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The Website Development Process In 7 Steps, From Planning To Launch

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60% of small and medium-sized businesses have invested in a website

Did you know there are almost 2 billion websites across the globe? In an overwhelming sea of competition, how can you ensure your website makes waves?

In this article, we will break down the seven steps of the website development process, plus share tools that can help you streamline planning, collaboration, project management and more.

The Website Development Process In 7 Steps

From planning to launch, we’ve outlined the seven steps in the website development process to follow.

Stage 1: Define Your Project

The first step in the website development process is to define the goals for your project.

These typically include:

  • Business details: Define your offering, purpose, unique value proposition, mission, vision, etc.
  • Business goals: Set clear, measurable goals for your website to develop the most effective strategy, including the KPIs you’ll use to measure performance.
  • Target audience: Define your target audience and research their preferences, likes and dislikes, study their online habits and more to get to know them and their expectations.
  • Competition: Research your competition, analyze strengths and weaknesses, and develop a plan to position your brand on the market.
lyft's unique value proposition
A unique value proposition from rideshare brand Lyft [Source: Lyft]

Stage 2: Plan Your Website

Define your website’s layout, from landing pages to product pages, key conversion points and more. Create:

  • A sitemap: A sitemap is a bird’s eye view of your site that determines the list of pages, their placement and relationship to each other on the website. It includes both user-facing elements and those intended for web crawlers (such as Google). A site map helps define and organize your web content, allowing your strategist and designer to go deeper into planning the look, feel and functionality for each page.
  • A wireframe: A wireframe is the layout of each individual page of your site. It outlines and the elements and content, from headlines to CTAs and subscription boxes. The wireframe should cover both desktop and mobile versions.

This stage of website development will help you plan your conversion funnel and user journey for each page of your website.

Looking to create a custom website? Let us give you ideas!

Stage 3: Design Your Website

Next, move to the user interface (UI) design stage to introduce your branding and complete the look and feel of your website.

Define each branding element, from your color palette, logo and iconography to the images and videos you’ll use.

These branding elements should remain consistent across all channels, from your website to your social media pages, marketing materials, newsletters and more.

Consistent branding helps create a memorable visual identity for your brand, which increases recognizability and promotes trust.

Nike brand elements
Nike’s branding elements include bright colors, vivid imagery, bold typography and of course, the Nike swoosh [Source: Nike]

Stage 4: Create Content

Step 4 in the website development process is to plan and create your content. Depending on your target audience, content creation may include, (but is not limited to):

  • Landing pages
  • Product/service descriptions
  • Testimonials
  • Case studies
  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Images
  • Newsletters
  • White papers
  • Social media posts

Create your content based on your target audience. Research where they spend their time and define what type of content they’re most likely to interact and connect with.

Use strategic keyword optimization throughout your content to answer the search intent of your potential customers and encourage purchasing decisions.

Target Instagram content
Target perfectly tailors their social media content to their audience, from home decor and shopping reels to engagement questions and funny videos [Source: Target]

Stage 5: Develop Your Website

Once you have defined your goals, planned your design, created your branding elements and devised a content plan, it’s time for development.

You’ll need backend and frontend developers to build your website, using industry best practices and detailed specification documents.

From the platform you choose to different features and functionalities, your website should be built with the ability to scale to match your growth potential.

Experts in this field, like our Digital Silk developers, use research-backed insights to develop your website based on several different factors, including your industry, your offering, your target audience and more.

Stage 6: Test Your Website

Before you push your website live, don’t forget to test it.

Your developers should check the functionality of all the elements on your website. The aim is to detect any issues such as broken links and compatibility with different devices to ensure everything works properly.

Use validators to check if the code follows the standards, test the site’s speed and ensure it’s responsive on all devices.

Once manual and automated testing is complete, your website is ready to go into a live server and launch.

Looking to grow your brand online?Let Us Give You Ideas!

Stage 7: Maintain Your Website

Congratulations, your site is live! But the work doesn’t end there. As your business grows, you may need to increase the number of pages, add more functionalities, update features and more.

Regular maintenance includes:

  • Editing existing content
  • Adding content
  • Fixing bugs and issues
  • Dosing site backups
  • Installing plugins

Modern web design trends are constantly changing, and new technology provides opportunities for advanced features and functionalities. Hiring a professional web design agency can ensure your brand is never left in the dust by the competition.

Our experts at Digital Silk will consistently update your site when needed, perform routine maintenance and ensure your SEO is on point.

Web Development Methodologies

A website development methodology helps developers break a project up into several stages and each stage lays the foundation for next stage’s activities.

Some of the most common web development methodologies include:

  • Agile: Agile is an umbrella term that describes a web development methodology recognized for short cycles called “sprints.” These require less planning, flexibility and adaptability. Agile methodology focuses on recommendations and user feedback to ensure high-quality project delivery.
  • Waterfall: With clearly defined stages completed in a sequence, Waterfall allows developers to set objectives, deadlines and cost estimation.
  • Iterative: Based on a cyclic process of prototyping, testing and analyzing, Iterative focuses on metrics and data to change the website development process according to changing market needs.
  • Lean: Focused on eliminating anything that doesn’t add value to client, Lean uses short development cycles, early testing and frequent client feedback.
  • Scrum: A type of agile methodology, Scrum skips the documentation and specifications stage and divides the developing process into sprints. The development team has more freedom to decide how to deliver the final product with minimum input from the team manager.
  • Kanban: Based on workflow visualization, Kanban boosts efficiency by limiting the amount of work in progress and having no strict roles within a group.
  • Extreme Programming: This methodology’s best practices include continuous testing and planning, customer input and smaller, gradual releases.
Kanban methodology screenshot
[Source: Atlassian]

Which Website Development Methodology Is Best For Your Project?

To find the best methodology for your website project, consider the following factors:

  • Project’s scale and scope: The scale of your project dictates the number of developers who will work on it.
  • Team experience: Consider the experience level of your developers to determine which methodologies they are familiar with and able to work with.
  • Team location: If your developers don’t all work in the same room, you should choose a mythology that offers easy collaboration and project management. Some models, like Agile, require frequent meetings and closely-knit teams.
  • Flexibility in requirements: The Agile and Iterative approaches are the best options for projects that may require frequent changes. The Waterfall method, on the other hand, is a good choice for projects that are more stable and predictable.

25 Tools To Streamline Your Website Development Process

There are many tools that can help your team streamline your website development process, from coding and text editors to project management tools, prototyping assistants an more.

Here’s a roundup of our top 25:

Code & Text Editors

These are the top five code editors that your team can count on to make the web development process smoother:

1. Notepad++: A free Windows tool, Notepad++ is one of the most popular and advanced text editors on the market. It supports syntax highlighting for various languages including CSS, JavaScript, HTML and PHP. Notepad++ is translated into more than 80 languages which makes it accessible to people from different parts of the world.

Notepad++ screenshot
[Source: Notepad++]
2. Atom: Supporting Windows, Mac and Linux platforms, Atom is an open-source editor that allows cross-platform editing, similar to WordPress. Atom offers great organization features to keep projects in check, including smart autocompletion.

Atom tool screenshot
[Source: Atom]
3. Sublime Text: As a paid tool ($99 per license), Sublime offers advanced features like split editing, command palette, context-aware auto complete and more. The tool is cross-platform and developers can use it on Windows, macOS and Linux.

Sublime tool screenshot
[Source: Sublime Text]
4. TextMate: You can either use the free version of TextMate or you can upgrade to the paid option. As a versatile plain text editor for macOS, TextMate boasts a simple interface and innovative features like function pop-up for quick overview and navigation and dynamic outline for working with multiple files.

Textmate screenshot
[Source: MacroMates]
5. Coda: This programming editor for macOS has a clean interface and offers powerful features like local indexing and a CSS override for editing CSS on a live website.

Coda screenshot
[Source: Coda]

Prototyping Tools

Prototyping is an integral part of all the stages of website development. It helps your team review concepts and identify shortcomings during the early phases of your project.

Use some of the most common prototyping tools to save time and create user-friendly interfaces:

6. Sketch: This vector-based design tool is a combination of Photoshop and illustrator. Your designers can use it to create interfaces quickly and intuitively benefiting from its unique features like nested symbols to pre-design different elements like shapes, buttons, widgets and more. Sketch is compatible with macOS only.

Sketch screenshot
[Source: Sketch]
7. Atomic: As a prototyping tool, Atomic enhances the web design process by allowing designers to solve complex problems. It requires Google Chrome and is compatible with Mac and Windows users.

Your team needs to design through vector tools and then export the result using Atomic Choose the free option or subscribe to a paid version to benefit from more unique features.

Atomic screenshot
[Source: Atomic]
8. Framer: As an advanced programming and prototyping tool, Atomic facilitates collaboration and experimenting in the shared space. The platform has an auto-code feature and your team can create animated or interactive prototypes.

Framer screenshot
[Source: Framer]
9. Balsamiq: Use this graphical tool to develop user interfaces, web sites, desktop and mobile applications. Compatible with macOS and Windows, Balsamiq offers more than 500 premade components, items and icons.

Balsamiq screenshot
[Source: Balsamiq]
10. Webflow: Use Webflow as a CMS, hosting platform and prototyping tool. With a similar interface to Photoshop Webflow is the best option for simple, static sites.

Webflow screenshot
[Source: Webflow]
Looking to grow your brand online?Let Us Give You Ideas!

Collaboration Tools

Collaboration tools improve team communication throughout your project. Our top five include:

11. Zoom: As a video conferencing tool that allows face to face communication, Zoom is especially useful if your team is disbursed. Use Zoom to manage your remote meetings for free with calls up to 40 minutes long.

12. Slack: Use Slack to communicate with your team and stay productive. with its great features including audio calls, discussion threads, file sharing, mobile access and real-time chat.

13. Podio: Speeds up communication between your designers and ensure efficient teamwork using Podio. This collaboration tool facilitates organization activities and streamlines the website development process.

14. Ryver: Similar to Slack, Ryver offers highly effective means of communication with groups and individuals. What’s interesting about it is that you can control who sees what you post.

15. Flock: Use Flock as a communication tool for a group or one on one conversations. Send files or links, make video and audio calls, share screens and more.

Statista screenshot on collaboration tools
The top three collaboration tools used for remote work in the United States in 2020 were Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype
[Source: Statista]

Project Management Tools

Project management tools improve communication and collaboration, and allow you to track your project from start to finish.

Here are the top five tools for managing your project:

16. Jira: As an agile project management tool, Jira allows your web designers and developers to plan and launch websites successfully your website. Jira offers great management features like setting tasks and subtasks, organizing issues, assigning work and more.

Jira screenshot
[Source: Atlassian]
17. Asana: Manage your company objectives and team tasks in one place using Asana. Set group tasks, notify developers using a personalized inbox and schedule and prioritize tasks. are just a few of the features it offers.

Asana screenshot
[Source: Asana]
18. CoSchedule: As an intuitive marketing project management tool, CoSchedule can simplify your web design process and streamline your team’s workflow. Set tasks and deadlines, visualize project progress and more.

CoSchedule screenshot
[Source: CoSchedule]
19. Teamwork: A cloud-based project management solution, Teamwork offers all the features you might need to successfully complete your website development process, including time tracking, Gantt charts, team resources and more.

Teamwork screenshot
[Source: Teamwork]
20. ProofHub: An online project management app with a clear interface, ProofHub has integrated chat, workflows and boards, project discussions reports and more.

ProofHub screenshot
[Source: ProofHub]

File-Sharing Tools

File sharing tools allow your team to share secure files back and forth for collaboration.

For many businesses, they became an integral part of daily work during the COVID-19 pandemic, when remote and hybrid work models became more common.

Looking to grow your brand online?Let Us Give You Ideas!

Here are the top five file-sharing platforms:

21. Google Drive: Share key project documents like photos, videos and content that you need for your project. Get 5 GB of data for free and enjoy unparalleled connectivity, change monitoring, automated saving, and instant file recognition.

22. WeTransfer: This cloud-based file sharing tool allows you protected sharing of documents using passwords. It is easy to use and lets you customize your profile and email.

23. Zoho Docs: A file storage and management software, Zoho is suitable for saving different types of content. Access the platform from different devices both online and offline. Managing access permissions, assign tasks and more.

24. Dropbox Business: Keep your team organized by sharing content in one place. Some of the features include in-person, live online and webinars training.

25. Microsoft Teams: This platform is a cloud-based solution that your team can leverage to communicate, meet, discuss and share files. Its pricing starts at $5.00 per user, per month.

Microsoft teams screenshot
File sharing is essential for easy and smooth collaboration
[Source: Microsoft Teams]

Website Development Checklist

A website development checklist is a document that outlines all the necessary steps from the beginning to the end of the website development process.

Your website development checklist should include:

  • Gathering Information
    • Set clear website goals
    • Define target audience
  • Website Planning
    • Sketch a sitemap
    • Create a wireframe
    • Choose your programming language, framework and methodology
  • Design
    • Define your logo, brand colors, typography and other branding elements
    • Create a brand book
  • Content
    • Define the types of content that will resonate most with your target audience
    • Create a content calendar for blogs, newsletters, social media posts, etc.
  • Development
    • Build your website
    • Add features and functionalities
    • Develop your SEO strategy
  • Testing and Launch
    • Perform a thorough website QA
    • Upload your site to the hosting server
  • Regular Maintenance
    • Fix bugs
    • Perform regular maintenance & backups
    • Update features and functionalities as needed
    • Update content as needed

The Website Development Process At Digital Silk

Following the seven steps of the website development process outlined above will help you create a website that is able to boost brand visibility, connect with your target audience and ultimately help you reach your goal KPIs.

However, doing it alone is not an easy feat.

At Digital Silk, our experts create industry-leading websites that are designed to convert.

From aviation leaders like Tecnam and fitness equipment gurus like Archon, to educational institutions like Miami Country Day School, we walk with you every step of the way to make your website attract visitors, rank in search and generate revenue.

Our team is made up of the top designers, developers, strategists, copywriters and more to ensure your website takes your visitors on a journey with each scroll — one they’re sure to remember.

Looking to grow your brand online?Let Us Give You Ideas!

Website Development Process Takeaways

Your website is your digital sales person. It allows your prospects to find your products or services online and engage with your brand, anywhere and anytime.

The seven stages of the website development process include:

  • Project Definition
  • Website Planning
  • Website Design
  • Content Creation
  • Website Development
  • Testing
  • Maintenance

From defining the scope of your project to determining your visual identity and selecting the tools you’ll use along the way, each element contributes to the final product.

To make sure your website development process runs smoothly:

  • Establish proper communication: Communicate regularly with your team throughout the entire project, from start to finish. Support your designers in effectively developing a site that represents you, your business and your offerings. Request reporting on the progress and completed tasks so that you can stay on top of the process.
  • Optimize the working environment: Give your web designers tools to optimize your website development process. From project management to wireframing and graphic design, software solutions can boost productivity.
  • Manage time effectively: To deliver the project on time, outline your team tasks, place deadlines and set priorities. For maximum efficiency, schedule assignments and track time.
  • Automate tasks: Automate the processes you can to save time. From batch actions in Photoshop to resizing images, use different tools to achieve more with less hassle.
  • Track your progress: During the launch, your team will move your website from the staging site to the live location. To ensure everything is transferred and works properly, follow a pre-prepared web development life cycle checklist with all the site’s pages and elements.

At Digital Silk, our experts perform research and analysis about your industry, competitors, target audience and more to craft specific recommendations for your website design and development.

Our ultimate goal is to make your brand memorable and unique through engaging storytelling, a strategic conversion funnel, on-brand elements and more.

Ready To Create A Market-Leading Website?Request A QuoteTell us about your project and let our experts give you recommendations.

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