Like most good things in life, a website is an ongoing process. A journey, not a destination. But anytime you begin the design or development of a new website, you’ll have to assess the project as a whole.
You’ll have to evaluate the different steps or phases that you, as a website owner, will be moving through. Only then can you be sure of a logical flow of development, a streamlined design process, and the long term evolution of your web property.
It could be anything as small as a simple blog, or as elaborate as an ecommerce site or a portal — no matter the complexity, a website can be always divided into a number of distinct phases.
That being said, here are the 7 phases of a website project:
No explanation needed here. This is when you plan and define the goals and purpose of the site you are creating. This phase will determine the identity of your website, the type of content that will go there, as well as the basic requirements for putting it online.
Some people also try to figure out the various ways they can attract visitors to their new website in this step, and this too, is a sound strategy.
If you are handling the complete design and development by yourself (or in-house), then this phase is redundant. But if you are designing something for a client, or outsourcing your project, then the contract phase is where the initial draft will be readied, a proposal submitted, and the work scoped out.
Financial terms will also be agreed during this phase, along with things like time frame and deliverables. Work begins, once all these factors are finalized.
Things start with the design first and foremost. You’ll be required to characterize your target audience, while constructing the identity of an ideal visitor. Determine the demographics, the preferences, and then make the necessary design decisions regarding color, layout, organization and navigation.
Software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator (or the various other design programs) will come into play here, which can be used to create and present your mockup.
An important consideration for this phase is to ensure that all pages on your site look good, and function properly on all the major browsers and their numerous versions.
It is absolutely vital to iron out any issues that you encounter while testing your website on PCs, the Mac, and mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. Test it on the most popular operating systems, at a variety of resolutions. Also validate the code, and fix any syntax errors that may be reported.
Basically, you have to make sure that all your visitors can navigate and use the website without any technical problems in this testing phase
Now comes the good part. Ideally you’d have already registered your domain name by now, purchased a hosting plan and set up your web server. Upload the site files to the host server, and do one final test to make sure everything is in tiptop shape.
You can now launch the website by submitting your URL to search engines and web directories. Also post to your social media accounts, and send out press releases, emails and newsletters announcing the launch of your brand new website.
Post-launch maintenance is the final phase where you perform routine upkeep of your website in order to ensure that the content of the site stays relevant and up-to-date. You’ll also need to add new content or edit the current material, while making small improvements and enhancements here and there.