How To Plan and Execute a Great Website Design. EDEN’s 8 Stages of Website Development.
Recently, we came across an awesome infographic on web mag that features advice for approaching a web design project. We loved it because it summarizes our web design process in a concise graphic.
Ever wondered about the process that a website goes through before it hits the web and goes live? In this article we provide insight into our website development process, from strategy to implementation and launch. What does it really take to develop a great website that not only looks impressive, but is engaging and optimized for both visitors and search engines? It’s a lot more intensive than you might think! Keep reading to learn how Eden tackles web design projects, and get some insight into how we work to create the best possible website for your business that will generate RESULTS!
Stage 1: Gather Information & Insights
The first stage in any web design project is learning about our client and their business. We gather a lot of information to understand our client’s goals, objectives and business requirements, so that anything we build helps them meet their business needs and gets them results.
We collaborate with the client to:
- Define the purpose of the site. Is the site meant to be an online brochure for your business? Is it meant to increase brand awareness? Is it meant to sell products online or drive people to a physical location?
- Determine the site objective. Is the goal of the website to share information? Reinforce branding? Be Search Engine Optimized? Drive new leads? Sell products online? Drive people to a physical location? Generate phone calls? A site can have multiple objectives, but it’s important to know them from the get-go.
- Decide on functionality. Should the website have a mobile and tablet version? Should it be a responsive web design? Should it include a forum, blog, rotating promotional banner, search functionality, contact forms, newsletter sign-up, or any other special features?
- Select a primary target audience. Are we targeting a specific region or location? What is the primary and secondary demographic?
- Outline the budget for the project.
Stage 2: Site Planning & Development
Once all the requisite information has been gathered, we develop a site strategy and sitemap, followed by content development that will become the foundation for the website design. Typically we focus on creating search engine optimized content that will draw relevant traffic to the site, and capture visitors? attention when they land on a site.
Our content team creates:
- A sitemap, outlining all the pages that will be included on the site.
- Readable SEO copy for all the pages that will appeal to real people, but still follows Search Engine requirements and algorithms.
- Framework any extra features that need to be designed, for instance ecommerce capabilities, forms, newsletter sign-up, social media sharing buttons.
- Create Call-To-Actions and Promo Areas that will catch people’s attention and lead them to forms, phone calls, products, or any other actions we want them to take.
Stage 3: Design Layouts
After the sitemap and copy are finalized and approved by the client, Eden’s designers get started on the interface layouts. An effective web design makes it easy to navigate a site, access all the content and has clear CTAs throughout the site, such as phone numbers, forms and suggestions on what to do next.
As this stage, our designers:
- Create 2-3 web designs for the homepage. Based on feedback, we make tweaks and narrow it down to the optimal layout.
- Most layouts should include: logo, contact buttons, headers and footers, navigation, share buttons, search fields, etc.
- Choose appropriate fonts and graphics to accompany the content
- Create inside pages. After the homepage design is approved, our designers layout a sample subsection page. Once that is approved, we extend the design to include all pages on the site.
- Create mobile layouts. If the site requires a responsive web design, or a mobile site, we create layouts for smart phones and tablets so that those layouts are thumb and finger friendly – no need to pinch, enlarge and move screen around.
Stage 4: Get Feedback
Once all the layouts are completed, we share them with the client to review prior to passing on the project to the next stage. This gives the client a good opportunity to see how everything will look and read prior to making it all functional. This is a good stage for the client to make any additional adjustments to the layouts. Design changes can become more costly once the project is in the development phase.
Stage 5: Program the Site
After the layouts have been approved, website programming can begin. Programming makes your whole site functional, transforming the web design into a multi-dimensional site that can be clicked on, navigated and ultimately generate the actions you are looking for.
Our website programmers:
- Code the entire site based on the sitemap. Slice up the pages to make each element on the page function in the way it is supposed to work.
- Insert all the content based on all the layouts and copy provided.
- Add any deeper level of programming such as database back-ups for forms filled out, internal search functionality etc.
- Add responsive coding for mobile designs. This is what ensures the website reconfigures its layout for mobile and tablet devices so that it provides an optimal user experience on any device.
Stage 6: Test & Revise
The last stage before launch is testing to ensure the site runs smoothly and all features work as intended. Our website testing team combs through the site checking for errors or usability issues and proofs copy on the site. The client is then provided with access to the test site to review and verify that everything is to their satisfaction. Once the client approves everything, the site is ready to go live and launch for the public.
Stage 7: Ready to Launch!
Exactly as it sounds, this is when the site goes live. To accompany the site launch, Eden often creates PR pieces, email marketing campaigns and social media plugs to announce the launch and share the exciting news with our clients and followers.
Stage 8: Monitor & Analyze
Even after a site is launched, our job isn’t over yet. Once the site is live, we set up web analytics systems to track how the site performs and monitor lead generation. Using the data gathered we make adjustments to increase site performance.
- Set up Google Analytics & Webmaster tools. Web analytics tools provide valuable insight into the performance of the website.
- Set up goal tracking. Goal tracking allows us to track how traffic is converting into leads or sales. For example, we can track how many forms are filled out or how many purchases are made on the site.
- Create client reports. We send monthly reports to our clients to keep them up-to-date on the status and performance of their website.
- Pinpoint areas of opportunity. Tracking data provides us with insight into the site’s performance. With that data, we work with the clients to make changes that will boostSEO, site function, user engagement and lead generation.
Each website design created by Eden goes through this rigorous process to ensure that the final product looks flawless and provides a wealth of features that enhance our clients’ business performance. Our end goal is to combine our expertise in website design, programming, SEO and online marketing to build websites that pull in traffic and convert visitors into real leads.
If you’re interested in building a website that generates results, fill out our contact form, or phone us at 1-800-844-0106. We offer free website consultations over the phone.