By John Jenks 24 July 2013, 10:51AM
Steps of Website Development
Today, we’re continuing our introductory series on explaining the different parts of our business with the steps of website development. While each website is unique and requires a fresh perspective, all websites generally follow these steps: Mock-Up, Design, Development, Troubleshooting, and Launch.
Before beginning any project, we meet with our customer to discuss their specific needs and preferences. If the company has established branding or sales materials, we will usually incorporate that into the design. The mock-up stage is intended to ensure we are on the same page with the customer. The mock-up establishes the color scheme, arrangement of content and information on the pages, and includes placeholders for each feature to be developed. First we design the mock-up and provide a PDF of the Home page. Upon approval, we move to the next step of development: Design.
Once we are in agreement on the look of the Home page, we begin design each of the other page templates. Many of the pages will look similar, but they tend to be grouped into categories: the Home page, the other primary pages, galleries, and blog pages. There will be some differences based on the content that is provided, but they usually follow the same theme and arrangement. Once these page templates are designed, we move onto the Development stage.
In the development stage, we incorporate the content into the page templates and begin programming the desired functionality into the website. Popular features might include events calendars, contact forms, galleries, social media integration, and E-Commerce stores. Time spent on website development varies and depends mostly on the amount of content and features to be incorporated. When we develop websites, we do the work on what is called a ‘local installation’, meaning we develop the website using our own computer as a server. This way, we can develop and test the website before it is launched publicly. When development is completed, we proceed to the Troubleshooting stage.
Invariably, there are a few glitches in development that need to be cleaned up. In the troubleshooting stage, we comb through the website, testing each feature that was included and ensuring everything functions properly. When we discover a glitch, we correct it. Spellchecking is also incorporated into the troubleshooting stage, as well as ensuring all photos, videos, and other content displays as intended. Once everything looks as it should, we prepare to launch the website publicly.
During the final stage of website development, we prepare all of the files to be moved to the website’s hosting server, which is what allows the website files to be broadcast on the Internet. We move the files to the server that will host the website, and then change the name servers, which direct your domain name to the hosting servers. We sign into the account where the domain name was originally purchased and point the domain name to its new online address. This ‘change of address’ normally takes several hours to register, but the process is almost completed once that occurs. When we see the change has taken place, we review the website once more to ensure everything registered properly and correct anything that is out of place. Once that is completed, the website development process is finished.