Websites are a necessity for any business.
Whether you’re selling products online, collecting leads for service calls, promoting a local restaurant or rebranding your company, a professional looking and easy-to-use website helps you achieve your business goals.
While many website building platforms would have you believe that designing a website takes just a few hours, that’s not reality.
The website development process is actually pretty complicated. To do it right, the process can range from weeks to months – and not hours. In fact, the typical website development process takes anywhere from 8-16 weeks to complete.
Plus, if you’re not familiar with the process, you could end up launching a site that’s poorly built, isn’t mobile responsive, violates ADA compliance, and results in a loss of revenue.
Instead of relying on the false promises of these platforms, it’s best to work with an experienced website development company like Results Repeat to build your first site or update your existing site.
To demonstrate how much work goes into building a professional website, we’ve outlined our six-step process below. By reviewing the information below, you’ll have a better understanding of the average turnaround time for this project.
Website Development Process Step #1: Collecting Information
The website development process begins with an exploratory phase.
During this phase, our team of website designers and developers meets with the client to gather all pertinent information regarding their new site’s intended purpose, target audience, and desired goals.
By learning more about these specific areas, our team gains a great understanding of the bigger picture.
If the client requires a website for their recently launched business, then there are many elements they will need to consider during this phase. Our team can work with the client to develop a company logo, brand colors, content needs and messaging, and any imagery needed for the respective products or services.
For clients who are updating an existing website, many of the above elements such as logo and brand colors are already in place. However, the new site may require fresh content and imagery.
Now our team is equipped with the knowledge they need to design a site that:
- Functions according to business needs
- Appeals to the intended audience via an aesthetically appalling design, an easy-to-follow navigation, relevant on-page content, and compelling calls to action.
- Accomplishes the intended business objectives through a user-friendly checkout process or a simplified contact form to increase conversions, generate revenue and new leads, and encourage customers to return and/or spread the word.
Website Development Process Step #2: Initial Design
Using the information gathered in the first phase, our team creates an initial design of the site.
There are two design options available to the client:
- Custom Website
- Sem-Custom Website
Building a custom website is similar to building a house. It starts with a foundation, which in the case of a website, is called a wireframe. Essentially the blueprints for the website, a wireframe defines the layout, page structure, location of CTA buttons, various menus, footer content and all architecture that leads to a more beneficial user experience.
After the wireframe is built, the team builds a mockup. Outfitted with many of the visual design elements, a mock-up allows the team to see the site when it’s “fashionable” but not yet functional.
Once the team has a chance to review the mockup then proceed to creating a prototype. Putting themselves in the mind of a visitor, the team uses this functional model site to trace the user’s journey. They navigate through the site, click on every button, access every menu and more to ensure that the site is working as intended. If not, they need to go back to the wireframe to make adjustments until all issues are resolved by creating an improved conversion rate optimization experience.
As you can see, designing a custom site has many phases that are complicated, time consuming and completely necessary to ensure the site performs as expected and intended. Due to the complexity of a custom website build, the development process takes 12-16 weeks on average.
With a semi-custom website, the design process is much more simplified.
After reviewing a gallery of website templates, the client, with our guidance, selects a website template that appeals to their senses, best represents their brand and serves its intended purpose. Then our team tailors the template to accommodate the client’s business needs and goals.
This option is beneficial for clients who have limited marketing budgets and/or simply require a replacement for an outdated site. An additional advantage of a semi-custom option is that it drastically reduces the turnaround time. In most cases, a semi-custom website build has a turnaround time of 8-12 weeks.
Before the team proceeds to the next phase of development, the team shares the updated template or prototype with the client for review. Based on their feedback, the team will either make any requested changes or proceed to the development phase of the project.
Website Development Process Step #3: Development
In the design phase, our team lays the groundwork for the new website. During the development phase, our team creates the website.
Using the various technical and graphic elements in the client-approved prototype or the template, the development team proceeds to add additional functional elements such as check-out applications and responsive contact forms.
During the development phase, our team keeps the client in the loop about their site’s status via video calls, email, screenshots and password-protected access to the in-progress site.
Website Development Process Step #4: Testing and Refinement
Following the completion of the development stage, our team puts the website to the test.
To ensure that the site is performing as expected, the team clicks every link and button, confirms that all menus are directing visitors to the correct pages, ensures that all interactive forms can be completely filled out and successfully submitted, and validates the check-out process if applicable. These tests are performed across multiple browsers to ensure that the website works the same regardless of the browser.
In addition to these tests, the team also ensures that the website’s design is truly responsive for desktops, smartphones and tablets.
If any issues are identified during the testing phase, the team takes corrective action to resolve them.
After the team conducts their tests and addresses any issues, they’ll share the site with the client for their review and approval. If the client is satisfied with the website, the team proceeds to the next phase of the process.
However, if the client identifies any issues with the site and/or is unhappy with particular design elements or messaging, the team addresses and corrects these matters until the client is thoroughly satisfied with the end result.
Website Development Process Step #5: Website Launch
As soon as the web development team receives the client’s approval, they can plan to launch the new website.
To ensure that the launch proceeds without issue, our team follows a pair of extensive pre- and post-launch task lists.
Following the task lists step-by-step, the team confirms that all files have been successfully uploaded, the site’s domain is registered, a hosting site has been established, a security certificate is in place, and all necessary plugins have been installed.
With everything in place, the team launches the website into the waiting world!
Website Development Process Step #6: Training And Website Maintenance
Launching a new website is not the final step of the development process.
There are a few more important steps to take in the post-launch phases.
Primarily, the client needs to understand the ins and outs of their new website. To help the client become familiar with their new site and feel comfortable making minor changes, our team conducts an in-depth training session.
In addition to training, our various teams are available to perform additional services such as ongoing website maintenance, content development and SEO optimization.
Let Results Repeat Develop Your Website
We hope this article sheds some light on the website development process. Contrary to popular belief, launching a new or revamped website is not a project that’s started and completed in one day. It’s a multi-faceted process that requires an experienced team and an 8-16 week timeframe to successfully accomplish.
If you’re in need of a new website or an update to your existing website, Results Repeat has an expert team at your disposal.
Our developers have created and launched custom and semi-custom websites for clients across a wide range of industries.