Developing a website is a challenging and daunting task, especially for those who don’t have enough experience in website development. Web designing requires expertise, skill set, and creativity to make an intuitive and user-friendly website.
However, if you are the one looking for a helpful and informative guide for creating your new website, then this article is a must-read. We’ve created a free website planning checklist for you to help you with your upcoming website launch.
But before diving deep into the main talk, let’s explore some of the basics of web development.
What Is Web Development?
Web development is the creation of web-based software that represents a brand idea, concept, product, or service. A website is basically created by combining different elements such as images, fonts, color, navigation, typography, and content.
The user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) play a vital role in website development. UI refers to making an easy-to-navigate website, while UX focuses on enhancing the user experience by creating a seamless and responsive website.
Website development is not just about taking a laptop and starting coding, it requires proper planning and research on each of the development modules. So, let’s begin exploring the 5 important steps that you must follow when you decide to create or launch a new website, or redesign an existing one.
Managing Web Projects – The Whole ShebangThe whole of the managing web projects series brought together in one link-up post, with some additional resources thrown in to help you on your web development journey covering everything from an inital brainstorm to quoting and contracts.
The first and foremost step involved in the website creation is to carry out detailed planning about the website. A well-planned website with a sensible structure can in help meeting your business goals and requirements.
Planning is a quite lengthy process as you need to plan out everything from the start to the end of the project. At this stage you will need to gather together all of the content that you are looking to place on the site, from the homepage welcome text to things like your privacy & cookie policies and what information you need on your contact forms.
When you are planning, you need to find out answers to several questions that are essential before even you start developing your website, this means that you’re able to structure the website in a way that enables you to layout your content in a sensible and easy to understand way for your visitors.
The basic questions that you need to identify answers to are:
What Is Your Purpose Or Goal In Creating This Website?
The first phase in website development is to identify the goals and objectives of the website. Ask yourself the purpose of building a website: What you want to accomplish through the website? Are you wanting to sell a product online or want to educate your target audience through your website?
The following sub-questions will help you to build your website narrowing down your goals and objectives you want to focus on for your project.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
You cannot provide service online without knowing who your target audience is so it’s vital to know about your target audience.
You can create your user persona and demographics which comprises age, gender, education, ethnicity, income, occupation, and region. It will assist you in gaining better insights into your customers.
What Are The User’s Needs And Requirements?
The website is of no use unless it solves the customer’s problem so you need to uniquely cater to their needs and requirements.
Identify the problems and provide necessary solutions to your customers because they visit the website in search of finding a solution to their problems.
What Is Your Preferred Domain Name?
Think of a unique domain name of your website as your website will be recognized through this domain name.
The domain name is basically the website address that defines your business or brand and impacts your SEO.
The domain name should reflect your company name or brand that you’re promoting. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box, a lot of the “top-level” dot com domains are now taken but customers will be willing to accept the newer TLDs such as IO, GG and others.
What Is The Budget Of Your Website?
When you’re done with the planning, it’s time to figure out the budget of the website. Creating a website within a budget set is crucial because sometimes different factors affect the cost of web development such as features, design, size, and functionality.
What Is The Target Deadline?
The next step is to determine the timeline of your project. Set the target deadline for each deliverable and assign the work accordingly. It will help you to complete and launch the project within the specified time period.
Content is the key to attracting and engaging more customers to your website. Clear, simple, engaging, and informative content can provide great value to visitors.
You will have identified what sort of information you want to convey to your target audience in the planning stage. You now need to take this content and turn it into something that makes sense for the users.
Map out the content for each page and include the most important information on your main pages while providing navigation elements to your site’s subpages. You can achieve this with the help of creating a proper information hierarchy for the website.
Wireframing is one of the most essential parts of website development that lets you create a structure or skeleton of your website.
It is a visual representation that includes the design, structure, layout, functionalities, and information architecture of the website.
Designers of the website will create a flowchart that defines how the information will flow on the website and where the content will be placed. It’s roughly sketched out on a piece of paper at the low-fidelity level and then created on software at the high-fidelity level to conduct usability testing.
The wireframe is the most effective way to communicate your ideas to your team, clients, and stakeholders.
Designing And Styling
Once the wireframes are ready, it’s time to add some details to the website like color, theme, font, typography, and other visual elements.
Maintaining consistency across the website is essential as your visitor can easily transfer past knowledge they had about your website to other pages. At this stage you may want to put together a style guide for your site that will detail what fonts will be used for what elements (Headings, subheadings, page text etc.), what the colors are for various elements (for example: red for heading 1, dark blue for heading 2 etc.)
It’s suggested to choose website icons and symbols that are popular and most familiar among the users. It will enhance the usability and learnability of your website. A simple and easy navigation bar on your website will help your users to easily navigate your website.
After that, proceed towards creating the user interface of the website with the help of web design tools such as InVision studio, Photoshop, Adobe Dreamweaver, Google web designer, etc.
Once the website UI is completed, you can then move to the development phase to code different features and functions of the website based on the requirements set out in the planning and wireframing stages.
At this stage, you need to follow a great marketing strategy to expand your business across different social platforms. Social media marketing and advertising can be very beneficial to take your business to the next level. Moreover, you can also create accounts on different social networks to gain more customers and to increase the reach of your business. You can also use the search optimization technique for organic reach and pay per click (PPC) for paid advertising.
So here we wrap up! I hope this free website planning checklist will help you in planning your new website. This list is truly ideal for beginners that help them to kick start their career in website development. Following these steps will make your website development process much simpler and more convenient.
Best of luck with your upcoming new website project! Do you have any more tips? Let is know in the comment below.