The web development process consists of several equally important stages, the number of which depends on the type of website or web app you want to get. For example, you may need a simple static website or an informational portal, or a selling web app.
Starting a web development project, it is very important to determine the necessary tasks and schedule them to manage time effectively.
Let’s look at the most general process of website development, which includes seven main stages:
- preparing content
- testing and launch
7 key stages of web development
Many specialists should be involved in the web development process on different stages. Even though each of the stages takes different time, all of them are equally important.
Let’s consider them in detail.
At the first stage, it is necessary to answer the questions about the target audience and the goals of the website. It is good to have a detailed plan because the future design and functionality depend on this information. It is much easier to consider UI/UX in the beginning than to spend time and money to make changes in the end.
Approximate duration: 1-2 weeks.
At this stage, the developer creates the website architecture, the sitemap and the wireframe taking into account the previous information.
A sitemap is the structure of the website. It illustrates the connections between pages, starting from the main page. Sitemaps can be designed for users to help them understand how to navigate the website, or for search engines for SEO purposes.
A wireframe is needed for the visualization of the interface, it is an empty schematic template without design elements. It shows how and where different elements (header, buttons, tabs, etc.) will be implemented on the pages. This way, the owner of the future website can take a look at how convenient it will be to navigate and use the website or web app.
Also, the planning stage is the time to define the technology stack, including programming languages, CMS, and frameworks.
Approximate duration: 2-6 weeks.
At this stage, designers come up with a colorful layout of the website, with the logo and images, considering the target market and key goals of the website. The layout shows general functionality and structure, it can look like a sketch or a detailed image. After the layout is made, and the design of pages is approved by the client, it is time to move on to the next step.
Approximate duration: 4-12 weeks.
Preparing the content
This time-consuming stage can start at any moment in parallel with other steps. Most often, clients prepare content themselves. During writing the website content, it is also important to take into account the target audience. Content should be actual and have a call to action. It is about creating exciting titles, writing interesting texts, and selecting relevant images. Content should be ready before the coding stage finishes.
Approximate duration: 5-15 weeks.
The team of developers starts to write the site using the approved design elements and adhering to the sitemap and wireframes. As a rule, the home page of the site is the first one to roll out. Static elements and interactive functions should be implemented and tested. Developers use the needed frameworks and customize the CMS to ensure the quality performance of the website in the future.
Also, this stage is the time to think about Search Engine Optimization, SEO, which will help the site to rank well in SERPs. It can be achieved with the optimization of titles and descriptions, as well as the proper choice of keywords.
Approximate duration: 6-15 weeks.
Testing and launch
It is time for the QA-team to jump in. They should check every possible scenario of interactions with the website, see how the links, buttons, and all the features work.
After testing, developers can upload the website to the server using File Transfer Protocol, FTP, and check everything once again.
Approximate duration: 2-4 weeks.
Maintenance is a continuous process. Though the product is up and running, it still needs upgrades and updates.
Regular CMS updating helps to keep it actual and secure. It is also important to install a feedback system and work with the questions and reviews of users. This way, performance problems will be addressed as quickly as possible and user buy-in will be very high.
The web development process is not only about coding; it also includes analysis, planning, design, testing, and maintenance. It is very important to take into account the key goals of the website and the target audience right from the design stage. Even after the launch, a website still needs maintenance.