When web designers think of the process of designing a web, they tend to pay attention to technical matters like code, wireframes and content management. Designing a great website is not about how you integrate social media site or having a smooth graphic, but it is about creating a website that will align with a central strategy.
A well-designed website offers a lot and is not limited to beauty alone. They grab visitor’s attention, make it easy for people to understand the product or service available, the company and also the brand using several indicators, incorporating visuals, text, and interactions. This Implies that every element found on your website has to work together to achieve a defined goal.
But how do you harness these elements in achieving your goals? This Is possible through a holistic process of web design that puts both form and function into consideration.
The web design process consists of eight stages; they include:
1. Identifying Your Goal
This is the first stage of web design process. Here, the web designer needs to determine the end goal of the website, typically in close cooperation with the client or stakeholders. In this stage of the process, these are the questions to explore and answer:
- Who is the site for?
- What is the primary aim of the website? Is it to sell, inform or amuse?
- What do they expect to find or do there?
- Is there any need for the website to convey the brand’s core message or is it a part of the comprehensive branding strategy with a unique or different focus?
- Are there any competitors? What features will the site have that will make it stand out or different from other competitors.
Answering the above question is a critical part of any web design process. The whole project may go the wrong way if you cannot answer these questions correctly and on time.
2. Scope Definition
The scope creep is one of the most common and difficult problems faced with web design projects. At first, the client may only have a single goal in mind, but during the design process, their goals may gradually expand, evolve or change completely. Before you know it, in addition to designing and building a website for them, you will also have to create web applications, emails and push notifications.
This Might not be a problem for the web designer as it often leads to more work. However, if the increase expectations are not met by increasing the budget and timeline, then the project totally become unrealistic in no time.
You can use a Gantt chart to help you set boundaries and feasible deadlines; both the designers and the client can benefit from the invaluable reference it provides and helps both parties stay focus on the goals and task at hand.
3. Creation of Sitemap and Wireframe
You can now develop a plan for your website after using the information derived from the previous steps. This Is the stage where you design a sitemap.
The sitemap consists of all the main topic areas of the website and also sub-topic if necessary. It serves as a guide to know the kind of contents will appear on the site and is vital in developing a reliable, and easy to use navigation system. You should always have the audience or end-user in mind when creating a website; these people are the ones that will be interested in your products or services. Creating an easy or user-friendly interface create a website that is easy to navigate; this is the idea behind a sitemap.
Building a wireframe is the next step to take. Wireframe provides a framework that allows the site store visual design and content elements; it can also help detect potential challenges and barriers with the sitemap.
The wireframe does not contain any design elements but serves as a guide for how the website will appear. Some designers create wireframes using tools like Balsamiq or Webflow. Personally, I prefer using pencil and ole paper.
4. Content creation and SEO
This process involves an in-depth review of the website content. If the client already has a website, you will have to review the existing content and make plans for developing fresh contents.
A site’s visibility on search engines is dependent on the content it has. The act of creating and improving content to improve ranking in search engines is referred to as Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
For any website to be successful, you need to get your keywords and key phrases right. I prefer using Google Keyword Planner; this tool shows the search volume for potential target keywords or phrases. It allows you to know what people are searching for on the internet.
My design process is focused on creating sites with SEO in mind. Keywords to increasing ranking to google first page. Ensure keywords appear in the H1 tag, meta description, and body content.
5. Theme and Plugin Selection
In this stage, you get to decide the technologies that should be implemented. Our aim in this guide is to build a site quickly and in a way the clients will love.
It is important you know the essence of a theme or plugin before using it. You can save yourself from spending time and money by taking the time to draft a list of what you are looking for.
Have this in your mind when looking for themes and plugins to use on WordPress.
Depending on what you want, you can find what you desire in some free theme and plugins. Most of them also offer upgrades to the premium version to unlock extra features.
Then again, there are lots of benefits that come with premium themes or plugins. Premium theme or plugins maintain compatibility with updated versions of WordPress. You will also mind many interesting features you can use in customizing your website.
This Implies that they are secured and are frequently updated.
Support for Your Theme and Plugins
Support may not be available in situations that a security problem arises from using themes or plugins. Premium support for theme and plugin implies that the developer can log into your website to assess the issue on ground. You won’t find such feature in free theme or plugin.
The reputation of the Theme and Plugin Developer
If the developer is known to have a good reputation and offer quality products, there is a possibility that their plugins or themes will okay for use.
Have in mind that security, comprehensive support and the developer’s reputation also go hand-in-hand.
The site is ready for testing once all its visuals and content are available. Ensure every page is tested properly to confirm that all links on the website are working and the site can load properly on all browsers and devices. Errors may occur due to little coding mistakes; detecting and fixing them may be difficult, but it is better than presenting a faulty site to the public.
Go over the page meta titles and descriptions one last time. Even how words are arranged on the meta title can affect the page’s performance on search engines.
Once you have confirmed that everything on the site is working fine, then you can now plan and execute your website launch! Both launch timing and communication methods should be included in this phase. You should consider when to launch and how to inform the public.
Most people overlook the last and final step of web design process. Website maintenance is crucial for the lasting health and success of a website, and also as a source of prospective recurring revenue.
Before you design a new website, it is important you educate your clients on the long-term responsibilities of having a website. Websites require maintenance and upkeep just as owning a house or car. Thus, ensure you offer a monthly WordPress maintenance service to help your clients maintain their websites.
Primarily, to keep a WordPress site fully operational, a WordPress maintenance service should include:
- WordPress Updates
- Theme and Plugin Updates
- WordPress Backups
- WordPress Security
- Analytics Tracking & Reporting
- WordPress Hosting
Ask your clients: what is the long-term strategy to update, edit and promote your website? Who will be responsible for maintaining the website? You should be ready to offer your monthly maintenance rate to clients and inform them about hourly rates if the need to fix problems on the site or make changes to content arises.
Your website design process should go smoothly after following the steps mentioned above. Carrying out little research and planning can help your website design become more informed.Finally, website maintenance can protect the investment used in creating the site. At the end of the day,clients will be satisfied with their experience and observe the value on their website.
How does your web design process look like?
Is your design process similar to ours or does it look entirely different? Please, tell us all about it in the comment section below.