A Beginner’s Guide
ith approximately 2 billion websites on the internet, website development is more important today than ever.
Thanks to website development, we can browse sites, shop for clothes online, order groceries through our mobile devices, read blogs, and much more.
But to the outside eye, the concept of website development can seem complex and daunting — What exactly is web development? How does it work? And why is it important?
This article explains the basics of website development and goes through the entire process of creating a website — from planning to maintenance — so you can understand what happens behind the scenes.
Types of websites
Website development is the process of building or developing a website on the internet or a private network, known as an intranet.
However, not all websites are created equal. Depending on the needs of your business, there are different types of websites to consider — e-commerce websites, portfolio websites, community forums, and web portals, just to name a few.
Ensuring that you choose the right type of website will help you reach your audience more effectively, providing them with a better user experience.
Below, we discuss a few different types of websites based on their functionality, layout, and user interface.
1 Business websites
Business websites are the most common type of websites and are used to display a business, a company, or a brand.
Considering that 75% of people base the credibility of a business on how their website looks, having a professional and functional website is fundamental for growing and scaling your business.
With that in mind, it’s also important to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. Mobile phones hold a 63% share of all business website visits, which means the mobile view is just as important as the desktop view.
2 Portfolio websites
Portfolio websites are exactly as they sound — they showcase past work and testimonials of an individual or company, among other useful information.
Portfolio websites are primarily used by freelancers, artists, photographers, and designers in their effort to approach clients and showcase their past and present projects.
Considering that portfolio websites are fairly simple to build, you can create one using free online tools such as Wix, WordPress, or Squarespace.
3 Ecommerce websites
If you’ve ever ordered clothing or accessories online, then you’ve come across an e-commerce website.
An e-commerce website allows users to buy and sell physical items, services, or digital products over the web. Through an e-commerce website, users can pay online, arrange delivery, and track orders, meaning there’s more work to be done on the back-end compared to a regular business website.
If you plan on launching a new eshop, it’s best to contact professional website developers, like Hats ON, who will be able to create a fully functional and seamless online experience for your users.
4 Non-profit website
Whether you run a charity shop, own a dog shelter, or help people in need, a non-profit website can help you collect donations quickly and effectively.
Nowadays, people prefer contactless transactions, and providing an easy way to fund your cause can really help you spread awareness and increase donations.
When it comes to non-profit websites, it’s important that you have seamless integration with payment providers and excellent checkout functionality.
Step-by-step guide to web development
No big surprise here. There are a lot of things going on behind a live website; coding, programming, designing, and testing, just to name a few.
Here are the essential steps involved in the process of web development.
A seamless website experience begins with careful planning.
What’s the purpose of the website?
Consider what you’re hoping to achieve — for example, promoting products, showcasing a project, or collecting donations.
Who is the target audience?
Think about the people that are likely to visit your website and map out their demographic and psychographic characteristics.
What kind of content resonates with the audience?
Not all content is created equal. Based on the target audience that you identified, start thinking about the tone of voice you’ll be using. For example, if you’re speaking to millennials searching for fitness equipment, you might be better off speaking in a casual, playful tone.
What’s your brand’s identity?
When mapping out a strategy, don’t forget to consider your brand’s identity. This will define what graphical approach to use, including colour palette, fonts, and visual elements.
Now that you’re clear about your goals, it’s time to get into action. Building a website requires you to check the below tasks off the list:
Choose your domain.
If you’re building a website, then you need a domain. Think of your
domain as your website’s address, which visitors can type in order to
Choose a hosting service.
Next, you need to select a web hosting provider. There are many options out there, such as GoDaddy, Dreamhost, and Cloudflare – that usually come with a standard monthly fee.
Create a design.
Your website’s design helps navigate and guide website users; therefore, ensure you use user-friendly elements and meet all UI/UX best practices. You can use numerous web design tools, including Figma, Adobe XD, Sketch, and Illustrator.
Depending on the type of website that you’re building, you can use advanced features such as:
. Live chat
. Testimonial carousel
. Blog section
. Subscription offers
. Project showcase
. Contact forms
. Social media links
. Search functionality
At this phase, everything comes together to bring your website to life. The process involves creating a homepage, in addition to other subpages that your users can navigate through a menu.
An experienced web developer will work on creating solid front-end and back-end development that comply with current web standards while maximising functionality.
However, if you’re creating a website yourself, you can choose to work with a CMS tool like WordPress and HubSpot CMS Hub. Although CMS platforms are easier to use, they’re, however, more limiting in terms of what goes into the front-end of a website.
Now that the hard work is over, it’s time for testing. At this phase, you must ensure that your website is functional and compatible with different web browsers.
More specifically, you should make sure that forms, scripts, and chats work as they should and that your website is viewed well among all (popular) web browsers such as Google, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari.
On top of that, you might also want to check the performance of your website in terms of speed and mobile friendliness. You can use Google’s free speed tester to see your website’s speed on mobile and desktop. Ideally, you want to have a green score on both interfaces.
Although you can breathe a sigh of relief now, your work is not over. Maintaining the website after the launch is as important as building one from scratch.
To make sure that you have a smooth working website, here are a few things that you need to test once in a while:
. Test that your website is mobile friendly
. Make sure your website takes less than 3 seconds to load
. Refresh and update your website’s content according to business
. Use keywords strategically to increase your organic traffic. Here’s where SEO comes in
. Make sure your sitemap is up-to-date and in line with your website’s navigation
. Test your site frequently for glitches, broken internal links, and orphanaged pages
. Run security checks to make sure your website is safe and secure
. Optimise your meta descriptions and titles
. Check the uptime logs and make sure it’s not any less than 99.9%
. Update your CMS and plugins, as required
. Review analytics and watch out for potential problems. Key metrics to look at are bounce rate, traffic trends, and engagement metrics
Why website development is important
A well-designed website is essential for fostering trust and credibility, whether you’re a local business or a long-established global corporation.
Remember that the first impression is often the most important, and it only takes a few seconds for a user to form an opinion about your business based on your online presence.
Moreover, your website will serve as a central point for future marketing efforts such as Google Ads, Facebook Advertising, and Email Marketing. With that in mind, opting for professional website development services is undeniably worth the investment.
If you need help creating or optimising your website, reach out to our team of web developers and designers in Cyprus for a free consultation! We know exactly how to create a well-designed website that speaks to your audience.