Web Design

The Secret of Successful Web Design Projects

Did you know that there is much more to designing a website than just installing WordPress and putting in the content? You need to have a plan from the beginning to make your website cohesive and successful. If you find a developer or designer who hops into the development stage of the process from the beginning, you may not get the final result that you envisioned. There are seven stages to designing a website that I take for all of my clients: Research, Design, Development, Testing, Optimization, and Launch. Let’s jump into the first step, research.
closeup of laptop sitting on a table

Stage 1: Research

The research stage is one of the most critical steps in your web design journey. This is where your designer will get to know you, your business, your customers and their expectations and behaviors, and how you will be using your website. They will also research your competitors and what they are doing to see what type of benchmarks your website will need to have. Completing this first step will help your designer create a website that performs for you. A good developer will also have a way to measure this performance, called key performance indicators (KPIs), to measure how well your site is performing the action you want. 

Stage 2: Design

Once armed with this information, a good developer should go into the design stage. In this stage, they are developing a plan of attack for your website. The process in this step is creating a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, site maps, and wireframe mockups.Let’s talk about the process of developing an SEO strategy. Creating a plan for your search engine optimization will aid in content creation and site maps as well. This step will outline what keywords you need to focus on based on your industry. This may also help with creating a menu for your website. The last step in this stage is creating the site map and then the wireframe mockups. The site map will be the basic structure of your website, and wireframe mockups will be low fidelity prototypes of your website. Wireframe mockups look like simple skeletons of your website without the visual polish of the finished design. They allow your designer to experiment and reiterate on your site pages quickly so that you will have a good sense of how content should look across different screen sizes.

Stage 3: Development

This next stage is the most technical: development of your website. This is where you will start to see the complete site come to life. Your designer will take the wireframe mockups they created and start building your actual website. There are several ways to do this. They may begin a development site on your hosting provider, on their hosting provider, or even on a LocalHost. From there, they will install WordPress (check out this post on why you should switch to WordPress) or another content management system (CMS) solution that fits your unique needs and start to build out your pages and theme.

closeup of settings button on wordpress

Stage 4: Testing

The next stage is testing (check out this free website tester). This is where your designer will check your website against industry standards and make sure everything is functioning how it should. A good developer will also take this time to review your KPIs and see if your site is going to perform those indicators as it should.

glasses and glass box sitting on desk

Stage 5: Optimization

Your designer may combine the optimization stage with the testing stage. That’s okay. The approach to web design can be taken in different ways, and each designer has their own process. In the optimization stage, they will take the test results they found in the testing stage and make the necessary changes to your website for it to perform correctly. These changes could be things like installing a content delivery network(CDN), optimizing your images, or adding meta descriptions and tags to your pages.

Stage 6: Launch

The final stage is launch. In this stage, your designer will make your site live for your customers to access. Your designer will either remove a maintenance page or install the website on your hosting provider (I recommend trying out Flywheel), depending on how they set up the site in the first place. They will also make sure to point your domain name servers to the correct location so that your customers can type in your web address and find your website.

image of someone looking at an ecommerce website

A web design project is more than just installing a CMS on a hosting platform and pushing go. A good web designer or developer will take you through the six stages of web development: research, design, development, testing, optimization, and launch. Make sure you are using a reputable web designer for your website development needs. Having a reputable designer will ensure that your site will not be a cumbersome and persnickety afterthought, but will be one of the most valuable members of your team. If this post has you interested in starting your web design project, let me know! I would be glad to help you get started on your web journey!

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