Website Development Process: What to Expect in Web Agency
May 06, 2022
SINGAPORE – You probably know that it is important to find the right web agency to redesign or build your website. However, it can be hard to figure out what questions to ask during the sales process and – most importantly: the website development process – what to expect once the project gets underway.
And if you already have some experience under your belt, you want to make sure that your business is getting the best out of its work with an agency (i.e., you don’t want any hidden costs or nasty surprises).
While you will find a lot of web development agencies offering variations or customisations of their website development process, some key stages are common to most. In this article, we will outline the different phases of the website development process and give you a breakdown of what goes into each phase.
Website Development Process:
Phase 0: Pre-commencement Prior To Project Confirmation
The Discovery Stage
This stage is a period of research and preparation, where we learn about your company, your competitors and your customers. It’s important for us to understand your business goals, how you make money and what problems you’re trying to solve so that we can figure out how to help you achieve them.
We’ll start with a couple of questions that help us understand more about your business and what you’re looking to achieve with your new website:
- What’s the main goal of the website?
For example, do you want more sales leads? Do you want people to sign up for a newsletter? Are you trying to sell products online (e.g. bunk bed)?
- What is the desired outcome for visitors who visit your site?
Is it that they make a purchase, fill out a contact form or subscribe to a newsletter?
- If people don’t take action on your site, what do you want them to do next?
Sign up for emails or follow you on social media? Call you? Visit your shop?
At the end of this stage, we’ll have a clear understanding of your project goals and requirements and be able to confirm if we’re the right agency for you.
Phase 1: Website Consultation & Planning
Once the discovery phase is complete and all parties involved have a clear understanding of the scope of work (and the budget), we will provide you with a written proposal outlining the project details and pricing involved in completing the project.
The proposal will include information on:
- Project Deliverables: What is included in the proposed solution?
- Timeline: When will the website be completed?
- Budget: How much will it cost? And what payment terms are being proposed?
Contract & Sign Off
Once you’ve reviewed the proposal and are happy with it, we’ll send you a contract outlining everything included in the project and confirming that everyone is on board with moving forward.
If you approve of the proposal, then both parties will sign a legal contract. After signing, things get real! We start developing, designing and writing content for your new website!
Project Planning and Preparation
At this stage, a solid plan is created for how the entire project will be managed from start to finish. If you have an existing website that requires migration to a new platform or server environment, this is also where we will perform a website audit and prepare your old site, so it integrates smoothly into the new site.
Phase 2: Visual Design & Full Mock-Up Provision
Content Creation & Copywriting
While design and development are generally the most costly and time-consuming aspects of web projects, content creation is arguably the most important. The right content can mean the difference between a successful website and one that doesn’t meet user expectations or business goals. Effective web content should be informative, engaging, written in a user-friendly voice and optimised for search engines (SEO).
As the design is the first major step in a website project, our creative team will talk to you about your needs and develop some initial designs. Next, we’ll have some unfinished mockups compiled into a presentation. If revisions are required, we’ll go through these mockups back and forth until we produce something you’re happy with.
Once the ideation is set in place, designers create a look and feel for your site that matches your brand, while copywriters produce text to support it. The design phase includes the creation of wireframes (the blueprints) and mock-ups (the hard hat tour) of what the final site will look like:
- Website Architecture
During this stage, we’ll define all of the site’s page types and page templates as well as how your users will navigate through those pages. We’ll also create site maps to show how all of those pages are connected to each other.
- Wireframing & Prototyping
A wireframe is a rough sketch of a website page that shows what content will be displayed on the page without specifying colours or design elements yet. A prototype is a basic clickable model of what a website could look like before it’s built out — kind of like a blueprint for a house.
Development and Design
With content finalised, it’s time to move on to the design and development phases of the project. During these phases, design mockups are turned into functional websites executed by our in-house development team.
You’re probably aware of templated versions of websites and are wondering what your options are when it comes to a custom-built site. Both approaches have pros and cons, and each will be discussed below.
|Templated Web Design||Custom Web Design|
|What is it?||A pre-designed, ready-to-go website that is created from a template.||A tailored solution using the latest development standards and best practices.|
|How does it work?||Web agencies will select a pre-built theme and modify it to meet your business needs and brand.||Web agencies offer custom solutions with carefully curated designs and features built according to your needs and specifications.|
In a nutshell,
Websites created using templates are fast to build, which means you can get up and running quickly. Because templated themes are ready-made, they cost less than bespoke web design. However, you’re limited in terms of customisations because you’re working with a pre-built theme.
On the other hand, a custom web design process costs more and takes longer than using an out-of-the-box solution, but it can potentially help you stand out among your competitors, build trust with your customers, and improve conversions.
Phase 3: Website Training
End-to-end Testing including Test Purchases for Ecommerce Sites and Training on Content Management Systems (CMS)
User Acceptance Testing (UAT) Phase
The UAT phase is where the rubber meets the road. Will the website work? Will it fulfil the functional requirements for which it was built? In this phase, you and your agency will test the website to ensure it functions as it should. The UAT plan will include a list of all browser and operating system combinations that need to be tested. It’s important to test in your target market’s primary browser, but it’s also important to test in all major browsers on desktop computers, tablets, and mobile devices — even if those are not among your target market’s primary browsers.
To ensure that you’re getting exactly what you want, it’s critically important to read every detail of each page of your website while testing. If you find any errors or problems at all — no matter how minor they seem — write them down and report them immediately so your agency can address them.
Phase 4: Project Completion & Website Launch
Refining & Iterating
Once all the design and development stages are complete, your web agency will send you a preview of your website. This is your opportunity to review the site and request changes before it goes live.
About now, your web developer will be in touch with you to discuss your plan for hosting and email services. Hosting is where your website lives on the internet, while email refers to the services used to send and receive emails through your domain name. Before you can start sending emails or launch your new website, these have to be set up.
Your web developer will also discuss maintenance options with you at this stage. You can choose an ongoing maintenance package or opt for a one-off fee to launch your site. In either case, they’ll hand over a log-in so that you can update your site yourself.
Once the project has passed its Quality Assurance (QA) review, you’ll be able to sign off on the project, and it will go live!
Website Development Process: What’s Next?
A website project may seem overwhelming to start, but by keeping a clear communication line with your agency and having a thorough strategy prepared, you can ensure your new website is launched on time, under budget and with great success.
We are here to help your business succeed. It’s our mission, and it’s why you’re here, too. You have big ideas, dreams and goals; dreams of growth, dreams of making a difference. Achieving those dreams starts with a good website that looks professional, performs well, and drives the kind of results you expected when you first thought, “I need a website!”
If you are unsure about website development and want an experienced hand to guide you, consider engaging FirstCom Solutions’ web development services.
Speak to a consultant about designing and building a quality website for your business. Enquire today!