Website Building Process
From designing graphics and user interfaces to producing content, building a website involves a wide variety of tasks from different disciplines. Keeping such a project focused and moving forward can be a challenge. As with other complex projects, a little planning can go a long way when you are building a website. By developing a plan for your website, you’ll be able to stay focused and also break down the website building process into smaller steps.
Start by defining a goal for your website. Are you trying to sell goods or services, inform people, sign up new members, entertain people or something different? By listing your goal, you can keep the building process focused on producing a website that achieves your goal. Your website plan should include the categories of information or content that will be presented, what type of media will be used and how users will navigate around your website. You can draw a map or flow diagram that outlines how users can interact with your website.
Choosing a graphical theme can appear simple, but don’t underestimate the importance of having a well thought out and expertly crafted graphical theme for your website. The appearance of your website is essentially your first impression with visitors and may determine your success. Graphical themes include the choices of colors and the layout, sizing and type of graphical elements. You can use other websites as inspiration and as a source of ideas, just be sure not to copy another website’s graphical theme directly. You can hire a freelance graphic designer to help you come up with a graphical theme and design for your website.
Your website will need interesting content to keep visitors engaged and returning to your site. Content can include articles, videos and images. Choose media types that will help convey your information and support the goal of your site.
Once you have a graphical theme and content, you can publish your website. There are numerous ways to publish a website including content management systems, such as WordPress, and hand coding HTML files that are uploaded to a website hosting service. Choose a publishing method that best suits your needs. For example, if you are planning a blog, then you’ll want a publishing system that supports frequent updates. On the other hand, if your site only has a few pages and will not need to be updated often, then an HTML website may be a good choice. Sites that rely on animation or other moving elements may benefit from being published using a multimedia system, such as Adobe Flash.
You’ll need to test your published website. Visit the site as a new visitor would and check the appearance and functionality. Make sure graphics display properly and that your menus or other navigation elements are working correctly. You may even want to publish to a test environment first before making your website available to the public so that you can test and make any changes before going “live.”