At first glance, you only need a good idea, some content, and a good CMS, such as WordPress, to make a website. In reality, web development is far more complex than you might think. This article will give you an overview of the steps of creating a website. Make the checklist to be sure you haven’t forgotten anything!
1. Define the objectives of your website
Why do you want to create a website? It is important to define your objective so that you can choose the technical solution that best suits your needs. For a simple blog, a WordPress page will be more than enough, but if you want to make an e-commerce site, look at WooCommerce or PrestaShop. It goes without saying that it will also be necessary to set up a payment system and install the SSL certificate to secure the transactions. In short, you need to clearly define your objectives in order to know which functionalities it is necessary to set up during the development of your website.
2. Define the content of your website
The content of your website has two objectives: to please your audience and to position your website well in search engines. To do the latter, it is not enough, or even it is not recommended to put keywords everywhere. Google’s algorithms easily detect over-optimized content multiplying keywords. There are, in addition, dozens of other factors that impact the SEO of a website: the quality of the code, the “Title” and “Meta Description” tags, the inbound links, the structure, and the size of the site… Contrary to what one can imagine, SEO has many technical aspects. Good communication is only a small part of it.
3. Prepare the website models
In the case of a complex website, which has dozens of pages, it is essential to think about its structure to make it as simple as possible. Ideally, the user should be able to access any page on your site in no more than two clicks. Take a pencil and draw up a plan for your future site. Without going into the details of its design such as the logo or the texts, try to define your main pages and see how they will be linked together. To do this, you can also use a few simple prototyping tools.
4. Now let’s go-to web design
Now that you have defined the structure of the future website, it’s time to focus more on its visual aspects. Let us not forget that it is much more than making a website “visually pleasing”. Indeed, all of its elements must meet the requirements of UX. Fan the pages. It is better to put too few elements than too many. Enlarge the texts so that they can be read even on small screens. A good UX also respects design trends and, above all, user habits. To understand what I mean, go to Facebook, G +, and Twitter. Note that they all place the main menu at the top of the screen. We don’t always think about it, but as a user, we expect to find it right there. By trying to force your visitors to use a different way of browsing, you risk making them impatient or even losing them.
5. Write the code
The project is now ready. It is finally time to implement it! If you have no knowledge of web development, you can still create a simple website with CMS such as WordPress or Joomla. There are also services that allow you to make a basic website in just a few clicks, but they are not suitable for more complex projects. They also do not leave room for creativity: you will only have a predefined template to fill in which you can possibly change some parameters such as colors and fonts. If you want more freedom, a web developer or a digital marketing agency will better meet your needs.
It is advisable to request a quote from several professionals. You will be amazed at how much the proposals can vary for the same project. However, large price differences sometimes indicate a problem with the specifications. If it is not detailed enough, professionals may interpret your needs differently.
6. All websites must be mobile-friendly
The Google algorithm gives priority to responsive websites, that is to say, adapted to mobile devices. Any SEO expert will tell you: it is difficult, if not impossible, to position your website in the search engine if it is not thought to be mobile-friendly. Insist on this point during your discussions with the developers to be sure that they have not forgotten this aspect so important for the success of your project.
7. Test, test and once again test
Mistakes happen quite often in web development. Even if you hire the best developers to build your website, you cannot be sure it will work perfectly without doing the necessary testing. Remember to test its operation at the end of each development phase, and not only when the work is completely finished.
Also, don’t hesitate to ask for help from people outside the project. By looking at your website every day, you have probably lost your critical eye. A new user will only need a few minutes to detect something wrong … like that, completely by chance.
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8. It’s finally time to publish your website
After the tests, it’s finally time to launch your website. In most cases, all you have to do is click on “Publish”. You will then have to wait a few days before Google bots browse your site to index it to the search engine.
However, you can do better than that! Start preparing to launch your site a few weeks before D-Day. You can write a press release and prepare a list of contacts (journalists, bloggers, entrepreneurs) to whom you will send it. Also, think about finding social media groups where you can share your website URL.