Web Development: No Longer a Mystery
This one is definitely for the beginners. Have you wondered where to start with Web Development? You are not alone. Many a times, individuals and even businesses contemplating web development are faced with multiple questions and choices. Decision making becomes difficult without enough knowledge or unless you have engaged a highly trustworthy, reputed and skilled agency or partner for your web development.
The web is genuinely a distinctive environment that is continually evolving and changing. Presence on the web starts simply with a web page. And what is a website? But a group of web pages hosted together on an internet server, representing a brand, business or just any entity? Web development is really a generalized term encompassing a wide range of activities that contribute to the evolution of a web site. Web development plays an important function in the modern scenario. It implies the task associated with developing a website. The very first step to establish a business’ presence on the web, it is crucial to fostering business growth.
It is the objective of this article to help with key considerations in making choices for such a web development initiative.
The Battle over Web Development and How to Win It
Let’s address the ‘What and How’ of Web Development Choices
Vital and fundamental to web development is an optimum design of a website that combines the power of the developer’s genius at designing with the technological advances in the arena. This combination has the potential to create the very best product on the market. At the same time it cannot be overlooked that central to any web development and its successful outcomes are the business objectives and the function a business is trying to accomplish via its website.
While the following is not a definitive list, your website could be fulfilling any one of the following or more functions.
- An information site
- Directory or aggregation of listings
- Blog site
- Personal or Brand site
- Business website
- A portal of some kind like employee or customer self-serve portal
- An ecommerce website
Clarity of function and the objective
Development of a website starts like any other software development project. It needs a clear statement of objectives, functions and hence the detailed requirements of the website. For an internet site it is therefore important to secure all the information regarding the specific organization, brand or possibly the specific product or assistance it is going to represent when embarking on the project.
Technology and its implications to web development
This section is by no means exhaustive, but is in our opinion an adequate guideline to decide the basic direction regarding the software or platform to use. It is only an attempt to aid you in evaluating possible technology options; once again driven by your objectives and the desired outcomes of the business.
A website that requires little or no change through its lifetime is considered rather static and can be built easily as an HTML site. On the other hand, websites that will continue to have frequent content changes, posts and other updates may be considered rather dynamic and therefore be preferably built with a content management system.
While the former requires technical resources for updates and changes to the site, the latter is easier for non-technical resources to update through its lifetime. However since the content management system (like the Word Press) itself is a piece of software, updates to the latest version of the software is a regular maintenance activity. That said, requirements of servers hosting HTML sites is much less; no need for PHP and MYSQL database to be installed, and so also a cheaper server with low resources can run an HTML website at great performance.
In the long run, if an HTML site needs changes, it means hiring technical resource for the updates, incurring recurring cost of technical developers. On the other hand a WP site will require no change. Content can be updated as required without engaging technical resource. In such scenarios, an HTML site could prove more costly in the long run if multiple changes are involved.
There is also an option to create that balance between the two. The main business website a.k.a. money site may be built with HTML, giving great performance, fast rendering and huge flexibility in design. The company blog may be on a content management system like Word Press. This way your organization may secure the benefits of both technologies.
If your website needs a massive database, complex security and transactional work flow and if pages will need to be produced dynamically, it’s always better to go for traditional programming procedures. This is typical of portals as listed above like the employee and customer self-serve portals, etc.
Similarly if the website is serving as an online store, there is packaged software like Shopify and Woo Commerce. But for a more flexible design, build, payment gateways, security and work flows, you may want to go the traditional programming route here as well.
Last but not the least important are responsiveness and the speed. A website renders effectively on any device; be it the desk top, the tablet or a smart phone and great speed makes for excellent user experience in turn rewarding the website with visitors that will stay longer and explore more reducing bounce rate and likeability by search engines.
Besides the platform choices and the technical design parameters, you need to remember one thing about website development; it is a software development project and therefore will follow a software development project lifecycle. The level of specification and detail may vary based on the platform chosen, but the necessary stages of requirements, design, build and test will definitely need to be followed and meticulously at that.
In the final assessment, one must take not only the upfront design and build costs into consideration, but also the recurring maintenance costs that add up for a business. And this could sometimes become the deciding factor for some web development initiatives.
Let’s look at the ‘Why’ of Websites
Websites have a multitude of objectives; personal, business, transactional and commercial. Two key objectives that every website has and needs to fulfill are traffic and conversion. You want your website to be found and get massive traffic. This is one objective that no website in existence can deny. Further your website has to have the ability to convert the netizens you have drawn into customers, followers, and subscribers.
Once the website is launched on the internet, you are thrilled. You believe everyone would just find your website by magic, now that it is on the internet. With over 1.2 B Websites online and counting, you have to deal with ever increasing competition by the minute and by the second.
This is where SEO comes in. To fulfill the core ‘Why’ of any website in existence. SEO is one of the most effective and essential solutions you can have in your strategy to rise to the top of searches and make your name count.
SEO or search engine optimization is the sum total of the strategy, tactics, the approach and techniques of making your website known and understood by the dominant search engines and driving traffic to it. In order for search engines to rank your website to start appearing on the first page of search results, your website needs to be positioned well from the very beginning.
SEO essentially comprises of procedures and methods that are applied external to the website to draw traffic from the internet; be it citations, social media or other websites that refer and link to your website making it popular in searches. This is termed as off-page SEO. But SEO also includes architectural and configuration details that are part of the website design and build, called on-page SEO.
Any web development technician, team or company needs to have this knowledge of on-page SEO to build your website right, the first time. Its architecture, design and development should incorporate all the criteria and parameters necessary for your website to perform well for the search terms and keywords it should be found for. This is of paramount importance.
After planning a Search Engine Optimized website, what next? The next but not lesser important objective, as we said above is conversion.
Key drivers of conversion on a website are discussed below. Whatever your visual design and look and feel, every website owner needs to pay attention to some crucial criteria when the website is being built.
The website ought to be created with features that enable the client to find everything which he / she wants in one area. The content needs to be organized well for the purpose. Ever fresh content on your website leads to visitors coming back for newer content. Valuable content that engrosses visitors is of prime significance. It ensures that they stay engaged with the website and search engines in turn recognize the importance of your website and rank it well.
Videos and graphics that not only convey and position a strong brand narrative to a visitor, but also communicate with the search engines are key. Lead gen capture features above the fold, an engaging story and clear communication of your key offerings all go towards making content engaging and valuable to your customers and for your business.
When you are looking for the right partner to support you in your web development project, you are going to find a lot of web design companies. Also qualified professionals that have experience in Web Application Development, Software Development and Website growth. And from the foregoing discussion it becomes essential to keep all of the key criteria in mind when making the selection.
We ask you to explore the services offered by ReignSearch, a Digital Agency in Toronto and see if they fit your bill? You can also call on (647) 660-5834 with your inquiry for a more specific and comprehensive response.
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