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The 7 Phases Of A Website Project

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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:

1. Planning

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.

2. Contract

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.

3. Design

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.

4. Building

Next up is the crucial development phase, the backend coding — all that fun stuff. You turn your website mockup into a functional web page using technologies like HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript and whatnot. It will come down to whether you are creating a basic, static site or a programmed, dynamic one.

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.

5. Testing

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

6. Launch

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.

7. Maintenance

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.

 

Marcus Daniels is a real geek. He loves to get his hands really dirty with CSS, PHP and HTML 5. He loves to build, destroy and rebuild websites.

3 Comments
  • DaddyWarbucks

    How long would you recommend between testing and launching? Is there an amount of time I ensure that I test before I consider the launch?

  • Mario29

    Nice approach and the best way to do it. Maintenance is much more important than you realize if you’ve never done it. Once the website is up and running, you’re not done. Maintenance is almost as much work as everything else combined in my experience!

    • terry10

      I’ve found this to be true as well. I’m guessing like most businesses getting it up and running is difficult, but not as difficult as you may think. But keeping it running what’s it’s started is the tough part.

Evaluation

Find The Traffic Of Any Website With SimilarWeb

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If you have a particular site you are competing with, or just want to find out the traffic of any website or blog, there are a number of online tools that can help.

Most of them work quite differently from one another, in how they calculate the numbers, but solutions like Alexa, Quantcast, TrafficEstimate and even SEQquake provide valuable insights. Now you can add another neat tool to this list — one that goes by the name of SimilarWeb.

In theory, it is impossible to know exactly how much traffic a website gets, as that information is private to the owners of that particular website.

Tools that promises to provide these numbers does so based on their own research, algorithms and estimates. Some even include logs from Internet service providers in their statistics. Point being, you should always take this data with a grain of salt.

They are guesstimates, at best.

But still a good source to find out website traffic and demographic information. SimilarWeb works the same way, and one advantage it provides (against other such tools) is that a fair amount of data is available for free. Other provides charge monthly fees for access to their statistics.

So simply input the URL of a website that you want to gather some insights on, and the tool will give you a brief report about that site, along with their traffic estimates.

The numbers presented are quite close, though obviously not accurate.

Obviously, the bigger a site, the more precise an estimate it will provide. For example, TechCrunch lists on their ‘Advertise with Us’ page that they receive 34 million monthly page views. And sure enough, SimilarWeb provides numbers in this range.

However a lot of smaller sites are not enumerated, understandably.

As it stands, though, this probably is one of the better traffic estimation tool available online, and you can use it to gather some good results and compare how your sites compare with your competitors.

It also works with mobile apps, so give it a try at this link.

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Evaluation

Understanding Market Segmentation

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Online marketing may have changed the rules in certain capacities, but classic marketing principles still apply. You establish goals for your online business, specify measurable objectives, and then get your promotions underway.

Your time and budget will constrain just how much you can spend on marketing, and this in turn effects how much traffic your websites (or blogs) receive.

Understanding market segmentation, then, becomes important.

No matter the type of business, you need to locate where your target audience hangs out on the web, and discover the variations — deviations like people who are older, younger, wealthier or more educated, ones that are more motivated by price than features, their geographical location, and all that.

The process of dividing your market into smaller sets of prospects and grouping them by certain characteristics they share is essential for an applicable marketing strategy that brings quantifiable and measurable results.

Here are a few forms of market segmentation, with a brief description of each:

Demographic segmentation

The most basic type of segmentation, which sorts your audience by factors like age, gender, education and socioeconomic status. Best suited for B2C (business to consumer) companies.

Vertical industry segmentation

This one is for B2B (business to business) providers. If you offer your products or services directly to other companies, then you will have to target the various elements in that defined industry.

Geographic segmentation

Another basic segmentation technique. You target your potential customers, or website visitors by their location. Target areas could be as small as your local neighborhood, as broad as a country, or even all the way up to a continent.

Job segmentation

Here you identify the various decision makers like engineers and managers in your B2B sales cycle. Could also be used in a B2C context, depending on what you offer.

Lifecycle segmentation

Consumers need different products at different stages of life. If you have an information product, you surely don’t want to pitch it to young kids. Classify your customers depending on which stage of life they are in, like teens, young singles, families, retirees and elderlies.

Psychographic segmentation

Fancy name for profiling your consumers by their values, beliefs, lifestyles, attitudes and opinions.

Specialty segmentation

This breakdown targets a custom narrowly defined market. For example, iPhone users that are using your app, or 9 to 16 year old male students in a school. Comes in handy when you have clearly defined targets that can be sorted out and distinctively outlined.

Now, the key point here is that you discover these variations by experience.

Ideally you’d want to focus on one market segment at a time, and then invest in the next market segment in order to maximize the returns from your limited marketing time and advertising budgets. Then again, this is something that you will only get good at once you indulge in.

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Evaluation

5 Factors That Make A Good Domain Name

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Domain names. The real estate of the Internet. Chosen correctly, these are often the deciding factor between just another online business and one that is flourishingly lucrative.

Similar to how a good location is vital for a bricks-and-mortar business, a good domain name is the cornerstone of your virtual online venture. Identifying good domain names, though, is part art and part science. We’ll examine the science segment of it.

A rundown of 5 factors that make a good domain name:

They are short

Size, in this particular case, does matter. All the three and four letter words and most of the five letter words .com domains are already taken for a reason. If you are starting out with a new name, try and keep it under 10 characters if you can, and definitely under 20 characters.

Obviously, there are some cases where you want to choose a full phrase (hint, hint), but when it comes to domain names, one-word domains are pure gold.

Easy to spell

The length of your domain names amounts to nothing, unless it is easy to spell. Avoid foreign and unusual words, and stay away from complex combinations of letters so as to avoid misspelling. The last thing you want your visitors is to type in your domain, misspell it, and end up somewhere else.

Also try and avoid hyphens and numbers when you can. Domain names that include dashes and digits are cheaper on the market for this very reason — it is easy for people to skip or forget the hyphen and mix up the numbers.

Easy to remember

This builds upon the previous factor in that you want your domain name to be as simple as possible so that your regular visitors can remember it. Not many Internet users are into bookmarks these days. They just memorize their favorite sites, and enter them in the address bar when they want to visit one.

An exception might be if you are registering the domain name for a company or organization that represents the initials of that business. Or maybe even a memorable message.

Descriptive or brandable

You want your domain to be either descriptive or brandable. Preferably both. A large chunk of your visitors will come from search engines, or direct links from other websites. The best domain names are appealing, yet at the same time give your visitors an idea about what your site is before they enter.

Brandable domain names, on the other hand, are also efficient in that they can make your visitors associate the name of your website with the content you provide.

A .com extension

Business and organizations will (and should) want to register other extensions like .org or .net, or even some local geographical ones, but a .com extension is always the best way to go. It is popular and everyone is aware of it. Repeat visitors will often type in your domain name and follow it with .com.

Nothing wrong with a modern, fancy extension but you don’t want to lose potential visitors this way.

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