Websites – we visit them daily, we have our favourites, and many of us know about their advantages. However, few know what it means to develop a website from scratch. Here are some insights into the tasks and procedures involved in developing a successful website.
After you have gathered all the necessary details about the content to be delivered, look and feel and the functional aspects of the proposed site, you can start creating a design concept and align it with your client. Be aware that there may be lengthy approval and legal processes involved, especially if your website contains publications and new achievements of the customer company. In that case, allow for extra time in your project plan.
The focal point of your overall task should be project management. Everything hinges on a mutually agreed project outline that includes among other things goals, deliverables and deadlines. From the agency perspective a key aspect is managing client expectations by relating website features to programing time and budget, as well as setting and keeping deadlines. This in addition to regular status updates will help you manage the project transparently and to motivate your multi-disciplinary team through an often multi-stage approval process.
One of our largest website projects – the development of a platform which offers free and open access to select pre-clinical molecules of the client company – took about a year of extensive programming, implementation and testing. One reason for this considerable development time was that it contained its own web shop. To ensure a smooth order process, we needed to invest ample time in testing and re-testing so we could achieve the best possible result for the end-customer and the client.
Documentation of your process
Whether your assignment is long or short, documentation of your daily processes (and progress) and the ongoing exchange with the customer is key. It is important to keep timelines front of mind and to provide the customer with an overview at all times. Tracking tools which log your work time, provide the current status of entered tasks and show how much time has already been spent are a tremendous help.
Development of the website even after the launch
After launch, your work does not stop as it pays to keep your investment up to date by adding new content and/ or new features so visitors will maintain interest in the website in the long run. An associated news feature for example can achieve that and give you an even more direct connection to your customers.
Interested in starting or updating your own website? Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org