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 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.