What are the ingredients for a successful website?

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This is a frequently asked question which isn’t quick and easy to explain. A website is a vital part of any business’s digital marketing campaign and, depending on the complexity of the functionality, it often takes very long to build. Let us try and explain a few of the steps required to build a successful website.

Where to start?

Every good website serves a purpose; it’s there to serve as a marketing platform for your company. In order to find out and understand how to meet your business needs an analysis needs to be done. This helps us understand how your brand will benefit from the website and what functionality is required to achieve best consumer usability. Based on the analysis, a list of specifications or instructions are drawn up, which form the basis of the build.

A good design

The design of your website involves more than just pasting pretty pictures. A good design will capture the attention of the user and guide them to your content, while showcasing your brand or personality. Coming up with a unique and identifiable design for your online presence is essential, and takes time to achieve.

Writing the code

Now is the time to start developing the actual website. A developer takes your static designs and breathes life into them by converting them to Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheet (CSS), and sometimes JavaScript is required for some advanced features. You can imagine this step as a car without an engine. You have the body, with all the windows, doors, seats and steering wheel, but you can’t use it yet, you still need the engine.

The engine of your website is constructed using a server-side programming language. All the functionality and business rules laid out in the specifications document will need to be built up. This ‘engine’ will make all the decisions about what is happening when people click around on your site, or, for example, add your products to a shopping cart.

The development process involves catering for different browsers and devices, validating user input to ensure it falls within specified parameters if necessary, and the storing and retrieving of data in a database. This part is complex and does take time to complete.

Making sure it all works

Another very important step in the building process is the testing phase. During this phase, each part of the website is tested in all the different permutations possible. There are specialized tools purpose built for this role to ensure that all the bugs are ironed out before the site goes live. This still requires hours of actual people browsing around, clicking buttons, completing forms, and even checking out shopping carts. All of this is necessary to ensure that once the website is live for the world to access, that they will have best experience possible, and hopefully become happy customers of your business.

When it comes to building a website, there is more to it than meets the eye. There are teams of people responsible for each phase of the development process. These people specialize in their particular fields, which means you get the best possible website for your company or brand.