A First-Timer’s Guide to the Web Development Process
New business owners usually want their new website to coincide with a grand opening. They hire companies like us for website development services that can make their dream a reality. First-time clients tend to have unreasonably high expectations. Great websites aren’t built overnight! A basic understanding of the creative and development processes can help keep your expectations realistic.
The Development Process Timeframe
From start to finish, the web development process takes time to perfect. For responsive clients, the average site takes 6-12 weeks to complete, but varies based on many factors, including:
- Size and complexity of the site
- Number of unique pages
- Responsiveness of the client to requests for information
- Number of revisions
- Content delivery
Here’s a look at some of the key processes in web design and development and how long clients can expect each step to take.
The initial discovery process for site development should take between one and two weeks. During this phase, clients typically complete questionnaires, meet with the team, both parties will learn more about each other, and the expectations are set for the remainder of the development process. Some of the topics discussed in these meetings include:
- Your target audience
- Goals for your site
- How the remaining development process will go
The sitemap planning phase of development requires equal involvement from both parties for success. At this point, development has done their research and have pieced a map together detailing the pages and flow of the new website. In order to expedite the creative process and avoid development obstacles, clients must actively review and approve any work developers send their way. Clients should respond within 48 hours, but we’ve seen this part of the process delay projects by up to six weeks!
Content Creation and Approval
This is one aspect of your project that requires some patience. Your site’s content has to not only convey your message, but must also be search engine-friendly. Web designers and developers aren’t content writers. If you’re not writing your own content, hire a resource to research your competitors, review potential keywords, and create original, relevant content for your website. Without a diligent effort to provide feedback and approval, the content creation process can take several weeks or even months! Keep things moving forward by:
- Having an initial phone call with your content creator (and SEO team, if you have one) to discuss your expectations for the content and creative process
- Promptly review all content drafts
- Remember, that if your project includes continued maintenance after launch, you can still order minor edits at that time
Design Creation and Approval
Like the content phase, the design creation process requires your attention in order to move at a fair pace. The design stage is where your developers display their true capabilities. Expect to review aspects like:
- Your site’s pages
- Visual content
- Your site’s potential functionality
- Colors and fonts
This process is a collaborative effort. Expect to request changes and review future design drafts until the near-final product of the site layout is to your pleasing.
You’ve approved the content and page layouts, your next step is to wait for the development team to work its magic. Depending on the scope of the site, this can take a few weeks to several months (or even more for very large or complex sites). During the development phase, be on the lookout for messages from your development team. They may require you to approve certain project changes or suggest any last-minute content additions, such as:
- Terms & Conditions
Once the dust has settled and you’ve made your final approvals on the website, prepare for launch!
Is Launch Always the End?
A site’s launch is an exciting moment, but a stagnant website goes downhill quickly. Without search engine optimization (SEO), your site won’t be able to keep up with the constantly evolving competition. Most developers offer maintenance packages to help you update your site and content, but that’s not SEO.
Develop Your Next Site With the Experts of Big D Creative
If your business needs a new website or a digital facelift, the team at Big D Creative can help. Our designers have the experience and tools to create websites that help brands succeed in any industry. We’d love to hear from you and learn more about your company. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.