When you’re looking to create a website for your business, it’s important to choose the right design and development team to do it for you. A website is your primary interface with your customers in the online world. Just like any other business asset, your website needs to generate a good return on the investment you put in, in terms of both money and time.
That’s why it’s important for you, as a client, to make the effort to understand what it really takes to create a good website. Understanding this process will help you better evaluate the returns on your investment, choose the right kind of freelancer or firm to create your site, and enable you to engage with them better. So let’s get started and walk you through the various phases of a website project.
This is the first step, where the client and agency discuss what’s required. While some established businesses may have a clear idea of what they want, many clients, especially new or small businesses, do not have a clear definition of what they want at this stage.
Here’s what you should work through in this phase:
Engage an agency who makes the effort to understand your business and can help translate your vision to the online world. Once you’ve engaged an agency, trust them and give them the creative license to work their magic.
Based on the project definition we’ve chalked out above, the agency can now move on to the planning phase. This usually involves quite a bit of research and brainstorming sessions to outline the ideas and concepts for the website. At times we may request the client for additional details or ask for feedback regarding certain ideas.
We map out the following during this phase:
Once the basic planning is done, the designer uses this data to develop the look and feel of the website. Design isn’t all abstract art, it’s more of a science — how visual elements impact the viewer and the emotions evoked.
The design part of the process includes the following steps:
This is where we go behind the scenes and do all that magic (aka coding) that brings your requirements and the designer’s vision to life. This is normally done on an internal server, not a live host — the rest of the world can’t access your site yet.
All this is usually done on an internal server. A good agency will keep you involved in the process. They’ll show you features as and when they’re developed and keep you posted of any delays, bottlenecks or changes.
Some clients (and agencies!) may be tempted to believe that there’s nothing more to it after the site is launched. But really, like any other asset, a website needs regular maintenance. Unless you’re technologically savvy enough to do it yourself, it’s usually better to ask the agency to provide the support to maintain your site.
This could include:
Phew! And this is just the overview. There are many layers and details to each of these steps. Each of these is crucial to ensuring your website brings in the desired results for your business — right from defining the website features and goals, the behind the scenes research and planning to ascertain the right architecture and visual impact of your site; to actually coding the details and making sure it all works well together. Don’t skimp on these. It may take time for you and your development firm to work through the details, but it’s better to front load the work in order to get the results you want.
Have you had difficulties with your website design? What other questions do you have about the process?