At first glance, just have a good idea, some content and a good CMS, such as WordPress, to make a website. In reality, web development is much more complex than you might think. This article will give you an overview on the steps of creating a website. Make the checklist to be sure you have not forgotten anything!
1. Define the objectives of your website
Why do you want to create a website? It is important to define your objective in order to choose the technical solution that best suits your needs. For a simple blog, a WordPress page will be enough, but if you want to make an e-commerce site, look at WooCommerce or PrestaShop. It goes without saying that you will also need to set up a payment system and install the SSL certificate to secure the transactions. In short, you need to clearly define the goals of your website to find out what features to put in place.
2. Define the content of your website
The content of your website has two objectives: to please your public and to position your website well in the search engines. To do the latter, it is not enough, or even it is not advisable to put keywords everywhere. Google’s algorithms easily detect over-optimized content multiplying keywords. There are also dozens of other factors that impact the SEO of a website: code quality, “Title” and “Meta Description” tags, incoming links, structure and size of the site … Contrary to what can be imagined, SEO has many technical aspects. Good communication makes only a small part of it.
3. Prepare the models of the website
In the case of a complex web site with 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 of your site in maximum two clicks. Take a pencil and draw up a plan for your future site. Without going into details of its design such as logo or text, try to define your main pages and see how they will be linked together. To do this, you can also use some simple prototyping tools.
4. Now to webdesign
Now that you have defined the structure of the future website, it is time to focus more on its visual aspects. Let’s not forget that this is much more than making a website “visually pleasing”. Indeed, all its elements must meet the requirements of the UX. Ventilate the pages. It is better to put too few elements than too much. Enlarge the text so that it can be read even on small screens. A good UX also respects the trends of the design and, above all, the habits of the users. To understand what I mean, go to Facebook, G + and Twitter. Note that they all put the main menu at the top of the screen. We do not always think about it, but as a user we expect to find it precisely there. By trying to impose your visitors a different way of navigating, you risk impatiently, or even lose them.
5. Write 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 make it possible to make a basic website in just a few clicks, but they are not adapted to more complex projects. They also leave no room for creativity: you will only have one predefined template to fill in which you can possibly change some parameters like colors and fonts. If you want more freedom, a web developer or a digital agency will better meet your needs.
It is advisable to request a quote from several professionals. You will be amazed at how different proposals can vary for the same project. However, significant price differences sometimes indicate a problem with the specification. If it is not detailed enough, professionals may interpret your needs differently.
6. Any website must be mobile friendly
The Google algorithm gives priority to adaptive websites, that is, 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 mobile friendly. Emphasize this in your discussions with developers to make sure they have not forgotten this aspect so important to the success of your project.
7. Test, test and test again
Errors happen quite often in web development. Even if you hire the best developers to create your website, you can not be sure that it works perfectly without having done the necessary tests. Consider testing its operation at the end of each development phase, not just when the job is completely finished.
Do not hesitate to ask for help from outside the project. By dint of looking at your website every day, you’ve probably lost your critical eye. A new user will only need a few minutes to detect something that is wrong … just like that, completely by chance.
8. It is finally time to publish your website
After the tests, finally comes the time to launch your website. In the majority of cases, it is only necessary to click on “Publish”. You will then have to wait a few days before the Google bots go through your site to index it to the search engine.
However, you can do better than that! Start planning 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 groups on social networks where you can share the URL of your website.
9. Develop a digital marketing strategy
If you want to make a website for private use or for your personal pleasure, forget this point. For a corporate website, however, you will need to think about developing a digital marketing strategy. Sharing content on social networks is the bare minimum to give you visibility. Finally, do not forget linkbuilding if you want to position your website in the search engines.
10. Analyze the results and improve your website
Do you recall the first point on this list? Define the objectives of your website. Now it’s time to take a critical look at your project. From the first week after the launch of the site, analyze the results obtained. Google Analytics will tell you everything. What is the organic traffic to your website? Have you managed to generate a few leads? Do you have new users? Do not be discouraged if the first results do not live up to your expectations. Promoting a website is not easy and takes a lot of time.
The key is to continually improve your website … Analyze the behavior of your users to understand their needs. Perhaps a more direct presentation of your services on the homepage would enable them to better understand what you are doing? Maybe they want to contact you, but they can not find your contact information? It is certainly difficult to take a critical look at his own project, but it is the real key to success.