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A Guide to Website Development

If you’re interested in learning more about important web page development tips and how to create a website you’re proud of, this guide is for you.

The first website came out in 1991, and website design and development has grown exponentially ever since. In this day and age, having a good website is crucial for any business to succeed. A website is how your customers are going to know what your business is about. It’s where your customers are going to go to get in contact with you and find out more about your brand. But website development isn’t easy.

Developing a website includes everything from acquiring a domain name to building the front-end and back-end of the website. A lot goes into developing a website that’s easy to use and reflects your brand in a positive light. So to help you out, we’ve compiled a guide that will take you through the website development process.

What is website development?

Creating a website consists of two main steps: website development and website design. But it can also entail website programming, website publishing, and database management.

Web development refers to the functionality of a website, while web design describes the look of a website. Both are equally important skills when it comes to building a website. You can have the best-looking website that is perfectly curated for your brand, but if it doesn’t function properly, it’s not going to be successful. And vice versa.

Types of website development

There are a few different types of website development, but the most common types are front-end development and back-end development. This refers to what a user sees on the website, and what a user doesn’t see.

Front-end development

Front-end development is what the user will see and interact with on the website. This typically involves website design and includes the website’s colors, layout, fonts, and images. If you’re a front-end developer, that means you're responsible for having a website look and feel a certain way.

Front-end development involves using tools like Photoshop and Illustrator to create the website design. A front-end developer will also need to understand various programming languages, or coding languages, like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Understanding these programming languages is crucial so that a user can actually interact with the website with buttons and navigation menus.

Back-end development

Back-end development is what the user doesn’t see with the website. Back-end development is focused more on how the website works, rather than how it looks. This can include user authentication, network and hosting configuration, database interaction, and anything else that goes on behind the scenes of a website.

A back-end developer is responsible for making sure everything is running smoothly within the website. For example, if people upload their information onto a website, a back-end developer is responsible for compiling and analyzing that data. A back-end developer needs to be familiar with server-side languages, like Ruby, .Net, and Python.

Another type of website development is full-stack development. Full-stack developers can do both front-end and back-end development. A full-stack developer must be knowledgeable of both programming languages and server-side languages and needs to be able to handle all aspects of website development.

Because hiring one person to the job is obviously much easier than hiring two people, many businesses prefer to hire full-stack developers. However, it’s a very in-demand job in the tech industry.

What does the website development process entail?

The development process can look different for every website, but for the most part, it will entail the following 8 steps:

Step 1: Information gathering

Before you can actually build a website, you need to gather information. This will include your purpose, main goals, and target audience.

Your purpose is essentially the reason behind creating this website. Is it for self-promotion or to provide information about a certain topic? Your goals are what you want to accomplish with this website. Having goals will give you a better idea of how to go about creating the website and what content to include. Your target audience is who your website is going to appeal to. Every business has a target audience, so make sure you figure out who yours is before actually creating the website. Imagine your ideal customer, including their age, gender, and interests.

Step 2: Planning

Once you’ve gathered the basic information for your website, you then need to start planning it out. Using the information from the first step, you’ll create a sitemap. A sitemap is a list of all the topics and sub-topics of your website. The sitemap will help you be able to visualize the website and how a user can jump from one page to another. This step is crucial so that you can create an attractive website that is easy to navigate.

Step 3: Design

After you’ve planned the outline of the website, then you need to figure out how it’s going to look. This will include all visual content, such as photos and videos. Be sure to keep in mind your target audience when planning the design of your website.

For example, a public relations brand will have a very different website than a brand with a target audience of pet owners. You want your website to be catered towards your target audience’s wants and needs.

Step 4: Content

The content that you have on your website is one of the most important aspects of a website. Your content will convey your message to your audience and encourage them to use your website. But before you can write your content, you need to figure out your goals and purpose, which is why step 2 is so important. Your content should be relevant and interesting enough that your users keep coming back.

Step 5: Functionality

At this step is when you’ll actually start to build your website. This is also when all the above steps will come together to create the look and functionality of the website. You want your website to be user-friendly and easy to get around. The homepage will usually be created first, and then all the sub-pages will come after. You also need to make sure the website can be accessible from both a desktop and mobile phone.

Step 6: Testing

Once the website has been successfully created, it’s not quite ready to be launched just yet. It needs to be tested first. Testing the website can be a tedious process, but it’s necessary to make sure the website is running properly. During this step, you’ll test all the links and buttons on the website, check the spelling of everything, and make sure the website looks the same on a phone than it does on a computer.

Step 7: Launch

After you’ve thoroughly checked the website and tested it a few times, now comes the exciting part: actually launching it. To launch your website, you need to upload it to a server. Once it’s uploaded, you’ll want to quickly run one last test just to double check that everything is correct. The website will now be viewable to the public.

Step 8: Monitoring and updates

Even after you successfully launch your website, it’s still crucial to go back and check it from time to time. Mistakes can happen, and it’s important to stay on top of the website to make sure it remains in good shape. You want to fix any problems as quickly as possible and always keep your website up to date.

Website development tips

So now that you know the different types of website development and what the website development process entails, we’ll provide you with some website development tips so you can really get the hang of it.

  • Have a plan: Without a plan, there’s no way you can know where to start with your website. Having a plan will make building your website go much more smoothly so you can have an end result you're proud of.
  • Stay mobile-friendly: Most people access the Internet through their phones, so it’s crucial that your website is mobile-friendly. Your website should look the exact same on a phone screen than it does on a laptop, just smaller.
  • Make the content easy to read: No one wants to spend more than a couple of minutes browsing a website, so you need your content to be straight to the point and easy to read. Don’t bother with the fluff, just focus on getting your point across with words.
  • Use Mailchimp: If you need help with creating your own website, be sure to check out Mailchimp. Mailchimp has a website builder where you can easily create, customize, and promote a website that reflects your brand. With Mailchimp, you don’t need any design or code experience to create the website. We’ll help do it for you.

Can Mailchimp help?

Having a good website is crucial for any business, and thankfully at Mailchimp, we’re here to help you achieve just that. Mailchimp is an all-in-one marketing platform where you can get help with everything from building a website to figuring out a product growth strategy for your business. We have countless tools to help business owners grow their business and reach new heights, such as an online content studio, where you can create and manage your digital marketing assets.

So if you’re ready to take your business to the next level and create your own website, check out Mailchimp today and see how we handle website development.

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