Creating a website is more than just designing the look and feel of an online entity. There are many aspects of website development that are less glamorous than designing beautiful mock-ups to impress a client and including fancy effects to woo visitors. While even these fun aspects of designing the website can be challenging at times there are also many other things that have to be considered. Research, responsive design, SEO, content management and website analytics are all important aspects of web development that cannot be ignored.
Every website is different and the design depends on a number of factors. Who does the website target? On what devices will the website be viewed? What functionality is required? These are just a few questions that need to be answered by research. The client is an invaluable source of information but not the only source that must be identified at this stage. Industry best practices and trends must also be considered. Improper research can doom a website to failure before it is even launched.
Gone are the days when you could assume with confidence that the majority of users would be viewing your website from a desktop or laptop computer. Mobile devices including smart phones and tablets have risen to a point in popularity that they cannot be ignored. Responsive design allows you to cater for a variety of different screen sizes in a manner that is seamless to the user.
Optimizing websites for search engines helps make your website more easily discovered. With more and more websites coming online every day it is increasingly more difficult to stand out. You want your relevant content to be accessible via a search and be as close to the top of the results as possible. SEO cannot be an afterthought, since it has to be integrated into the website development.
Content Management Systems
Most web design clients are not designers and are not comfortable in delving into code to update their websites. They do however want trhe control to be able to add, remove and modify content on the site they are paying for. The solution to this is a content management system (CMS). A CMS acts as a separation that splits a website into the front end that visitors ssee and the back end that the client uses to update the website. The CMS is more user-friendly than actually writing code. COntent management requirements need to be known before the website is designed in order to cater for that functionality.
When you have launched your website you will obviously have questions about its performance. Is your website meeting expected targets? How many visitors are you getting a day? What channels do they take to get to your website? All of these questions can be answered by website analytics. Bear in mind that the more specific information you want about your website visitors the more you may be encroaching on their privacy. This is why website analytics are directly correlated to privacy policies.