The Best Website Development Process – a step-by-step breakdown of each phase with definitions, examples, and milestones

The Best Website Development Process - Definitions, Milestones and more.png

Breaking down the website development process

So you might’ve heard once or twice (from us, today) that a well-crafted website is pivotal to the success of your business. But, let’s face it, building a great business website can feel like a huge puzzle. That’s where teaming up with a cool, professional web design crew makes all the difference. Imagine having experts who not only get the techie stuff sorted – from drawing up those first blueprints to putting the final touches on your site – but also make the journey fun and collaborative. Such collaboration ensures not just the seamless execution of each crucial stage—from initial planning, content strategy, and detailed design to robust development, meticulous testing, and post-launch support—but also guarantees a website that really clicks (get it?) with your audience. A professional team brings to the table a wealth of expertise, innovative solutions, and a commitment to quality, all essential for creating a dynamic, responsive, and user-friendly website that not only aligns with your business goals but also stands out in the competitive digital marketplace.

Our tried-and-true web design and development process involves key stages and milestones, each of which plays a critical role in the overall success of the project. So, if your web team isn’t giving you a schedule breakdown with defined milestones, consider that a red flag!

So, let’s dive into just what we think a website design and development timeline should look like. Let’s go!

Discovery & Project Planning:

Discovery is all about starting your project off on the right foot and keeping it there. We get to know you and your project as quickly as possible to provide a great base for our relationship going forward!

  • Goal Identification: The client and web development team define the goals of the website, its target audience, and the key messages it should convey. This will keep both parties on track during the entire project.
  • Scope Definition: Here’s where we clarify the boundaries of the project, including what web pages and features the site will have to fulfill the project’s goals.

Web Strategy:

  • Sitemap: Think of a sitemap like the blueprint of a house but for your website. It’s a plan or map that shows all the different pages your website will have and how they link to each other. It’s super helpful for getting a bird’s-eye view of the whole site and making sure you don’t miss anything important.
  • Page outline: This is where they fill out each page of a PDF that corresponds to each page on their site. they fill out the Google page description, name of each page, and write us a bulleted list (an outline) of what kind of info goes on each page.

    For example, the homepage might look like this:
    • Intro paragraph
    • Link to our three core services
    • Link to the About page
    • Testimonials
    • 6 Key Benefits
    • Lead Magnet

Design Phase:

  • Wireframes: Wireframes are the bare bones of your website’s layout. Imagine drawing stick figures before painting a masterpiece. They’re simple, black-and-white layouts that show where items like buttons, images, and text boxes will go on your website. It’s not about making it look pretty yet, just about getting the structure right.
  • Website Style Guide: Here’s where a little color comes in. This will become a rulebook for your website’s look. It includes the colors you’ll use, the type of fonts, how big your headers should be, and so on. It keeps everything consistent and on brand, so your website doesn’t end up looking like three different businesses.
  • Mockup: Now we’re talking showbiz! Mockups are where your website starts looking like, well, a website. They’re the full dress rehearsal before the grand opening, showcasing design elements in all their glory. If wireframes are the stick figures, mockups are the full-color drawings. They’re much more detailed and show what the final website will look like with all the design elements in place. It’s like seeing a photo of the finished room, with all the paint, furniture, and decorations.
  • Prototype: A prototype is your website’s test drive. It’s not the open road yet, but it’s more than just revving the engine. Even though it’s not live on the web yet, it looks like it is. You can click around, feel the interface, and pretend it’s live – minus the internet fame.

Content Collection:

  • Copywriting: You’ll provide the website text, but don’t worry if you’re not the next Hemingway. We’re here to help refine your words, writing snappy headlines, captivating descriptions, or persuasive calls-to-action that aren’t only engaging but also clear and SEO-friendly. Our goal is to make sure your website’s content truly reflects your brand and connects with your audience.
  • Images, Elements, and Video: For your website’s visual flair, we start with what you have – any images, videos, or elements sent during your initial onboarding that tell your brand’s story. Don’t worry if you think they’re not enough; we’re here to jazz things up! Our team will complement your materials with additional visuals – from sleek images to cool illustrations – ensuring your website looks fantastic and feels cohesive.

Development:

  • Front-end Development: This is where the design comes to life. Front-end development is all about turning those mockups into a real, working website that people can interact with. It’s the coding that affects everything you see on the website, like how the buttons work when you click them.
  • Back-end Development: Here’s where the website’s brain is built. Back-end development is all about the behind-the-scenes wizardry that makes your website tick, process information, and not throw a tantrum when users ask it to do things.

Testing:

  • Functionality Testing: Ensuring all features work as intended across different browsers and devices. We don’t just check one computer and one type of browser. We test on Chrome, Safari, and more as well as mobile, tablet, and desktop devices.
  • Performance Testing: Checking the site’s speed and optimizing it for better performance. We want it to load super fast, right?
  • Security Testing: Making sure the website is secure from potential threats. And with your maintenance package, you’ll have a backup of your site just in case.

Launch:

  • Final Review and Launch: The site is reviewed one last time and then uploaded to a server and launched. Are you ready for the spotlight?

Post-Launch Activities:

  • Maintenance: Regular updates keep your website out of harm’s way. Our website maintenance packages are available at launch and include things like Daily Backups, Software Updates, 24/7 Security Monitoring, and much more. We’re on the clock for any website fixes, issues, and improvements, but most of all this insurance policy protects your site so that you never need that site backup in the first place!
  • Content Updates: With our Web Master package, we’ll help you keep your site fresh with new blogs, images, events, or other marketing copy. You want to keep your users coming back to see the latest updates.
  • Evaluation + Bug-fix: For 10 days post-launch, we assess the site’s performance against its goals and user feedback and keep it running bug-free!

Each of these milestones is crucial to the project’s success, helping to ensure that the final website meets the needs of its users and achieves its intended goals.

Need a partner in your corner? Whether we built your site or not, we’re here to get your website running like clockwork!

Check out our Website Maintenance Packages.