The Web Design Process In 7 Easy Steps
You know that designing a website is essential to building an online presence. You know that there are enough resources out there for you to control your own web design planning. How do you leverage the available tools to create a great website? Here is the website design process in 7 easy steps.
Step 1 – Creating Your Vision
The successful website planning process always begins with a successful vision of what the site will accomplish. Before you worry about the technical aspects of how you will get to the end, you must visualise the end. Some of the most important questions to ask include the following:
- Who are you marketing to?
- What should your target audience think when they see your website?
- Are you trying to sell, entertain or inform your audience?
- How is your site going to be different from those of your competitors?
- Is this site part of a bigger picture, or does it stand on its own?
The answers here don’t have to be extremely detailed; just make sure that you have an idea before you move on to the next step.
Step 2 – Defining Scope
It is completely natural to start off with a simple site design and end up with an extremely complicated one. You may not have the ability to convert the idea in totality, however. Building out all of your notifications, apps and email strategies may have to come later.
This is ok, because it is much better to complete the central idea first before expanding into other things. Your initial clients will be happy to see the growth. If you try to launch everything at once with no scope, however, you will disappoint. It is better to underpromise and overdeliver over time.
Step 3 – Sitemapping / Wireframing
The sitemap serves as the skeleton of how the website will be layed out. This foundation should give a clear idea of the information that will be included on the site. It will also show how the pages will be tiered and connected.
If you try to build a site without a sitemap, you are basically trying to build a mall without a store layout.
After you build the sitemap, you want to turn your attention to the wireframe. The wireframe builds on the sitemap and stores the basic content and visuals of your site. You will discover the shortcomings in your design in the wireframe, which will keep you from having to fix those problems at a later time. Taking care of them now will cost you much less time and money.
Step 4 – Content Creation
Your website has its frame; now it needs content. This is the most important aspect of the site for two reasons: human interaction and SEO.
Once you drive a visitor to your website, you have to keep them entertained or informed (depending on the vision that you set earlier in this process). Your written content is the primary way for your site to hook visitors and draw them into your world. From here, you can get their information for future sales and create loyalty for your ongoing content.
Make sure that you break up your content into chunks. People reading content online like to see short, snappy phrases that get to the point. Keeping it light while adding value is always the way to go.
The second purpose of your content is SEO. The right content boosts your search engine ranking, which improves your visibility online. Because this is where most of your prospects will initially find your site, you need to learn the rules of the search engine optimisation game.
Your content must be centred around keywords in order to be effective. These keywords should be relevant to the vision of your site and in keeping with current trends in your industry.
Step 5 – The Visuals
Now that your content is condensed and manageable, it is time to fill out your site with its visual elements – logos, multimedia and other branding elements. Here is where you separate the men from the boys in terms of web design. Images are more important than ever, but you can’t just overload a site with random stuff. Your website has to have the right visuals in order to work.
Visuals also help to make a site mobile friendly and communicate messages in a streamlined fashion. Correctly implemented, visual elements will increase your engagement, clickthroughs and conversions.
Step 6 – Testing the Design
Your site draft is done. Now you must test it before sending it out to the public. Here are some of the most important elements to test for:
- Making sure that all links work
- Finding all site errors and missing pages
- Checking for latency
- Ensuring a proper load on all browsers and devices
- Checking the relevance of your meta description and titles
Step 7 – Site Launch
Congratulations, you made it! You have tested the site, you are happy with it, and you have it on the best authority possible that your prospects will like it as well. You may still have some hidden errors in the site that don’t show themselves until launch date, so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work perfectly. Web design is not a one time thing – it is an ongoing and consistent process.
As you draw your first visitors to the site, note how they react to it. You may have to change some of your design elements if they do not translate properly to the audience that you want. Part of website design workflow is discovering how people react to your thoughts, so keep an open mind here.
Depending on your industry, you may have a few nuances to change in the template above. However, these web development process best practices will get you started in the right way. Now it is up to you to maintain your website, because designing it is just the first milestone in a long and challenging process of online selling!