Your Definitive Guide to Building a Powerful, Custom Website
Building a new website is no easy task, and unless you are a seasoned web developer, web designer, professional copywriter, and project manager all in one, your website won’t stand a chance in the ever-competitive online universe.
If you are curious about the process of building a robust, beautifully designed, custom website, look no further. We’ve made this definitive guide to walk you through the website development process from start to finish.
We’ve made this definitive guide to walk you through the website-development process from start to finish.
We have all heard horror stories of website development going awry – businesses giving out tons of money, but turning up empty-handed at the end of the process. These sad stories are why it’s crucial to understand what working with a professional website-development agency should look like and what you should (and shouldn’t) expect in the six-week-to-three-month process.
Step 1: Messaging Phase
The first phase of a successful website-development process is called the Messaging Phase. It’s called this because the goal is to understand the message that you want to get to your audience and customers for optimal digital growth on your website. At WITH LOVE INTERNET, we approach this phase using the HeroGuide philosophy.
At WITH LOVE INTERNET, we approach this phase using the HeroGuide philosophy.
The HeroGuide philosophy means that our biggest goal is to understand your company’s heartbeat and story and invite your audience into it. A story in the rawest form looks like this: a beloved PROTAGONIST (your customer) faces a difficult CHALLANGE. A WISE WIZARD (your business) steps in, gives them a MAGIC TOOL, and CALLS THEM TO ACTION. That action helps them avoid DEFEATE and ends in VICTORY. Finally, the Hero (your customer - the post-victory protagonist) REFLECTS AND SPREADS THE MAGIC with others.
The HeroGuide philosophy means that our biggest goal is to understand your company’s heartbeat and story and invite your audience into it.
Our goal as the NARRATOR in the Message Phase is to identify the customer’s character and the problem (or the VILLAIN) in your customer’s life. What is a problem your customer deals with that relates to your services? We position you as the guide who gives them a plan to overcome their problem. We then call your customer to actions such as purchasing, booking, giving, connecting, or learning more about your business through different functions on your site.
We position you as the guide who gives them a plan to overcome their problem.
This phase is arguably the most crucial in our mission to understand your organization’s needs, your audience’s needs, and how to design and develop a website that optimizes your goals by positioning your audience in the center and your business as the guide.
Once we have met with you and created what’s called a HeroGuide Brand Story, we move on to the Planning Phase.
Step 2: Planning Phase
Think of the Planning Phase as creating the blueprints of a house. You wouldn’t just start building a home without the blueprints showing where everything should go, would you? It’s the same with a website.
With a website, however, we don’t have blueprints; we have wireframes. To create these wireframes, we use Lucidchart. This nifty tool helps us identify what different pages your website needs and how they will be integrated. We take the Brand Story that we came up with in the Messaging Phase and use that to drive the design and layout. In this phase, we put to good use our expertise in website-design best-practices and optimizing layouts and site maps for SEO (search engine optimization).
We take the Brand Story that we came up with in the Messaging Phase and use that to drive the design and layout.
Once the wireframes are drafted, they get sent to you for review. We work together to ensure your story is well represented and everything you require is included. Once the wireframes are approved, we move on to Step 3.
Step 3: Creative and Design Phase
Now that we have your story, your message, and a wireframe, it’s time to make it all come together in a beautiful website! In the Creative and Design Phase, we pass on the plans to our designers. We use your brand identity (your colors, fonts, styles, and tastes), and our designer creates a hi-fi mock-up. We use the Invisionapp to review the designs with you, in which you can click on the mock-up website and approve the plans.
We use your brand identity (your colors, fonts, styles, and tastes), and our designer creates a hi-fi mock-up.
We then take the approved hi-fi mock-ups and upload the design to Zeplin.io. In this program our web developers extract all the approved design guidelines and create a masterpiece, right down to the pixels, widths, and margins used in the website’s coding to bring it to life. Once all the pieces are in place in the hi-fi mock-ups and you approve them, the real work can begin.
Step 4: Development Phase
The Development Phase is the construction-and-building phase of your website (much like bringing in a contractor for a house). Every design is developed piece by piece in either Next.js or GatsbyJS. During the Development Phase, we use cutting-edge technology to ensure the best website performance, SEO, mobile-responsiveness, and user experience.
During the Development Phase, we use cutting-edge technology to ensure the best website performance, SEO, mobile-responsiveness, and user experience.
You will then look at the designed website and add in extra content that you would like, using the content-management system (“CMS”) – either Prismic.io, Contentful, or Shopify Plus. This is a fun phase in which we get into the nitty-gritty to make sure your website represents fully your brand and your back-office admin needs. Now we are almost there!
Step 5: Q&A Process
In the Q&A Process, we check that the website works on all the newest versions of the main browsers (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari . . .) We test your website’s efficiency on other devices (such as iPhones, Androids, big screens, and tablets) to make sure it is responsive and mobile-ready.
We test your website’s efficiency on other devices to make sure it is responsive and mobile-ready.
In this phase, we also test all the tags to see if they are working correctly. We double-check that the tracking links, Google Tag Manager, and any redirects from old websites to the new website are working, so the website’s ranking doesn’t drop when it’s launched.
Step 6: Launch Phase
Once everything checks out, we are ready to go live! We mostly use Vercal, Netlify, Gatsby Cloud, or Heroku to deploy the website. Voila! – a new shiny website to take your business to the next level.
Once everything checks out, we are ready to go live!
As you can see, a lot goes into building a powerful and beautiful custom website. To get the most out of your money, make sure to thoroughly investigate any web-development company you are interested in, to determine if they are the right fit for you.
If you are interested in updating and expanding your website’s capabilities, contact us for a free consultation.