Over the last few years, websites have become essential for businesses big and small. Even for those not selling something on the web, having a presence in this space makes it a lot easier for customers to find and use your services. Of course, though, the ease it will bring to the rest of your life won’t make up for the pain it will take to get it going in the first place. To help you through this process, this post will be exploring exactly what you’ll need to do to get it done.
Stage One: The Decisions
The first stage of this journey won’t involve any building at all. Instead, to make sure that you’re getting the best site for your time and money, you’ll have to make some serious decisions about what you want. This will take a little bit of research, as the options available to you will differ from business to business.
- The Host: This is the company in charge of keeping the website online. It will be stored on their servers and paired with your domain, making it much easier to run everything. To make sure you’re choosing the right package for your needs, you will have to look at similar sites, along with what they use each month. The key attribute to consider is bandwidth. This will impact the amount of users your site can handle at any given time, while also having the potential to make it slower.
- The Designer: Development and design are two very different fields, and you’ll need someone to represent both if you’re going to get a good website for your money. Your designer needs to have plenty of experience in creating websites, while also being local enough to meet with you face to face.
- The Developer: Thankfully, finding a designer probably won’t be too hard, as most developers will have access to someone to do this job for them. A good web development company will cover a lot of different bases. While being able to use plugins and existing tools to save money, they should also have the ability to create their own applications. Along with this, a good track record of building quality websites is also a great feather in their cap.
Stage Two: The Design
Once you have all of the choices down, you’ll be ready to start thinking about the second stage of your build; the design. This part of your website will be fundamental to its success, with a lot of customers ignoring the ones which they don’t like the look of. Of course, even with your designer, it can be worth playing a heavy role in this part of the journey.
- A House Style: Any good design has to begin with a solid house style. This will include colors, fonts, shapes, and even the way that your photos are taken. Your designer will be able to create a few different options for you, and will often present them in the form of mockups. It’s always worth trying to get a couple of designs for each of the pages on the website before anything is built. This will ensure that you’re happy with everything before the process starts, while also making the developer’s life easier during the build.
- The Content: Along with the way the site looks, you should also consider the content it will be hosting, too. Creating copy for a website is a lot harder than most people would think. Creating pieces which capture the essence of your business will take loads of practice, so it could be worth looking for someone to do this for you. Websites like Freelancer can be perfect for this, as you won’t need to meet your content writer.
Stage Three: The Build
At this stage, it will already feel like you’ve been working on your website for a very long time, and you’ll be very much ready to start breaking ground. Most of this stage will be down to the developer. This gives you the chance to take a bit of a break from the world of websites, leaving them to handle all of the complicated stuff which will go into it.
- Getting Content Together: During this process, you won’t be completely free from work, as it’s likely that you’ll need to gather some content for your website. Videos, images, and text all take a long time to create. Thankfully, there are loads of professionals out there with the skills to make this happen for you, and you only have to find them if you want to take your mind off of the work.
- Keep On Schedule: Along with collecting information for your website, you will have to work hard to make sure it’s built within the right amount of time. Keeping on schedule with a job like this will take a lot of pressure from you. You will have to send emails, arrange meetings, and be pushy with your developer to get the work done. A lot of people struggle to stay on top of this sort of project. So, to help you out, a tool like Asana could be a great support in your project management.
Stage Four: Testing & SEO
Finally, once the build is complete, it will be time for you start testing it to make sure that you’ve got exactly what you’ve paid for. This process will take a little bit of time, and you will need to use some tools to help you. First, though, you will also have to learn about one of the key elements of a website; SEO.
- SEO’s Role: Search engine optimization is the process of making a website match the standards companies like Google have set for the internet. Images, pages, and other parts of the site will need to have metadata added to them to make them visible to search tools. Along with this, you will also need to make sure that all of the text on your website is readable and including the key words which have been chosen for it.
- Testing A Website: With SEO covered, the last thing to do will be the tests you perform on the website. There are several different areas you will want to look at during this stage of the build, and you can find some of the key examples below. There are loads of tools around the web which are designed to help you with this.
Performance: If a website takes too long to load, users will be unwilling to spend their time on it, and will often leave before they get to the good stuff. Google’s Pagespeed tool is one of the best out there when you’re trying to make sure that your website is running fast enough. If it is too slow, you may need some further optimization to it.
Errors: Along with running slowly, a website with a lot of bugs will also be hard to keep people attracted to. To avoid these sorts of issues, using the built-in developer tools which are found on browsers like Chrome and Firefox, you will be able to debug the pages you visit, testing them for any potential issues.
Devices: Phones, computers, and other internet-based devices all run slightly different software. This often makes it impossible for all of the tools developers use to work on every device. Instead, they will have to use more than one example of some of their code, and you will have to test the website across loads of different platforms to make sure that it can do it.
Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start working harder on the time you put into your next website. A lot of people struggle to get this sort of work completed. From the initial decisions you have to make to the testing at the end, even the support you get along the way won’t save you from all of the work. Of course, though, once you see the benefit this brings, it will feel much more worthwhile.