Website Development Process Explained

A website is a piece of software, which is developed for users on the World Wide Web. Ergo, like any other software, it has to go through a rigorous process. Some of the common models for web development are:

  • System Development Life Cycle
  • Prototyping Model
  • Rapid Application Development Model
  • UML Based Development Model

However, in most models, the process goes through almost identical phases. In some models two phases may be clubbed together to make one process. In others, it may be divided between two processes.

Steps in Developing a Website

Every company follows standard methodologies, modeling tools, framework, and languages for developing a website. Here are the prime designing steps that any website must go through.

Stage # 1 – Information Gathering
The first phase in this process is information gathering. It is also the most important one, as any miscommunication at this stage, hampers the entire process completely. At this stage, understanding the company and its activities is necessary. It will also include understanding the goals, dreams, target audience, and content of the company. Asking a number of questions at this stage is very important.

Even a small doubt about the exact requirements must be cleared at this stage. This will make sure that there are no mistakes in the end product. Along with information, the exact requirements will also have to be understood. Using this gathered information and requirements, the website will be developed.

Stage # 2 – Requirement Analysis
After the required information has been gathered, the next phase in this process is requirement analysis. A complete analysis of how the developed system is going to help and replace the existing one is carried out at this stage. At the same time, analysis also has to be carried out to see how the website is going to be amalgamated with the current system. The target audience of the website also needs to be taken into consideration. In case it’s a new website, you need to analyze the requirements to get an exact idea of what the finished product should look like.

Stage # 3 – Planning
The analysis should be able to come up with a cost-effective system. At this stage, the requirement analysis team can seek help from web designers, developers, and testers. This will help them come up with a realistic plan to execute the project. The site map for the website should be prepared at this stage. The entire website may have to be divided into topics and sub-topics. The division will prove to be useful for sorting the data that needs to be put up on the website.

At the same time, a plan can be chalked out for navigation through the system. The planning should consistently take the end users into consideration. The interface should be made in such a way, that navigation between the different pages and sections of the website is easy. The plan needs to also take different forms, pop-ups, and flash, e-commerce applications, etc., into consideration and arrange for them accordingly.

Stage # 4 – Design
After planning, we come to the website design phase. In this phase, the logo of the company, colors, background, etc., to be used in the website are taken into consideration. More than one prototype of the entire design will have to be created. The prototypes are normally shown to the client. The client approves one of the many prototypes and then further work can be carried out on the chosen design.

This is a crucial phase in the portal development process. The prototype has to match the requirement and liking of the client. It is best to work in close coordination with the client at this stage, so that it does not result in a problematic situation. The developer team will take database requirements into consideration at this stage. The design of the database will be simultaneously finalized.

Stage # 5 – Development
After the design has been approved, the real development process starts. The process normally starts with the development of the home page. There are prototypes or templates created for the other pages. All the required elements on the website are implemented at this stage. The developers will also work on database development at this stage.

Stage # 6 – Content Writing
Content is an important part of the website. It has to be so written, that the customers are attracted to the product or services offered by the company. Content development can be assigned to professional content developers. Their objective will be to develop original, informative, and relevant content.

Stage # 7 – Testing
Like any software, the website also has to go through a software testing life cycle. The testing for websites is more rigorous. The procedure has to take into consideration, the multi-user system, along with server requirements, etc. Web browser testing is also carried out to ensure that the website does indeed work in all browsers. Both automated and manual testing procedures are carried out on the system. After all the in-house tests have been carried out, real time testing of the website begins.

Stage # 8 – Delivery
After the final approval of the website, it is delivered. Normally the web development services also offer domain name registration, along with web hosting services. You may want to look for low-cost web hosting to lower the cost of the project. The site is uploaded on a web server and the last test is carried out. The last test ensures that all the necessary files have been uploaded and the site is fully functional.

Stage # 9 – Maintenance and Updating
This is an important step in the entire process. It is important to keep the website updated with new features. For which the website may have to go through the entire cycle again. In case of any problem, measures have to be taken to remedy it at the earliest.

After the development process is over, measures will have to be taken to increase website traffic. Different measures will also have to be taken, so that the website is included in the web directories, which will help it gain better traffic and deliver clientele. Website submission to different search engines may also be considered, as it will help in increasing traffic. This concludes our analysis of the entire design process.

Website Development Contract Essentials

A website development contract keeps the designing and development work of a particular website within a time frame and helps the developer claim a sum for all the efforts he has put in. Contracts prove to be useful in defining the scope of a website development project. Many specifications such as number of pages to be built, graphics to be created, CGIs to be built, content to be written, etc. can be included in them. The margin of error in building pages and all the above mentioned activities is calculated in percentage and included in the contract.

Points to Consider When Setting Up a Contract
A contract for website development is mainly created for approaching the development activity in a time-bound manner. Inclusion of dates keeps both the developer and the client on their toes and thereby, the work is completed in the given time frame. Here are some points that must be included when deciding the contract dates.

  • Date of contract signing
  • Date when work started
  • Date of completing the planning and designing process
  • Date of plan approval and design creation for the project
  • Date of releasing milestones for the designer
  • Date for releasing the invoice
  • Website development completion date
  • Date for client review of the completed work
  • Date of completion of updates
  • Date of completion of final review by clients
  • Date of launching the website

Deciding the cost of a project is important from the point of view of web development services. It is recommended that the developer should demand for an advance of around 30-50% of the total fees. Keeping track of minor expenses like setting up the hosting service, buying domains, etc. and their inclusion in the project cost is also important. Charging the service fees in an upfront manner is the best thing to do. It is necessary to specify the way in which one wants to get paid; for example, by means of a PayPal account, by check or any other means. The number of revisions to be made in a design should be limited by a certain number; you could also specify that the activity be time-bound. It means that the client should be allowed to specify any changes only up to a certain date. Taking care of copyright issues in advance, through the contract, also makes abundant sense. It is advisable to decide beforehand, who (client or developer) owns the source files used in a particular program. Using legal boilerplate clauses is considered a best practice so that you stay on a safer side. Including a limitation of liability clause is important from the point of view of excluding consequential damages that result from the breach of a contract. If such a clause is not included in the contract, one might have to suffer unlimited financial losses. A developer should also think of availing legal advice to prevent any losses resulting from breach of contract.

Here is a list of elements/items regarding which copyright issues might crop up.

  • Multimedia files (For example, ‘Flash’)
  • Graphics
  • The entire design/template used for a particular website
  • Scripts and programs used in the process of web development
  • Content created for the website

Template of a website development contract should contain the following points.

  • Authorization
  • Name of the Developer
  • Web Design Project Assignment
  • Copyright Specifications
  • Rules about Website Maintenance
  • Due Date of Project Completion
  • Project Delivery Date
  • Electronic Commerce Laws
  • Copyright Web Design Project
  • Payments
  • Schedule of Payments
  • Legal Notice

Based on the points enlisted above, one can create a precise contract. Signatures of both, the client and web developer should conclude the contract document.

Creating a contract gives the web designer some authority and control over the activity of developing a website. The customer can also get value for his money with a systematic approach towards development.

Web Developer Job Description

There are plenty of jobs in the Information Technology (IT) industry, and a career in web development is one of them. As the name suggests, a web development professional looks after the websites and web-related database systems of the company he is employed in, or the client he is working for. This article gives you a web developer’s job description in detail, along with the salary range.

Job Description

The duties and responsibilities largely depend on the employer and the prerequisites of the project. If the employer has just started to establish his business, the web developer will be responsible to develop new web applications and technologies for his employer. In order to develop new Internet applications for the company, he will have to use different types of packaged and customized supportive applications. Along with creating websites, he will also be handed over the duty of developing database management systems on the web which would have the capacity to store a substantial amount of data. He has to make sure that the design and pattern of the developed website is as per the requirements of the employer; in terms of graphics, effects, animations, functionality, and features.

The can be some situations where the web developer might be sent by the employer to work for a client who requires web development services. Here, he has to first discuss in detail with the client regarding their requirements and expectations from the project. He needs to share his suggestions for bettering the quality of the website to be developed. He also has to make sure about the ranking of the website, which can be improved with a process known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). He is responsible for maintaining the quality of websites and adding to it for making it more informative. After the website is developed, he is supposed to keep a detailed record of its technical performance and functioning with the web server. If you are thinking about the entry-level job description, it mainly consists of undergoing on-the-job training and assessments for learning more about web development.

Salary Range

As in any other profession, the salary range depends on the level of expertise and experience with clients previously worked with. Entry-level developers can receive an annual pay of approximately USD 30,000 to USD 45,000. However, this salary range may vary from employer to employer. Those with one to four years of experience may get a pay of around USD 39,000 to USD 56,000 per year. With some more years of experience, there is a chance of getting promoted to a project manager or a web development manager.

Requirements

You need to be well versed in different computer languages and applications that are required in website designing and development. Some of these essential languages and software are HTML, XML, Java, C++, C#, Perl, VBScript, PHP, JavaScript, DOM, CSS, Visual Basic .NET, Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver, Paint Shop Pro, etc. For gaining entry into this field, it is essential to have good educational qualifications. Technical skills are needed for excelling in this field. If you are equipped with the technical know-how, well and good; you may be able to form a start-up of your own or something. However, if you are looking forward to gaining some experience in a good company, educational qualifications are a must.

This was some information on the job description. There can be many more duties and responsibilities that a web developer might have to perform, which usually depends on the requirement of the project he is working on.

Website Activity Logs Explained

An activity log is important for analyzing the user activities that occur on a website. It provides statistics which prove to be useful in tracking the performance of a website.

What is a Website Activity Log?
These are the records which are maintained, in order to keep track of visitors to a website. The errors that occur in site functionality are also recorded. Measuring the number of visitors to the website is the log’s most important function. These logs are maintained for a month or a quarter. They prove to be useful in understanding the trends in terms of Internet usage. The details that are recorded include the following:

  • Number of page views
  • Visiting time and date
  • Number of downloaded files
  • Referral source of the visitor

Analyzing the Logs
The analysis of website activity logs is carried out with the help of specialized software. The reports created with the help of these logs provide us with information about the average session length of time, along with other facts and figures like page views, visitor sessions, etc. Other information about the website activity includes the data about most popular landing pages, the passwords beings used, country of origin of visitors, popular referring sites, number of forms submitted, page and form errors, and popular keywords used by visitors, etc.

Based on the analysis carried out through activity logs, changes can be brought about in the website to suit the visitors’ interest. New features can be incorporated in the website on the basis of information about the demand or response from the visitors.

Advantages of Analyzing Log Files
The data used for analysis is obtained from log files or by the method of page tagging. Since the raw data is available in log files, one doesn’t have to make changes in the website, in order to collect data through page tagging. The information about visits from search engine crawlers is also stored in log files. Search engine optimization is carried out with the help of this information. Additional domain name system (DNS) lookups are not required for log files. Thus, the problem of external server calls affecting the page load speeds doesn’t occur in this case.

Tracking Web Activity
The practice of monitoring web traffic is considered to be important for making the required changes on the basis of usage patterns of the visitors. One can monitor Internet activity and keep a track of the traffic sent by ‘other websites’. The ‘other websites’ could be those of alliance partners, blogs, etc. Strengthening the partnership with websites which redirect their traffic to your website becomes possible by learning how to track the website activity. It help us understand how to increase web traffic.

The new field of web analytics has grown, as Internet usage has risen over the years. It includes the activities of collecting and analyzing data in order to understand and optimize web usage. On-site and off-site are the two types of web analytics. The visitor’s activity on your own website is monitored with the help of on-site analytics. Performance of the website in commercial terms is analyzed in this type of analytics. In off-site analytics, web measurement, and analysis is carried out, irrespective of whether the site is owned or not. The visibility, comments, and potential audience of a website are measured and analyzed in off-site analytics.

Web Development Services

A company’s bottom line does not depend just on the product it creates but also on the services it provides and the kind of marketing it does. In this fast-paced world, people are looking out for ways which will help them finish their tasks in as little time as possible. Hence, they opt for online services to accomplish their tasks. This makes it essential that every company concentrates on creating a website to market itself and its customer services. Meeting with web development companies who will be able to create such a website thus, becomes essential. These are the services that these companies provide.

Strategic Planning
Web development teams extract the requirements of the company and reflect these requirements in the website that they create. A good website design is implemented and delivered only after proper strategic planning. Proper planning with pre-implementation process considerations helps to maximize the potential of the project and thus, deliver a better product.

Email Marketing
Email marketing acts as an effective advertising tool. Instead of spending a huge amount of money on physical advertisements, email marketing provides a way to promote one’s business through e-mails. It helps in increasing the exposure that the company gets, thus, increasing the number of customers it has and also its profits.

Creative Services
Creative services involve a lot of strategies like website design, webpage coding, animation, audio and video features. Graphic design should be implemented in such a way that it is highly attractive with awe-inspiring graphics and easy navigation. People prefer websites which are user-friendly and easy to understand. The website should be created with features that allow the customer to get everything that he wants at one place. Logo design and flash services also come under the purview of website design.

Web Hosting Services
Creation of a website is followed by web hosting. Hosting ensures that the website is accessible to the millions of users of the internet. Web development companies provide web hosting services which allocates space for the sites on their server. It may be shared or free web hosting depending on the domains that share the common pool of server.

Domain Name Registration
The next step involves the selection of a unique name for the website and its registration. This process is called domain name registration. The team provides unique names with different extensions for the sites they create, at the lowest possible prices. The names may be the primary domain names that reflect the services that the websites offer.

Online Solutions
This service helps in serving customers and consumers by building FAQ sections and providing online solutions that address customer inconveniences. This can be extremely instrumental in increasing profits for the company and decreasing costs.

Better Positioning by SEO
Creation and web hosting are not the only important factors. Popularity among users is an important criteria to increase traffic. Search engine optimization is used to optimize the website for better positioning and to increase its traffic and popularity. This can be achieved by pay per click campaigns, high-targeted keywords, relevant information etc.

Thus, a team containing highly qualified professionals implement web development services for the creation, registration. and positioning of the website, and thus, increasing the popularity of the website.

How to Track Website Visitors

The advent of the Internet has ushered instant access and connectivity to individuals, and information at a click of the mouse. This technology has enabled users across the globe to establish contact with one another in an instant, and this could be to promote business or on a personal level. However, along with the excitement of attracting website visitors and profitable website hits is the need to track website visitors. Anonymity comes easily to users of the technology, and so does pseudo identity. This does get to the individual and the online businesses that are part of the online community, at some time or the other.

It hardly matters if you are a journalist, blogger, or any regular user of technology, the need to track visitors is undeniable. You could be a person exploring trends, with the intent of becoming productive, but how can you be safeguarded from the scrupulous attempts to sabotage and misuse the personal information you fed online. Today, with the increase in cybercrime, there is technology and software marketed within a dedicated resource base that ensures the timely tracking and sifting of web traffic.

There are quite a number of ways that are now applicable for tracking trends and popular resources online, while keeping a record of website users and website hits. The software available offers access to web traffic based on a dedicated and established user population. The resultant dynamic graph enables you to compare different sites for traffic. The software also allows you to view the websites that have attracted most traffic. This facilitates an Internet trend that helps to track website visitors and website hits. Then, there are blog search engines that enable you access to popular webpages, tag pages, and a trend graph.

Popular webpages helps you access popular videos, news, and books, while tag pages showcase popular tags by the hour. This facilitates you to track posts tagged by bloggers and view a search result trend graph. This, in turn, results in tracking the number of surfers and hits on your website. Viewing the page rank also enables you to assess the external pages linked to the page you are on, which depends on the quantity of the inbound links. This is also helpful to judge if the content is worthwhile or not. You should also stay abreast of the latest developments within the industry, by accessing the latest news updates within the technology industry.

Another way of understanding track records regarding the hits on your website is by identifying several regularly updated websites with ‘feeds’. You can optimize your attempt by subscribing to their feed with the help of your feed reader. You can record them simultaneously, but remember to downsize the number of subscriptions. Alternatively, you could also categorize the feed into ‘trend watching’ and ‘miscellaneous’. In this attempt to follow website visitors, it is important to maintain a low noise-to-signal ratio. It has now become imperative to try out every possible method to keep a track of website hits and misses, while at the same time its visitors.

As every problem comes with its own unique solution, so does the scrupulous use of the Internet technology. A little caution and regular updates and research go a long way in keeping you well informed about the recent developments within the industry. You can now minimize the risk you or your business run via exposure to the outsourcing of vital data and personal information by keeping a track of website users. There are number of industry dedicated resources that make important information available, online and offline. The solution sought lies well within the technology itself, and now you are just a click away!

Web Design and Development Software

The Internet is emerging as a popularly-used communication medium, due to its widespread and effective reach. Almost everyone has their own website, be it a corporate website or a personal webpage. If you have been shying away from the thought of designing your own webpage, you must know that there exist a variety of web development and designing software that can help you with the designing as well as development of webpages and websites.

Different Kinds of Web Design Software

Web design is the aesthetic aspect of creating websites and webpages, and deals with all designing elements. The web designing process can be defined as the process of conceptualizing, modeling, and execution of electronic media content delivery over the Internet in the form of a markup language that is suitable for interpretation by a web browser, and can be displayed as a graphical user interface. Web designing includes all facets like typography, graphics, and color management. There is a variety of software to facilitate the web development process; similarly, the varieties of software applications available for web designing are plentiful.

Adobe Flash
Adobe Flash is a proprietary graphics and animation application development program. It is used to generate and transfer dynamic content, sound, video, and interactive applications over the Internet. Flash is very popular with designers, since it gives them precise control over every aspect of the designing process.

Adobe Fireworks
Adobe Fireworks is a graphic editor that can be used with both bitmap and vector images. One of the prominent features of Adobe Fireworks is that it can be used to resize vector objects without loss in quality. It is used to integrate objects with other applications, like Adobe Dreamweaver and Adobe Flash.

Corel Draw Graphics Suite
Corel Draw enables users to manipulate vector images. The Coral Draw Graphics Suite offers a complete range of editing tools with which users can adjust everything from contrast to color balance. One prominent feature of this application is that it allows users to change the image format from RGB to CMYK. In addition to a wide range of special effects and borders, users can also access a large collection of fonts and clip art that the suite offers.

Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Photoshop is a popular graphics editors used by designers while working with bitmap images. Although conventionally used for print media, this software is now popularly used for editing graphics for the Internet as well.

Different Kinds of Web Development Software

Webpage development is actually a generalized term that encompasses a wide variety of activities that go into the development of a website. Web development, in general, consists of all the earlier stages that include e-business development, web content development, writing the markup, programming, and web-server configuration. Basically, webpage development refers to all activities that can be labeled as non-design activities in the development of a website. Webpage development software is specifically designed or created to help a person with the web development process. Such software can either serve to assist the web developer with one or multiple aspects of web development.

Microsoft Visual Studio
Microsoft Visual Studio is the ultimate development tool used by web developers. It helps users create websites, web applications, and web services that can be run on any platform, which is supported by Microsoft’s .NET framework. It also includes Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual C++, and ASP.NET.

Adobe Dreamweaver
Dreamweaver is a very popular application that can hide the HTML code details of pages from the user, which enables non-coders to create webpages or websites.

Aptana
Aptana IDE is an open source integrated development environment (IDE) which is used for creating JavaScript based applications on the web. The software also includes coding assistance for JavaScript, HTML, and CSS languages, warnings, and error notifications. It also provides the possibility to customize and extend the user interface.

Microsoft Expression Web
Microsoft Front Page was replaced by Microsoft Expression Web, which is a commonly used HTML editor. This software application also offers built-in support for automated web templates. The software caters to the specialized requirements of professional designers. It provides assistance for integrating other scripts like Java and XML into websites.

Coffeecup Visual Site Designer
Coffeecup Visual Site Designer is web-designing software that is useful for users who have no knowledge of HTML. It is a ‘what you see is what you get’ (WYSIWUG) type of application, which means exactly that―what you see is what you get. Users can easily drag and drop images and text on the webpage according to their requirement.

A few years back, web designing and web development might not have been something that a commoner and non-technical person would have tried their hands at. However, with the advent of so many useful software to assist you in building your website, the World Wide Web is calling out and waiting for everyone to join the league.