Building a website is a detailed process that will take several weeks, if not months, to complete. While today’s platforms advertise simple websites you can launch in a day, business owners should not rush to publish. Working with a professional web designer and development team will strengthen your ability to achieve your website business goals.
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Before You Start to Build
Before building a website, ensuring you’re headed in the right direction is essential. If you’re launching a new business, you’ll want to research your company name and see if you can buy the website domain you prefer. You have one less step to take if you already own your domain.
Here are four actions to take before building a website:
- Buy your domain name: It’s crucial to own your domain name. Companies like GoDaddy and Porkbun are great places to start.
- Review your branding: Is it time for a new logo? Have your color preferences shifted? Does your tagline connect with your audience? Now is the time to update your branding.
- Clearly define your target audience: Audience preferences shift over time. Before you build a website, it’s a good idea to review your buyer persona documents and do some social listening to ensure your content matches search intent.
- Clarify how to achieve the purpose of your website successfully: Your website is intended to increase awareness of your products and services. Have you developed content that guides website users through a clear buyer’s journey? Now is the time to find content gaps and improve your website content for search engine optimization (SEO) with strong headers and calls to action.
At SMA Marketing, we walk through these stages with you during our Web Design Intensive.
Website Planning Phase
Research and planning is a critical element of web design. Before going into the actual website development process, it’s essential to consider what a website needs to do and what it should look like. Any web designer should sit down with their client to discuss these two key questions to determine how successful the website is.
The research and planning phase could last up to two weeks or even more, depending on the size and complexity of the site. When dealing with larger websites with custom designs, this period may take up to a month or more, so clients must plan accordingly to launch their sites promptly.
Creating content and web design go hand-in-hand. With the right content, your website can be a powerful tool for any business or brand. Before any design process begins, planning and creating web content that will fit the design aesthetics is essential. The amount of time and effort put into this depends on the size of the website you are planning. Writing and planning relevant copy can take only a few hours if it is a simple five-page website with no complex features. However, if you are planning a total redesign of an existing site, you’ll need to take proper stock of current content and assess what needs to be kept, discarded, or added.
Having adequately planned and created content before any web design process ensures that all elements necessary for an effective website are present and accounted for. This type of workflow also helps streamline the whole process since projects often lack direction or inefficient progress due to a lack of forethought when creating content at blessing stages. Ensure the resulting product is cohesive instead of chaotic and unintelligible by thinking through each piece from the beginning.
The design phase of a website is critical for any business. It provides the foundation on which a website will be built and used. The design time depends on the size and complexity of the project. Generally speaking, the design phase takes an average of about a week. Small projects can take a day, while large ones can take longer, up to several weeks or more.
However, not everyone puts the extra time into crafting a design that functions aesthetically and functionally. Some might opt to omit this step and jump straight into development instead. While this may be faster, it also runs the risk of creating an unfriendly user interface or making drastic changes midway once development has already begun. For these reasons, most designers prefer to create the design offsite from your primary business platform before beginning with front-end development.
Web development involves the creation of a website according to the design and content you and your designer previously created. It is often done by coding from scratch, customizing existing website templates, or using other content management systems (CMS). Depending on the complexity of the design and functionality, the build can take as little as several weeks for simpler websites and up to several months for more difficult ones. It’s essential to remain available and have regular contact with your web development team during this process so you can provide feedback or make alterations if necessary.
For those with less coding experience, website builders are available that allow for easy customization of designs without any technical knowledge. Website builders usually come with various themes, templates, and features that can be easily modified according to your requirements – meaning that web development is not required – considerably speeding up the whole process. As open-source technologies become more popular, platforms like WordPress can make it easier than ever for anyone to build a professional-looking website quickly and efficiently. However, quicker isn’t always better!
Review and Troubleshooting
The review and troubleshooting phase is important to the web development process. Once you complete the development phase, it is vital to evaluate the website to ensure it looks exactly how you wanted, has all the features you requested, and, most importantly, that everything works correctly. During this stage, you can detect small bugs, typos, or other errors that may have gone unnoticed. This review is necessary to ensure your website provides the best possible user experience before going live.
During a review, developers will perform several tests, such as executing general commands on browsers, creating interactive elements, and checking for compatibility with desktop computers and mobile phones. A good developer will also check for any security loopholes in the code and generally pay attention to details, like ensuring links are working correctly. These activities require a lot of time and patience, so it’s better to go through this process before making your website live rather than afterward when corrections could be more complex and time-consuming.
New Site vs. Redesign
Building a new site or revamping an existing one can be daunting. Depending on your needs, the timeline for each process can vary significantly. If you’re taking on the task of starting from scratch, chances are it will take longer than it would to redesign an existing site. Creating a brand from scratch requires time and energy to establish a logo, color palette, typography, and unique graphic styles that reflect the goals and values of your business.
Conversely, some elements will remain the same when revamping a website, such as logos, colors, and spelling. Redesigning requires looking at what already exists and making changes to modernize it, not creating everything all over again, which decreases the time needed for completion compared to building something entirely new. At the end of the day, no matter what project you choose, both require thoughtfulness and skill, which makes discerning between the two pivotal before embarking on any endeavor.
What happens throughout the web build?
During a professional website design project, you should expect the design and development teams to work together to create a beautiful, fully functional product that integrates your buyer’s journey and creates an excellent user experience.
Is there a difference between building and developing a website?
Building a website involves designing and creating its user interface, including everything from the layout of the pages to the styling elements, such as fonts, colors, and graphics. Basically, it’s the process of turning an idea into something tangible for users to interact with. All these tasks include creating an aesthetically pleasing experience that potential customers can easily take in.
Developing a website is more than just building it; it encompasses all aspects of coding and ensuring it functions as intended. Thus, developers must have knowledge related to visual design and programming languages such as HTML or CSS. They also need to know how to integrate databases and different APIs into the platform. The development stage is when all the builders put the pieces together – the user interface created during the building phase is encased within functional code so that users can use it without encountering any unexpected bugs or obstacles.
How much does it cost to build a website?
Your website build costs will depend on the size of the site. The more pages, the more expensive your build will be. That said, website build costs are generally between $10,000 and $25,000.