The first step to taking your business to new heights is creating a strong business website. This website should serve as an online portfolio of your products and services that also showcases some interesting and important information about your company. A successful business website has a huge impact on how a customer perceives a company but it can’t be built in a day or a week. However, if one devotes enough time and effort, your company website can become a real moneymaker that keeps your visitors coming back. In this blog post, we explain the phases of the website development process and provide some tips to create a powerful web presence.
PHASES OF WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT
With all modern tools and CMS Systems, almost anyone can build a website but it takes some skill to make a website fit into your company’s media brand strategy. A company website is just one of the factors relevant for building your media brand on the Internet and you have to clearly identify the site’s role in the big picture. You need to define the overall objective of the website, set some desirable metrics, and list the steps needed to achieve these objectives. Additionally, you’d also need to determine the proper budget and resources from the very beginning. Therefore, a competitive analysis using PEST and SWOT diagrams can help a lot.
User experience shows how a user perceives the website. With this in mind, define the following:
- Types of users: Types of users who will use the website.
- Intentions of the user: What tasks users want to accomplish with the website.
- User personas: Develop fictive examples of real users to satisfy the needs of that potential market segment.
- Use cases: Develop fictive scenarios of how a user will use the system to accomplish a specific goal. Describing all the actions the user takes to interact with the system and how the system responds.
Read more about user experience here: 3 step guide to a remarkable user experience.
1. Design the architecture
You have to start somewhere and designing the website architecture is the first point. At this point, the team needs to generate the set of important decisions about the site map, page semantics, and technology in use. The Site Map provides the logical set of the website. It includes all the primary pages or templates the website contains. Given that, its goal is to create a meaningful navigation system.
In the implementation phase, developers use specific technology languages to create the website design, page templates, set the interface design and develop the entire application.
Before the system goes live, you should test it, in order to address potential issues. You can use unit testing, Integration testing, systems testing and load testing, in a chronological order.
After the design and development of the website are done, it’s time to launch the website. Make sure you have all the servers, connectivity and security determined so that the website runs properly on all user devices.
WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
A great website relies on more than good color choices and pretty fonts. You have to provide relevant content for website visitors. In order to do this, firstly, you need to set the main goal of the website. What do you want to achieve with the website? Who is going to use it? What are those people interested in? Answer all these questions and you’re setting the path to creating valuable content for the target audience.
Planning & Design
After you have all the information you need, create a detailed plan. By the time, know exactly how to achieve the goal, target audience and content strategies you identified with the first step. Create a site map, then determine the navigation and the technology you’ll use for the website. The next thing to do after this is to choose and organize the website content, including logos, slogans, website colors, and other identity elements. Make sure they are as attractive to the human eye as they can be.
Development & Maintenance
In the development process, you create the actual website. The website functionality depends on many factors combines site map, navigation, technology, and/or technical support choices. For this reason, take all these elements into consideration. Also, keep in mind that different types of websites have different types of focus. E-commerce websites make sure the customer gets to the product he needs fast and easy, while banking websites are extremely reliable and require intensive IT support. Once a website is alive, the work ain’t finished. The Internet is an agile place indeed and websites need maintenance in the long run. Adapt your website’s content and look constantly and make sure you have all the IT support resources to ensure reliability.
BUILDING A POWERFUL WEB PRESENCE
Think about ser needs & requirements
Visitors come to a website for many reasons. Websites are the first instance they go to, to find out more about a company’s products or services. Some want to find out more about the competition, others to establish a partnership, or get contact information. Given that, a website should satisfy all these different user needs. The web presence presents the company to potential clients. Additionally, it should reinforce the overall public image of the organization. Therefore, the company website should attract new visitors, encourage them to stay and explore it, and provide them with consistency and harmonic user experience.
Make your site mobile responsive
More than 62 % of shoppers make purchases using their cell phones, and this number is only expected to grow. Additionally, research shows that up to 40% of consumers will go to a competitor if they have a bad experience with a mobile website. If you want to build a strong business website, you absolutely must cater to mobile users.
Make the website easy to find
You need to have a descriptive domain name that customers can associate with your company. You can even buy several domains (website.org, website.com, etc.) that point to the website. If you want to know more about what makes an effective domain name, take a look at this article.
Create an easy navigation
Try limiting your top-level navigation menu to five clearly-labeled tabs and have related pages organized under them. Also, it’s very important to have a clear way to get visitors back to the home page despite the page they are on. Very often, a visitor will land on some other page and will subsequently want to know who owns the website. Keep this in mind.
Need for speed
A study by SOASTA found that 83% of surveyed people said slow websites cause them to have a negative reaction to a brand or company. Moreover, 28% of respondents said they will go to a competitor’s website if the first website they visit takes too long to load. Having a fast website isn’t something that’s nice to have anymore. It’s a necessity! Make sure your website runs smoothly, all your videos, images, and downloads are optimized to use quickly and that you’re using a host that can handle your bandwidth demands.
Have a clear CTA
Each page on your website should have a purpose. You need to determine what you want to entice the reader to do on every page, whether that’s to sign up, call, buy something, download a file, etc. If you determine this, the next step is to create a button that clearly points to the desired action. Finally, don’t forget to keep it above the fold if possible to make it easier for visitors (you don’t want to make them scroll down to take an action).
Measure the results and keep improving
Last, use metrics to measure results and follow your progress. Some standard metrics are:
Visits: the number of visitors that landed on the homepage;
Click-through-rate: the number of clicks visitors made compared to the number of times your website appeared in search engine results,
Bounce Rate: the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.
Time on page: how much time visitors are spending on a website.
Nowadays, there are many web-based analytic tools that ensure better and fast measurement. Try with: Google Analytics, Piwik, etc.
Overall, developing a website isn’t just about coding, as you can notice. Keep in mind all the aspects included. Do this and you will ensure a powerful web presence for your company, and great user experience for your potential clients.