How To Design A Website
A potential client comes to you and asks you to design a website. But designing a website is no small task, because a lot of things are involved in it.
However, you can follow a simple process to make it seem simple. Designing a website entails a lot of things, including hiring a talented graphic designer, certified web developer, a coding expert, an SEO genius and creative writer.
1) It all begins with research
If your client needs a website then you need to research on it first. You can’t just sit down at your desk, and conjure a website. So gear up and research. Learn about the client’s business in detail, understand who their competitors are, visit competitor websites, note the flaws if you see any. Next, look at the kind of people who would be visiting the client website – the visitors. Understand what visitors need, what they are looking for, and then develop an outline based on it.
2) Next comes the Brainstorming
Collect all the ideas that may seem feasible and practical at the time of brainstorming. You can throw out the ones that don’t seem good later on. You will have several meetings with the client at this phase of the project, and you will be presenting your research results, and thinking about the best approach to take. You will discuss the target audience, the goal of making a website, the budget involved in the task, the deadlines, the type of user interface, the images and content required and so on.
3) Followed by an outline
Once you have gathered all the idea and suggestions, you can plan an outline, based on which the website project will take off. Narrow down all the ideas that will work towards the completion of your project. You can also decide on the outline of the interface, whether you need a standard interface or a customised one with innovative designs.
4) Plan the technical requirements of the project
Once the outline is made, and the client approves it, you can think about the technical part of developing the website. In some cases, the client will also ask for participation in this phase, especially if he is a technically adept person. The technical aspects will include discussions on the time-frame, budget and other nuances of making a website. The underlying structure of the site, it’s overall feel are also given serious consideration. The software that you would use to create the website would be the next point of discussion.
5) The software to choose comes next
At this phase of the project, your thoughts would be to decide on the other technical aspects of making the website function seamlessly. You would consider the most feasible methods and work on them. A couple of them would be: (1) Basic HTML, and (2) Using a CMS system.
- Basic HTML – Though the site would be a basic HTML, it will require other basic programming languages for functioning, like JS, CSS etc. HTML sites are never purely HTML. However, they are faster to develop, but leaves with very little flexibility. The site would require ongoing maintenance and has to be edited manually, something the client cannot do on his own.
- CMS system – The Content Management System would be a fairly easy for the client as it he can either develop a site from scratch or purchase it and tailor it to his requirements. Especially, when it comes to basic CMS. Adding content and design would be much easier here.
6) Now, get all the ideas on paper
The ideas and suggestions, the technical aspect, the client suggests are all in scraps of paper. You can convert all this into paper, and plan an outline you would refer to during the making of the website.
This outline would contain all the intricate details of how the website will be made and the features that would be incorporated. This official outline would be presented to the client for his approval. You can also discuss the social media planning (social media channels to target, newsletters, ebooks etc.) of your website at this stage. These discussions would further tell you how to plan a better budget.
7) Now comes the Wire framing part
Wireframing are simple layouts of the website. This gives a complete picture on what to place where on the website. The client gives his approval or suggestions regarding the different elements in your website by looking at the wireframes. Content planning would also be done at this stage.
8) Getting down to the act
This is the stage where you design, develop and build the website.
- Design – Once the client is sure of the end result, he gives the green signal, and you start working on the website. The design part is usually done on Adobe Photoshop, where the basic content and the elements would be presented. The elements that make the website unique and easy-to- navigate are all done here.
- Build – The mock up web pages that you have built, will now be used to build actual HTML and CSS based pages. There are softwares that can convert mock up pages into real websites.
- Develop the website – The layout of the website is ready, and once it is integrated with the system you have chosen, it becomes ready to go live. Buy a website domain, the hosting service. You can discuss this with the client now, or at the brainstorming session. The earlier the better, because it might take some time for the services to get activated.
9) Your website is live
Once all the steps are completed, your website is ready to launch. Now begins the real work of targeting the right people, enticing them to visit the website, put into action all the social media plans you’ve charted. The SEO expert in your team (or hired), dives into action and works on promoting it.
These are the basic steps involved in designing a website. Once the website is active and live, it has to be kept fresh with excellent content, graphics, videos etc. Regular updates and maintenance is a must. People who visit once should be back for seconds, thirds, and more.
Picture Source: Flickr.com/ medithIT/ perzon
The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at www.Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.