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A Beginner-Friendly Master Guide to Custom Web Development (7 Steps)

Alekh Verma | February 20, 2023
Custom Web Development

It's a no-brainer that today if you want to reap the benefits of online customers then you need to have a fully-functioning website. As we are speaking there are over 5 billion internet users around the world and we have over 2 billion websites. It’s a new way that the entire world functions around.

Here at eSearch Logix, we’re firm believers in building custom websites for each business. A custom website is true to the image of your brand and makes it easier for the business to rank on search engines. It is more scalable, effective for marketing campaigns, highly secure, and a smart long-term investment for the business.

In this article, we’re going to cover the 7-step process of building a custom website, so next time you’re approaching a development agency, you’d know what you're getting into.

Related: 10 Questions to Ask Before You Choose a Website Development Agency or Developer (esearchlogix.com)  

7-Step Website Development Process

You need to ensure the website is strategically planned to have marketing efficiency, optimized for search engines, and delivers impeccable technological performance. Let’s cover the seven-step process for building a custom website.

1.  Establish Your Website Goals

Building a custom website can be quite expensive and time-consuming which could entice someone to use an outdated design, but this could be a major setback on your part and might affect the entire development process. This is why it’s important that before you embark on the website development process, you need to define and establish specific goals that you wish to achieve with the website.

You should write down all the goals for your website, and any future changes to the goals that could have any effect on the project timeline, scope, or budget. We recommend you get a written sign-off on these goals from all key stakeholders.

Here are some typical examples of website goals:

  • You’re launching or rebranding your site so your goal is to build public interest and increase product education.
  • Your goal is to have an optimized content management process to be able to facilitate web administration through a user-friendly backend.
  • Your goal is to improve the organic traffic and SEO for your site.
  • To increase on-site sales, lead generation, and other types of conversions.
  • To improve customer stickiness and loyalty. Have repeat sales and return visits from a loyal customer base.

2.  Website Planning

Here's a quick overview of the key points of website planning-

  • Marketing Requirements & Functionality

The first phase of your website planning journey is to identify the key marketing and functionality requirements that you directly or indirectly need to achieve your project goals. Your marketing requirements can be as mundane as social media integrations and newsletter subscriptions, or something as complex as adding eCommerce features and user logins. The important thing is to have a clear understanding of what things you need in service of your ultimate goal.

  • Integration Requirements

You need to audit your current integrations to see which ones should be moved to the new website, which integrations you need to reassess, and which new integrations you need to add in support of the required functionalities and website goals.

  • CMS Requirements

You need to determine how much flexibility you’d need to create new landing pages and manage the old website content. Doing so would allow you to define the Content Management System (CMS) features to make your site admin experience more streamlined and intuitive.

  • Technology Requirements

You need to check whether you’re going to use any old technology stacks or if you’re open to the idea of using any new technology. This is why you must plan & define the tech environment of your site even before starting the development.

  • SEO Opportunities

You need to check that when your target audience is looking for products, vendors, or other solutions in your area, what are the keywords that they’re using to look for it? Knowing these keywords is important because it would directly affect your landing page & sitemap messaging to know to position your website for future SEO campaigns.

  • User Journeys & Sitemaps

With this step, the previous steps of planning would become more tangible and here your sitemap will define the other components of your website such as key landing pages, website navigation, a seamless user experience, and more.

  • Messaging and Conversion Funnels

If you want to build an effective website conversion funnel then the key to doing so is through messaging. To do so, you need to go through multiple steps where you need to outline the content for each landing page, provide a design blueprint, and to be able to define content requirements and the entire information flow.

  • KPIs

Now, you need to figure out how you can measure the success of your new website. Based on your specific goals, you can list out the user behavior, and technical, and marketing KPIs. These KPIs can be different things such as conversion rates loading speeds, organic traffic, and more.

3.  Design

Now that we have goals & planning out of the way, now it’s finally time that we focus on the designing part of your website. Here design and development are in service to the content of your website, this is why it was important for us to establish the previous two steps before anything else.

When it comes to designing your website, you need to decide if the design process should be just responsive or mobile-first.

As we have this out of the way, it’s time to now proceed and create your unique website elements:

  • Wireframes

Website wireframes are grayscale visual interpretations of the content structure of your landing pages and do not include branded elements, images, or other distractions.

  • User Interface (UI) Design

Your UI design is the final & static mock-up of your website. It is built based on your brand’s visual identity and approved wireframe designs.

  • Prototypes (Optional)

Your prototype is the animated version of your UI design. You can figure out how your live website would behave once created.

4.  Content Creation

Before we move toward the development phase of the website-building process, let’s get the content creation part out of the way. You need to make sure you have the content for your website landing page and other relevant content.

In the content creation part, this is what we primarily focus on-

  • SEO Copywriting: We help you create high-quality content for a landing page that is true to your business offering and brand voice. This content is created keeping various SEO parameters in minds such as keyword research, approved designs, and the content outline provided by the business.
  • Long-form Content: Our team of writers helps you create well-researched long-from content such as SEO blogs, eBooks, whitepapers, quizzes, and more. We ensure the content is thoroughly researched and the quality is assured for your resources section content.
  • Custom Visuals: Our video design and marketing teams can develop highly engaging and custom visual content to enhance your website’s user experience based on your approved landing page designs.

5.  Development

We finally reach the development phase of the whole website development phase after being done with the whole strategic and meticulous planning.

We begin this phase by first getting the tech specification document out of the way. In this document, the team of expert engineers defines the technologies, integrations, functionalities, and any other technical considerations that could help guide the backend and front-end development.

  • Backend Development: Even though it is invisible to the admins and end-user, backend development plays a prominent role in a website’s performance, technical SEO, security, scalability, and user experience. In this process, the backend developers code the website using carefully selected technologies, high-quality standards, and established processes.
  • Frontend Development: With the help of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, our frontend developer work towards turning the approved designs into an interactive, live digital experience.

Once it’s ready for review, you can experience your website in a restricted staging website environment.

6.  Quality Assurance

In the quality assurance phase, a team of QAs (quality assurance engineers) tests the website thoroughly to ensure that all things are done according to the plan and that the end product is ready for launch. They also run the final rounds of testing after the website has gone live.

The QA process usually takes care of testing all the important elements of a website experience such as responsiveness, speed testing, design elements, security, functionality, integrations, and more.

Any website development process needs robust pre- and post-launch QA checklists to make sure that the developed website we ready for users, admins, and marketing campaigns.

7.  Launch and Maintenance

The final launch process is pretty straightforward. Once you’re done with the meticulous QA testing and getting official approvals for the launch, the developers can finally push the website live which makes it accessible to all online audiences.

However, your work is not just done with launching a website. Any website also needs timely maintenance and other tweaks to ensure it’s running seamlessly. Most companies typically continue their development agency partnerships on website maintenance retainers. Doing so gives you peace of mind as you’re not required to take care of the website, and you can delegate security maintenance and monitoring, backups, and other technical tasks such as bug fixes, integrations, optimizations, and more, to the development agency.

Conclusion

Choosing to develop a website on your own can be quite a daunting and cumbersome task. Instead, you have the option to hire a development agency to take care of the entire development and maintenance process. However, make sure you’re working with people who understand your vision and can help you turn that into reality.

Alekh Verma

CEO and Founder at eSearch Logix Technologies!

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