A website, in a way, is a software, which is developed for users on the World Wide Web. Therefore, for the website to come to its final stage, there are various stages through which the website has to go through. The website development process can be compared to software development. There are different process models, which can be used for website development. The common models include:
- System Development Life Cycle
- Prototyping Model
- Rapid Application Development Model
- UML Based Development Model
However, in most of the models the process goes through the similar phases. In some models two phases may be clubbed together to make one process or a process may be divided between two processes. Having said that let’s see the phases in web development.
Steps in Website Development Process
Every company follows standard methodologies, modeling tools, framework and languages for developing a website. The plan for developing a website does not differ a lot from software development process.
Stage # 1 – Information Gathering
The first phase in this process is information gathering. It is also the most important phase, as any miscommunication at this stage hampers the entire process completely. At this stage understanding the company and its activities is necessary. It will also include understanding the goals, dreams, target audience, content, etc., of the company. Asking a number of questions will make things better and give a clear overview of the activities. Even a small doubt has to be cleared at this stage. This will make sure that there are no mistakes in the end product. Along with information, the exact requirement will also have to be understood. It is using the information gathered and the requirement specification that the website will be developed.
Stage # 2 – Requirement Analysis
After the required information has been gathered, the next phase in web design and development software process is requirement analysis. Total analysis of how the system developed is going to help and replace the existing system is done in this stage. At the same time, analysis also has to be carried out to see how the website is going to be amalgamated with the current system. The target audience of the website also needs to be taken into consideration.
Stage # 3 – Planning
The analysis should be able to come up with a cost-effective system. At this stage, the requirement analysis team can seek help from web designers, developers and not to forget, testers. This will help them to come up with a realistic plan to execute the project. The site map for the website should be prepared at this stage. The entire website may have to be divided into topics and sub topics. The division will prove to be useful for sorting the data that needs to be put up on the website. At the same time, a plan can be chalked out for navigation through the system. The planning should consistently take the end users into consideration. The interface should be made in such a way, that navigation between the different pages and sections of the website is easy. The plan needs to also take different forms, pop ups and flash, e-commerce applications, etc., into consideration and plan for them accordingly.
Stage # 4 – Design
After the planning phase comes the website design phase. In this phase the logo of the company, colors, background, etc., to be used in the website are taken into consideration. More than one prototype of web page design will have to be created. The prototypes are normally shown to the client. The client approves one of the many prototypes and then further work can be carried out on the website. This is a crucial phase in the portal development process. The prototype has to match the requirement and liking of the client. It is best to work in close coordination with the client at this stage, so that it does not result in problematic situations. The database team will take the database requirements into consideration at this stage. The database design will also be finalized simultaneously.
Stage # 5 – Development
After the design has been approved, the real development process starts. The process normally starts with the development of the home page. There are prototypes or templates created for the other pages. All the required elements on the website are implemented at this stage. Alongside the development of the website, the database developers will also work on database development.
Stage # 6 – Content Writing
Website content is an important part of the website. The content has to be so written, that the customers are attracted to the product or services offered by the company. The website content development can be assigned to professional content developers. These professionals do content writing for the website, which will take into consideration design templates, grammar, spelling and develop relevant and specific content.
Stage # 7 – Testing
Like for any software, the website also has to go through software testing life cycle. The software testing for websites is more rigorous. The testing procedure has to take into consideration the multi-user system, along with server requirements, etc. Web browser testing is also carried out to ensure that the website does indeed work in all the browsers. Both automated and manual testing procedures are carried out on the system. After all the in-house tests have been carried out, real time testing of the website begins.
Stage # 8 – Delivery
After the final approval of the website, the website is delivered. Normally the web development services also offer domain name registration along with web hosting services. You may want to look for low cost web hosting to lower the cost of the website. The site is uploaded on a web server and the last test is carried out. The last test ensures that all the necessary files have been uploaded and the site is fully functional.
Stage # 9 – Maintenance and Updating
This is an important step in the entire process. It is important to keep the website updated with the new requirements. For which the website may have to go through the entire cycle again. In case of any problem to the website, measures have to be taken to remedy the problem at the earliest.
After the website development process is over, measures will have to be taken to increase website traffic. Different measures will also to be taken so that the website is included in the web directories, which will help the website with better traffic and clientele. Website submission to different search engines may also be considered, as it will help to increase traffic to the website.