Thu, 10th May 2018
Lets cut straight to the chase, I am a web developer, working in what's referred to as a 'Full Stack' Web Application Development team. Which means I have a vested interest in convincing you that you should pay a professional to build your website or app, rather than attempt to do the job yourself!
This disclosure aside, I am sure that I can convince you that working with a professional, is going to deliver infinitely better (and measurable) results than those you'll achieve with a D.I.Y project.
So firstly, let's start with that 'geeky', 'hamburgery', or maybe 'pancakey' term I used above, 'Full Stack'!
'Full Stack' is simply industry jargon proclaiming that collectively we can design, engineer and maintain all sorts of websites and web applications without having to source skill sets from a third party. It also implies that we have a good understanding of server firmware, which allows us to manage and maintain server software layers (the platforms that our websites and apps are hosted on).
Ok, so the above 'qualifies' us to do the job, but what is it that we actually do to ensure that your project has the best chance of success?
1. Audit your Target Market/Audience
Before we put pen to paper or code to console, we need to establish who we are selling your product or service to, and not just their age, prominent gender or social disposition. We also need to establish what questions they are asking and then determine the best possible answers, and where this information should be positioned on your website or app. Then, based on these questions and answers, we need to obtain actual search engine keyword/phrase data, and ensure that these terms are embedded in your content to ensure the best organic search engine ranking possible.
2. Design & UX (User Experience)
So step one above has given us a pile of info to work with, and we can now start the fun part which is establishing a design brief. The design brief will primarily be guided by the information captured in step one, which usually translates into a sitemap, and a plan for positioning key call to actions on the home page, along with a structure for key landing pages. Equally important is the UX (User Experience), which determines how users will interact with the interface, this includes click and scroll actions, and what info will be revealed when these actions occur.
Only once the above items have been confirmed do we then start work on the emotive 'aesthetic' components of the project, which ultimately culminates in a series of design and UX proofs. These proofs may be presented as images, or as interactive prototypes for review and approval.
3. Project Build
Once you've approved the designs for your project, we can then start the formal Project Build. This is the engineering phase, where the front end interface is coded up as per the designs, and the backend and database built to store, serve and manage your website's content. Once the initial build is complete, your project is pushed to a live staging environment so it can be tested. Often at this point, you'll be invited to take an initial look at how your project is coming together.
4. Content Insertion
The insertion of your content will be completed once the build is near completion. Once the content is in, a review is conducted to see how the content is 'sitting' on each page or element. Often additional styles will be applied at this point to improve the appearance and readability of list based content, quotes and table based information. It's during the Content Insertion phase that your Social Media assets are integrated into the project.
5. Formal Proofing
When we are finished working on your content, the finished project will be pushed to the stage for final proofing. This is the opportunity for you to confirm that the content and styling meets your expectations, and to provide us with any final changes that may be required prior to deployment.
This stage is the first step towards formally going live. To deploy your project, we need a suitable hosting environment to serve the files and database that we've built, along with a domain name and DNS service so your website can be located. In most cases, we will configure and supply a hosting and DNS service for you as well as email services (if required). By supplying you with hosting services, we are able to provide you with one point of contact for web, hosting and email support.
If you do host with us, it's good to know that on the rare occasions that issues occur, we can communicate with our Server Technicians in real time and promptly report a summary of issues back to you, along with an ETA on a resolution (thus collectively reducing everyone's blood pressure!).
7. Go Live
It's time to flick the switch, so your websites main configuration files are updated to use your live domain and an SSL Certificate is installed on the server to secure your content (this provides the blue padlock symbol in your web browser). You can now view your new website via your domain name!
However, we aren't quite finished yet, because we still have to generate and submit a special sitemap file to Google to help your site be found, establish a Google Analytics profile, install the Google Analytics tracking codes, Social Media tracking codes, and any other third party tracking codes that may be required. Once installed the tracking is then verified to confirm that it's all working.
We can finally raise a collective cheer, and confirm that the website is indeed officially live!
8. Post Deployment
Shortly after going live, we'll provide you with CMS (Content Management System) training. This training usually occurs at your place of business, and as well as providing you with the skills you need to manage your own websites content and interpret its performance, you'll also learn some critical SEO tricks to ensure that the changes that you do make are deployed to their full potential!
We also periodically monitor the performance of your website on an ongoing basis, and provide you with feedback should we identify any areas that require attention.
So that was a summary of the process we employ to deliver a basic web project. If you have any questions about this post or require assistance with a potential new project, do not hesitate to contact us!