making a website.
- general guide to what goes into making a website.
Step 1. Create a brief. The brief should be a document containing the following:
· the purpose of the website
· the pages of the website (eg. titles of)
· functions you would like for example contact forms, member areas, etc
· the look and feel (design) including main colours
· provide links to websites you like the design of, or content of.
Step 2. Create the content (usually text) for each page of the website. If content can not be provided initially, a wireframe of each page should be supplied. A wireframe could be pages with jotted down information, in a storyboard format.
Step 3. Decide on the general layout of the website. This should be consistant throughout all pages.
Step4. Decide on the domain name for your website. Check it’s availability. If your set on a domain name and it is available, ask your web developer to purchase it on your behalf, or purchase it yourself. I you purchase it yourself, the developer will need to know the login details you receive when you purchase the domain name.
Step 5. The developer should receive all information from steps 1 to 4.
Step 6. The developer then scopes out each area of the build process and timeframes for completion. Stages can be set out for example, mockup designs, template cutting, coding etc.
Step 7. The developer plans out an initial quote and overall timeframe for completion. All areas should be itemised in the quote so that you can cut out anything that is over budget.
Step 8. Upon agreement to quote and specifications for website functionality and design, then work should commence.
Step 9. A mockup image (or several) is created and sent to the client for approval. There may be some back-and-forth in this area until the template design is agreed upon. Make sure you listen to your designer as they know best!
Step 10. The approved mockup image is then sliced up into images and used in making the website template.
Step 11. The developer will make the template using mockup images, text, XHTML (html), and CSS (styling language). This will result in an example website, built straight from the approved mockup image.
Step 12. The developer will build the functionality. This may include installing a Content Management System (CMS), developing contact forms, shopping carts, member areas, Flash etc. This is most likely going to take the most time. In this stage, the developer may check with you the functionality of the website by using temporary/staging pages that only you can view in your website browser.
Step 13. The template and functionality should merge to reveal a functioning website! It is a good idea to have the website in a temporary/staging address.
Step 14. Content is placed in all pages of the website. Remember, there is really no point having a ‘coming soon’ section of a website as this will only annoy users.
Step 15. Quality Assurance Testing. Having a new design, functionality, and content for all pages – check it all! You do not want to ‘go live’ with a broken website. Check the website in all major web browsers! At least Internet explorer 6 and 7, and Firefox. Check for usability – ask people to navigate to a page and test to make sure it’s easy for them.
Step 16. All happy? Now the website will need to be hosted on a server. The developer may suggest hosting options. This usually means a monthly, or annual fee. Hosting basically means your website files are stored in a server that is accessible by the internet, and your domain name is applied to that area of the server computer. The developer will soon need to ‘point’ the domain name you purchased to the hosting provider’s settings (called Name Servers).
Step 17. Set up email addresses. Decide on email addresses you will use with your new website domain name. Eg. email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 18. Set up email addresses on computers you will check email on. Alternatively, the developer may offer webmail services where you can login to a website to check email (like hotmail, gmail etc). Test email addresses. Make sure you can send and receive email.
Step 19. Pay the developer.
Step 20. The developer puts the website live. This involves uploading your website files to a web server (host). It may also involve uploading and setting up databases for your website. Your domain will now be ‘pointed’ to the web server. Between a couple of hours and 48 hours, your website will now be accessible by visiting your domain name.
Step 21. It is good practice to check the website again across all web browsers. Re-check that all functionality is working properly.
Step 22. Optionally, you can request to google, yahoo etc that your website be listed in their search engine. However, your website will most likely get listed regardless of submitting. This may take from a couple of weeks to a month. In the meantime you can always visit your website by typing in it’s URL in the address bar of a browser.
The website build process is now complete. Where to from here? Try some basic SEO techniques and get other people with websites to link to yours. After a few months, test some keyphrases out in google and test to see where your website shows up in the results. If the results are a bit ordinary… onward to Search Engine Optimisation!