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When Mediatopia undertakes a website design and development project, we follow a defined development process that consistently exceeds our customer’s expectations. The paragraphs of text below detail how to create a plan for the development of a website.
To create a successful website, there needs to be a variety of criteria worked out with the customer before, during and after the entire web design process.
1. Start with a company meeting
The first step to creating a successful website is, to begin with, a business meeting; a meeting will enable each party present to get a feel for the other and the basis for an excellent ongoing business relationship. At this stage, a plan of action can be formulated based on the questions asked to understand the client’s needs, and the client can understand the possibilities.
2. Draft a proposal
The second step is to create a plan based on the first step of analysing the prospective business. Your goal should contain all of the information discussed in the meeting and written as an entire project or split into phases depending on the size and scale of the project. The proposal should include all the technology you intend to use and a list of all the design, development and testing work you intend to carry out for the customer. The proposal should also include the relevant costs and a contract ready for when the client is happy with your submission.
3. Create the draft design
The third step is formulating the design once the customer has paid the initial deposit for your proposed project. Sorting out colours and logos play a significant part in planning the strategy your project manager will have gathered for you to begin the design phase. Consider what typography would best suit the type of industry you are designing. One needs to study the business proposal to understand what kind of website to develop and who the target market is. With drawings or a schematic wire-frame, understand the essential elements and create a design that represents the customer’s wishes—also making a plan that will lead the web visitors to the page on a story-boarded process to the desired goal or call to action, ready for them to buy or call about a product or service.
4. Content Strategy
A website’s navigation, top-level page, and sub-page structure are another contention bone. How should the menu navigation be structured? Should the website have top page navigation with a mega menu floating submenu? Should the top bar be sticky so that the menu bar stays fixed when the web page scrolls? Should the top menu disappear when visiting the internal pages and a side menu bar replaces the top menu navigation? It takes careful planning and consideration of content to know which style best suits the website you are designing.
Writing copy is one of the most challenging steps in the web design process. Most CEOs find it tough to write a text about their business. While they may manage a great company and offer excellent customer service, the one thing all business owners suffer from is putting pen to paper or fingers on keyboards and elaborating about their business. Years of web experience and putting hundreds of website projects together comes into practice. The key is asking the right questions to get answers about any business or industry.
The list of issues that need asking is endless, but it depends on the design you are creating and what kind of sector the business is in.
Website Imagery – to photograph or not to photograph!
Another significant part of a web design has great-looking imagery to portray a company in the best possible light. Many firms think that an outdated picture of their premises looks good, or old staff photos are acceptable – wrong! Mediatopia strongly advises contracting a professional photographer with business photography experience – a picture is worth a thousand words, and well-shot professional images will leave a much better lasting impression on website visitors.
Using video to explain your products and services
Getting a video made for your business can also have positive effects when embedded into the design of a website. Not only can a video be used to explain a product it can also be used to show web visitors around your business. Video can be used to give your business credibility and if optimised correctly for the search engines can also be found in good ranking positions on the search engines that will bring visitors to your website.
Social Media Strategy
Social media is one of the best modern marketing methods to attract more visitors to your site. Knowing which social media platforms to use and how to create sales will help your clients immeasurably. You need to explain the benefits of using social media in a way that a business owner can understand. However, there are times when a business owner has limited time or is of an older persuasion and does not understand technology as well as all the young folk. Devising how to outsource this type of work will help your client.
The most prominent social media platforms to set up for any business would be:
Most companies are familiar with these well-known popular brands, each used for a particular type of social engagement.
5. Web Development
Crucial to the overall process, this web design phase is worked out at the business meeting stage. You will have understood whether the customer wanted a content management system to manage the editing of the website in-house or if the site needed to be static, meaning no content management system. The website would, therefore, be static, resulting in different code if the site required to be responsive or if a separate mobile website was needed. Suppose the client requested the site to be managed by the company carrying out the work or not.
If you are a professional web specialist, you will know all the different types of web development and what can and cannot be done based on a client’s budget. The list of functionally developed into a website is exhaustive, and I will not list it all in this article as I will be writing for the next few days.
Understanding how your client wants the website to function will dictate what type of functionality needs implementation. Whether or not the client wishes to have control over that function means further coding to allow non-technical users to edit. Maintaining these features requires understanding how a database works and the limitations of what can and cannot be done depending on time and overall cost.
6. Website Testing
On completion of development, every site undergoes stringent testing. Various tasks are carried out on the site’s coding to ensure that everything works as it should. The site renders correctly in multiple browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google Chrome. The spelling and grammar are correct, and the content is optimised for the search engines. Whether or not the website is responsive and how it performs on mobile and tablet devices. Testing a website is an essential process in the overall user ability of a site. (This site you are looking at has thoroughly taken me over a week to test, probably closer to 2 weeks!).
The website gets sent to the customer for their final approval and ensures there are no last-minute tweaks or adjustments.
7. Website Deployment
When all of these tests have been carried out, the site is ready for launch, uploaded to the server, and set up on the domain name available for propagation. It does not end there; we continue to monitor the website, fixing any bugs and managing all the future updates and maintenance, ensuring the site gets off to a smooth start.