There are 3 main phases of building a website are research, planning and development. Research identifies keyword search volume, planning creates a visual map of how each piece will connect and development makes it into a reality.
The research phase of a domain name development a project is different than that of the project selection phase, although is encompasses similar data. Competition research reviews the design, layout, conversion process, content and business model of the top organic websites that perform well for the target keywords. Next, we will identify where the target search traffic spends time online when trying to find or learn about the service(s) provided by our site, for example: a person looking to buy a walk-in shower for the elderly may also be found reading an installation guide on a home improvement forum. We want to match the industry brand for this product and/or service so that our site is consistent and perceived as relevant.
To efficiently launch a website application, the direction given to the development team is crucial. It is important that the design and programming teams both understand the expectations, features and goal of the site. To ensure that this happens, a planning process will be executed for each project that includes user workflow development, user matrix definitions, design wireframes, design element list, software selection, software customization requirements, search engine strategy and development team selection.
Planning the Website
To start, the planning of the website must be mapped out in a workflow diagram that identifies all process options a site visitor or member may engage in when on the site. Each of these site visitor types must be defined in a matrix so that software customization requirements are clear to the programmer. Visitor types may include: registered member, anonymous visitor, administrator and other customer site user types as required by the business model.
Wireframes / Information Architecture
With a solid understanding of each user type and the workflow process, we may create the Design Wireframes, also known as Information Architecture. The design wireframes allow us to identify the primary marketing areas and messages that we need displayed to the site visitor. The site Goal Conversion Strategy is on of the chief factors looked at in the wireframe. We need to make sure that the site visitor is able to quickly and efficiently identify the desired action and complete this process in a user-friendly environment. Wireframes give us the opportunity to experience this process prior to the design phase, which makes for an efficient design process that requires less time and lower costs.
Using the wireframes we may create a list of all the design elements required from the design team to complete the project. The software is also selected and customizations documented for the programming team. Customizations may include additional features for members or the integration of third-party scripts for partner websites.
The final part of planning is making sure that all of the project elements add up to equal SEO success. This includes may pieces, including: page name, image name, content, page structure, page software selection, programming language and site workflow.
Building the Website
The website development process is the execution of the research and planning phases. During development the following elements are completed: website creative design, html generation/CSS/slicing, server set-up, software programming, testing, content implementation, analytics integration and search engine submission.
The creative design includes the visual elements of the project, such as logo and page designs. The main page designs for the site are used as templates for other pages within the website. For example, for the MIQ project the following pages were designed: Home, Sectional, Landing 1 and Landing 2. The home page is used as the main page, sectional pages are used for articles, landing 1 is used for the main site topics (main navigation pages) and landing 2 is used for the state specific pages. Each one is tracked for goal conversion performance so we may identify the best design layout. Overall the site design phase will produce psd files that will be passed to CSS technician for slicing.
HTML Generation/CSS/Slicing all mean the same thing. For our purposes we will use CSS, which is Cascading Style Sheets. This technique converts the psd design file into sliced out sections so that the design is “clickable”. This click action takes place due to the sliced out design image becoming represented by an html script linked to the software.
Software Development and Formatting
The software phase is able to start once the server FTP and Database have been set-up. The software and design are linked through html script by the programmer. Once the programmer has complete the integration, the site is ready for content implementation. During content implementation, the entire site will be tested for performance.
Launch and Analysis
With testing complete, the site is ready for search engine submission and indexing. After the site has been successfully indexed the site will begin bouncing around in the organic search result arena. After a couple weeks the site will stabilize within the search results, which gives us a good idea on how the site is ranking and what we need to do with the strategic marketing campaign.