Testing and Delivery
This a crucial stage of the development cycle. This is the stage where you have to analyze the core values and functions of your company. You should have a clear understanding of your business goals and how you will need the web to attain these goals.
In order to analyze your goals in detail, you can break them down in parts and define those. First of all, consider what the purpose of the site will be; whether it will be used to promote a service, provide information, or to sell a product. Once you have a clear purpose, you need to define the target audience next. Think of the ‘ideal’ person that you would want as the visitor; knowing their age, sex, interests etc. will help in determining the best design for the site. Now that you know your target audience, you can analyze what kind of content they’ll be looking for on your website.
After a thorough analysis, you can move on to the next stage of the web development cycle, and start planning. It is at this stage that the site map is developed.
A sitemap is the basic outline model of your website. It lists all the main areas of the site, as well as their subdivisions. This will help you to decide what type of content will be on your site. The type of technical tools to be implemented are also decided at this stage. The target audience is to be kept in mind, as you need the user interface to be such that it is not only easy but also fun and engaging for them to navigate through the web site.
Now is the time to design the layout of the website. The site will look different for different target groups as per their interests. It is also important to strengthen the identity of your company on the website. You can do that by incorporating the company logo or its colors into the design. Here are a few of the current website layout trends which you can go through for the layout of your website.
The web designer will send you several prototypes. You can either view mockups, or the designer can give you access to view the work in progress. This is done so that you are able to view the design and development stages, and are able to give feedback. This is necessary as the website needs to match your needs and tastes. You should also decide what type of Content Management System (CMS) to use at this stage of the development cycle. Constant communication is ultimately necessary in this stage.
In the cycle, the development stage is where the actual, functional website is created by using the graphic elements of the prototype. No matter what CMS you will use, it is best to start with a generic HTML and CSS . This involves writing valid HTML / CSS code that complies with current web standards, maximizing functionality, as well as accessibility for as large an audience as possible.
The home page is the first page to be developed. After that, a template is created for the content pages, which contains the main navigational structure of the website. In this, the developer distributes the content in their appropriate areas. All the other technical features are made functional in this phase.
Testing and Delivery
Websites function as a multi-user and multi-tier system with bandwidth limitations. Consequently, tests for complete functionality and compatibility are done at this stage. Both automated testing and manual testing should be done without fail. Implement analytics tools so that you will be able to track your website’s statistics before, during, and after the website launch.
Once the final output is approved, website owners then perform a final run-through to confirm that everything was uploaded correctly and is functional. The site can then go live.
The web development cycle doesn’t stop at the site’s launch. With a lot of online competitors vying for your target customers, the real battle has just started. As a website owner, you will have to make sure that your website is updated with the current trends as well as stuffed with content that matters to your target audience. Aside from regularly updating the content of the site, you should also be looking at regular site backups, additional plugin installations, tools and plugin upgrades.
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