How to become the owner of your…
The site is a simple thing: Six steps in the development and production of a web project
At first glance, even the simplest website requires you to go through several standard steps and procedures in the process of its development and manufacturing. The first step would be the ordering of the source information and the latter step would be the solution of technical problems. If you carefully read this article to the end and follow all these stages of work, you could become a happy owner of a modern useful resource, distinguished by technical perfection and informativeness. In short, your site would have all the characteristics necessary to make it a reliable assistant and an integral part of the business that its owner is engaged in. Of course, all teams of developers work differently, but there are the main characteristic stages that each team goes through:
We will try to detail each of those stages.
- Collection of information
- Design development
- Production: programming, imposition, installation
- Installation and testing
- The site maintenance
First of all, you have to collect and analyze information for your future successful website. In order to think over the layout and design of the site, it is necessary to take into account many aspects and nuances.
Generally speaking, the first step is the most important one, and it is very important to have a firm understanding of the goals and objectives of the site in the context of the profile of the company for which the site is being created. It is important to correctly assess the goals and prospects of the company’s business, and most importantly - to correctly assess the beneficial impact that a website can have on your business.
It is important that the web designer asked many questions before starting the work. If this does not happen, you can safely part with it - there are almost no chances for a quality work performance. If he tires you with detailed inquiries, trying to better understand your business and evaluate the volume of production functions to be automated on the website - do not be lazy to answer it in detail, it is entirely in your interest.
Before the technical task is completed, you must necessarily discuss the following items with the web studio manager:
The general site purpose:
What do you want: to provide information to the website visitor, to
promote the service or to sell the product?
What goals do you want to achieve? There are two most common options for answering this question: you would like to make money or distribute some information to one or another audience.
Identify the target audience. Can you specify a group of people who would help you achieve your goals? It is useful to imagine an “ideal” visitor to your website. Define the required parameters - age, sex, and interests. This is extremely important in order to choose the content, layout and style of your website design.
Think about the content of the site. What information should be on the site making it popular with the people of your target audience? What would these people look for? Do they look for specific information, some product or service? Would these people want to place an online order or receive a consultation?
Certainly we could more accurately describe the structure of our website using the information collected and systematized at the first stage. This stage of work is sometimes called the compilation of a site map.
The site map is a list of all the main thematic sections of the site, as well as a list of subsections, if any. This work is not in vain, the site map is very necessary and useful document for you. After the site map is created, you can much more clearly imagine where to put this or that content, how to plan the navigation system.
You must always remember that the website visitor is your potential or active client. These are the same people who would learn the details about your goods or services. Certainly, you expect that they would purchase these goods or they would order some services. A high-quality user interface does not just create convenience for users. A good interface lays the foundation for significant sales levels on your site.
At the site planning stage, the web designer should help you decide which technologies should be implemented with the site’s software algorithm. First of all, you need to choose the type and “model” of the content management system of the site.
Do I need a feedback form on the site? Should I equip the site with an interface to provide online consultations? What kind of idea should be the basis for the further development of site algorithms? Should this be some kind of framework, such as WordPress or Yii? And, maybe, in simple cases it is necessary at all to do without standard CMS and to execute the algorithm of a site on so-called “pure PHP”?
Anyway, for newcomers the question of technology choice is rather complicated and breaks up into a multitude of sub-questions, each of which is worthy of a separate article. Therefore, if the customer is inexperienced in the technical stuff of web programming, here he would have to trust the advice of a specialist, hoping that a good reputation would prove to be sufficient insurance against erroneous decisions.
The volume of information on the future site, which we managed to collect in the previous paragraphs, allows us to move on to thinking over the appearance of the site, or, as they say, to its design.
The most important factor that we should take into account here is the target audience of the future site. The appearance of the site specially designed for adolescents, for example, would differ significantly from the design in the case of the development of the official resource of any financial institution.
During the development of the sketch, you should not forget about specific elements such as the company logo or corporate colors of the company, which would provide an original appearance and clearly identifies the business structure of the customer. The technology of design development is that the artist draws a sketch of the site. Usually this sketch is executed in the form of a “.jpg” file, which, after approval by the customer, would serve as the basis for the HTML layout of the site layout. In addition to the sketch of the main page, it is necessary to develop the design of internal pages, and also to invent, draw and execute in the digital mode all the special symbols, icons, lines and frames.
It is important that at this stage you work as closely as possible with the designer. The exchange of opinions, assessments and ideas would favourably affect the final design of your website.
Here comes the moment when you can embark on the embodiment of all ideas and sketches in the form of a real site. The specialization of the personnel performing this stage directly follows from the name of this item: the maker-up creates the template of the site proceeding from the design sketches. The programmer invents and installs the site algorithm. The development team implements interactive elements, such as a feedback form, a form for editing personal data, the registration page, the order page, the cart page etc.
Here it is necessary to explain to unsophisticated readers that in most cases the programmer does not need to program anything, by and large. The thing is that many functions of the site have long been programmed. Paraphrasing the famous line from the good old Russian movie “Operation Y and Other Shurik's Adventures”, one could say “Everything is programmed before us”. However, not all so simple. There are many tasks, especially for solving complex or non-standard problems, where you can not do without programming.
Even if the programmer does not have to write voluminous specialized blocks of software, the web-studio staff must have some especial skills in the fields of processor environments and frameworks. Therefore, the customer should be consulted by specialists who are highly qualified in this matter.
The imposition, programming and installation are inseparable from each other, as a rule, and are performed in a single production process. The maker-up embeds the ready blocks of HTML/CSS code to the program modules, then the resulting code is tested in an all-in-one project. If the customer participates in the mentioned process, this circumstance positively affects the final results of the work. The customer can perform basic testing and current assessment of the appearance and functionality of the future site, at least.
At this stage, the webmaster has to refine the small details of the project and test the website. In large companies, there are corresponding official units for testing this. The tester should check the full functionality of the forms and scripts, make sure of the compatibility of various modules and blocks, verify all the pages in different browsers, test the feedback form, the online store checkout page, etc.
In addition to the external verifying performed by the tester, it is also necessary to check the validity of the HTML/CSS code. Of course, this can be done with the help of special online services. However, at this stage a human must perform a large amount of work also. Hence it is clear that a qualified web designer in our time must have a huge bag of special knowledge, a good understanding of modern standards and tools for developing a website.
At the startup phase, the webmaster must perform several technical operations, on which we would not go into detail in this article. We note only a few of them: registration and modifying of domain settings, creating the proper configuration of the web server, securing the site to protect against possible encroachments on its integrity from the external attacks.
Another important step is the SEO-tuning of the site. The webmaster must ensure the correct content of the site in terms of suitability for indexing by search engines such as Yandex and Google. Since this topic is difficult for an unprepared reader, we would not dwell on it in detail. We only note that the so-called Metadata (title, description, keywords) is very important in this context. In addition, from the point of view of SEO, specific requirements are imposed on the content of the site. A novice customer should understand that SEO procedures are very important for the future of the site, otherwise your new project may be a "dead weight" because no one would visit it.
So, your site is ready and works great. But you must not stop there. You need to attract visitors to a new site in order to acquaint them with the content of your services and/or with the description of products and goods. It is very important that visitors come to the site more and more, this would mean that your site is very high-quality. Remember that you can order the content management service for your site. (By the way, the “Ra-Solo” web-studio could provide such service for you. We make changes to the content of the site and implement additions.) As a result of this, the site will always contain up-to-date information.
The technical part of the site also requires maintenance, in addition to content. Firstly, if the information on the site is constantly changing, then you will need regular site backup. Secondly, it is necessary to perform a periodic update of the content management system in order to maintain the site’s security at the proper level. Furthermore, the web developer has to qualitatively improve the site functionality, to maintain the appropriate engine components, for example, plug-ins and forum management systems, the media content displaying tools.
The main thing is to maintain a good partnership with the site developer. This will allow you to bring your site to the required business level and solve all the tasks.