Today practically all businesses, regardless of their size or industry, have an online presence. And the recent data provided by Statista only proves this fact. In 2021, there were reportedly around 1.8 billion websites. The overall population will hit 2 billion by 2022.
So yes, a company website is definitely a must.
If you just started a business and didn’t get a chance to set up a website, we can help.
We created a detailed website development guide based on our experience in building powerful and robust web solutions for different domains. Be aware that this article is dedicated to the custom website development process, so we will not cover the topic of website builders here.
Instead, we will provide you with specific steps you should take if you wonder how to develop a website unique in design and functionality.
What is a website, and why does your company need one?
Before exploring the key reasons why a website is crucial for your business, let’s find out what a “website” actually means.
Wikipedia defines a website as “a collection of web pages and related content identified by a common domain name published on at least one web server.”
Individuals and organizations create websites for several reasons. When it comes to corporate websites, they are built with the following purposes in mind:
- Lead generation. The first reason to build a website is lead generation. As soon as users find your website online, they will want to learn about your brand and the products or services you offer. The key company information on the homepage will allow you to ensure the credibility of your business and gain more customers.
- Selling products. Over the last few years, online shopping has become increasingly popular. This trend encouraged entrepreneurs to start selling physical and digital products on specific platforms called e-commerce websites. Such sites have in-built functionality that allows online payment processing.
- Branding. A company website is perfect for showcasing your brand to your potential customers. Here you can tell your company story and share your mission and vision. When customers understand clearly who you are and what you stand for, they will buy your products or services more willingly.
- Information and education. Informational websites are designed to provide users with unique, engaging, and valuable content. Businesses create such websites to share branded and customized information related to their company or industry with potential and existing customers, investors, and partners.
Website development process: 7 Steps to follow
So what is website development? This term refers to tasks and activities associated with designing, building, and maintaining websites. It is a complicated process that consists of different stages. The number of stages varies depending on the website type and your specific business goals.
Generally, the workflow for building an average custom website looks the following way:
- Discovery and research
- Planning the website structure
- UX/UI design
- Website content creation
- Building the website
- Testing the functionality
- Launching and maintaining your website
Now let’s take a more detailed look at each separate step.
Step 1. Discovery and Research
When you decide to develop a website, it is crucial to answer the following questions:
- What are the main business goals you expect to achieve by investing in website development?
- Who will be your target audience? What are their pain points? How are you going to address them with your website?
- What are your main competitors? What marketing strategies do they use to attract customers to their websites? What are their revenue models?
Proper market research will provide you with answers to these questions. Look for social and data statistics that will allow you to build more than an ordinary website. Armed with this information, you will be able to beat your market rivals with a unique and powerful web solution.
The most popular website types
As soon as your business goals are specified, you should define what type of website you are going to build. Here you need to choose one of the following categories:
- E-commerce website. It is an online platform where shoppers can buy different products. If you have a brick-and-mortar shop, you can launch an online store to gain more customers and thus grow your business. If you don’t want to deal with inventory management, you can build a marketplace website where you will be a mediator between buyers and sellers.
- Business website. As you may guess, such websites are designed to showcase a specific business. For example, on our homepage, you can find information about software development services provided by Syndicode. Also, business websites often feature examples of completed projects, awards, and customer testimonials to prove the company’s reliability and trustworthiness.
- Social media websites. Recently popular social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest have become powerful marketing tools for raising brand awareness and generating new leads. You can go even further and create an entirely new social media website to connect with existing and potential customers and promote your products or services.
- Web portals. Generally, such websites are designed to meet the internal company needs. For example, you can create a separate portal for communicating with vendors or partners. Web portals are different from other websites because they have a more complex structure and personalized access.
- Landing page. It is a one-page website usually built to support a specific marketing campaign and encourage users to take a particular action. It would be a good idea to create a landing page before launching a new product to capture the attention of your potential customers and encourage them to learn more about your latest offering.
- Non-profit. If you run a non-profit organization, you will need a website to overcome two serious challenges: finding the required funding and building awareness. By bringing your values to the public and communicating your mission, you can educate and empower your audience to take the actions required to make the world a better place. You can even add e-commerce website functionality to receive funds directly.
Step 2. Planning
When you define your business goals and the type of website that will help you achieve them, you can start planning the website structure.
Here you should start with creating a sitemap. However, don’t confuse this term with the sitemap.XML. The latter is an XML file that allows search engines to discover your website and crawl its content.
Sitemap, in turn, resembles a family-tree diagram that helps you visualize the structure of your future website.
To create a sitemap the right way, you should take care of several things, namely:
- What individual pages will your website have? How will these pages link together?
- What will the hierarchy of these pages look like?
- What content will these pages contain?
- What categories will your website have?
Below you can see the example of a sitemap of a typical e-commerce website.
The next step is wireframing. Wireframes are visual tools showing the webpage structure, layout, user flow, functionality, and intended customer behavior. Since they focus on user interaction and represent the initial concept of a future web solution, colors, graphics, and styling are reduced to a minimum.
The main goal of wireframes is to provide stakeholders, UI/UX designers, and the website development team with a clear understanding of the future website’s structure.
Step 3. Design your website
Steve Jobs once said that the design isn’t just what it looks like and feels like — design is how it works. We cannot but agree with this statement.
Indeed, website design does not end with building an aesthetically pleasing solution. You should also focus on making a user interface intuitive and easy to use. The ultimate goal is to ensure that people who visit your website for the first time can use it without any training or manuals.
When designing a website, you need to keep in mind your target audience and their key demographic characteristics, such as age or location.
For example, if your future website is for children, build the simplest navigation, use bright, vivid colors, and add illustrations, infographics, or gamification elements.
Here is a good example of a website designed specifically for kids:
If your website is aimed at older people, you should consider creating meaningful content written in well-readable contrasting fonts, uploading photos of real people, and publishing ads with a detailed explanation of the benefits of your product or service.
Since the number of websites is growing steadily, it is getting increasingly difficult to capture the attention of the online audience. Following the latest web design trends and standards will help you build a unique website that will stay fresh and modern through the years.
Statista predicts that there will be 7.33 billion mobile users in 2023. These figures alone encourage businesses to invest in mobile website development.
Another strong reason for making your web solution convenient for mobile users is Mobile-first indexing, which Google rolled out in 2018. From that onwards, the internet giant used the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.
Below you can see some tips on making a mobile-friendly website.
- Make sure that the most important information, such as a customer support phone or your company’s physical address is easy to find.
- Get rid of pop-up windows or text-blocking ads.
- Use bigger buttons since small buttons are difficult to deal with on a small screen.
- Make the website speed your top priority.
- Avoid clatter that can confuse smartphone owners and make it hard to navigate your website.
- Use a large font size.
- Do not forget to use the Viewport Meta Tag to check how your website will be displayed on mobile.
- Perform mobile testing regularly.
Step 4. Take care of the website content
Content lies at the heart of your website. It should be powerful and engaging enough to encourage customers to purchase your product or use your services.
You need a solid and consistent content strategy to achieve your business goals and gain new customers. Use the following steps to make one:
- Specify your unique value proposition.
- Determine the key buyer personas.
- Choose the right tone that your audience will understand.
- Prepare content for each stage of the customer journey.
- Consider creating different types of content: whitepapers, blog articles, compelling text for the about us page, case studies, eye-catching infographics, videos, etc. You can even consider launching your podcast to inform the audience about your business.
- Write compelling copy.
- Measure and track the performance of your website content.
SEO-optimization of your content
It’s worth noting that your content should be SEO-optimized to draw as many target users as possible. Specifically, you need to add associated keywords, meta, and title tags.
Additionally, headlines and visuals should be optimized to get a higher CTR and increase engagement.
Step 5. Build your website
So how to develop a website? To answer this question, let’s discuss the main website development steps.
Choose the right development approach
Out of three main approaches to website development—hiring an in-house team, using out-of-the-box solutions, and building your website from scratch—the latter is the most suitable. Here is why.
Unlike ready-made solutions that will provide you with a generic website, custom website development will give you a web product with unique functionality that cannot be found on similar solutions. It will be tailored to your specific business needs or requirements.
Another benefit of bespoke software is higher security and reliability. Built-in security mechanisms will protect your website from common threats and vulnerabilities. Besides, any reliable website development company follows the latest security standards and knows how to safeguard your sensitive data.
Apart from that, by choosing the custom website development approach, you can count on continuous maintenance and support. It means you can update or tweak your solution at any moment. At the same time, with out-of-the-box products, you depend on the software provider and have no control over updates.
Define the technology stack for website development
The technology stack consists of two equally important parts: front-end and back-end, or client-side and server-side correspondingly.
The workflow of these two sides can be represented visually in the following way:
Let’s discuss each part of the technology stack in more detail:
It is responsible for business logic implementation, hosting, and deployment. The server-side technologies include an operating system for the website development process, programming languages and web frameworks, web servers, and database management systems.
The most popular programming languages for building a server-side of your website are Java, Python, PHP, and Ruby. When it comes to web development frameworks, we would recommend using Django (Python), Laravel (PHP), Ruby on Rails (Ruby), and Flask (Python).
We should also mention databases where all your company information will be stored. The list of database technologies includes PostgreSQL, MySQL, Redis, and Elasticsearch.
Front-end or client-side website development refers to anything that users can see on their screens.
Step 6. Perform website testing
Ideally, quality assurance engineers should join the website development process at the very beginning, namely at the presale stage.
Thus, at Syndicode, QA specialists test the requirements our business analysts receive from a client. Then, they ask clarifying questions to help the development team properly build a website’s architecture.
In case when quality assurance, engineers join the project in the middle of the website development life cycle, they test functionality that has been built. Usually, the front-end and back-end parts are tested separately. After that, the functionality is tested as a whole.
Software testing is one of the main website development steps that imply performing manual and automated tests to identify any bugs or defects. The ultimate goal is to ensure that each website function works as it should even under high loads before deploying the solution to production.
You should not ignore the importance of testing for complex web solutions or e-commerce projects where your customers expect the security of the transaction process and the safety of their sensitive information.
Traditionally the website testing process looks the following way:
Step 7. Launch and maintain your website
The launch is the last and the most important website development step. Once all bugs are fixed, your website can be deployed to production. It is the moment it goes live and becomes accessible for search engines and Internet users.
However, your partnership with a reliable software development company does not end with the website launch. Their specialists should provide you with support and maintenance services. To be more specific, your technology partner should monitor your website performance to make sure that there are no bugs or downtimes that can harm user experience and cost your business a lot of money.
Besides, the maintenance and support team will update your website regularly with new content and functionality to satisfy the increasing demands of your audience and, consequently, for growing organic traffic. By adding features that cannot be found in similar web products, you get better chances to beat your market rivals.
How to promote your website?
Building and launching your website is only half the battle. You need to improve it constantly to keep up with your growing business demands. To be more specific, you need to experiment with different elements of website pages such as copy, CTAs, titles and subtitles, meta tags, and images to find out which option resonates with your target audience the most.
Search engine optimization
SEO optimization can be seen as one of the most proven ways to drive more users to your website.
To start with, you need to ensure that you meet all SEO requirements for a new website, namely:
- Web page titles and meta descriptions should be relevant to the represented page.
- Your website URL should have a search engine-friendly structure.
- Your page headings are unique and customizable.
- You can easily edit image titles and ALT tags.
- There is build-in search functionality on your website.
- The website is mobile-friendly and optimized for mobile devices with different sizes and screen resolutions.
- Server response time for your website is <500ms.
- There is a customizable 404 page on your website.
Conversion rate optimization
Conversion rate optimization is the process of improving your website to increase the number of leads and consequently, grow your revenue.
Below you can see the most efficient CRO strategies that you should implement within your website.
- Add text-based CTAs to your blog posts to encourage visitors to take the desired action.
- Perform A/B testing. Test different versions of your landing pages, CTAs, or website copy to determine which option will resonate with your target audience the most.
- Optimize your best-performing blog posts.
- Consider retargeting or re-engaging your website visitors with a well-crafted copy or captivating images.
Below you can see the most popular marketing strategies for promoting your website:
Benefits of outsourcing to develop your website
Today, many business owners entrust their website development projects to a reliable software development company. They find it a great way to obtain efficient services at an affordable price.
Let’s look at the main reasons why it is a good idea to outsource your website development project:
If you hire an outsource software development company, you do not have to build and maintain your in-house website development team. As a result, you should not care about office space, hardware, and software, not to mention salaries, sick leaves, and compensations. The web development company covers all these expenses.
Focus on primary operational activities
Partnership with a reliable software company that knows how to develop a website the right way saves you from dealing with complicated technical nuances. As a result, you get more time to spend on customer retention, marketing, and selling strategies, searching for funding, and other activities to increase your bottom line.
Access to the talent pool
Another strong reason to outsource your website development project is that you will have easy access to the most qualified and talented software specialists worldwide. You do not have to hire a local company to find out how to develop a website. On the contrary, you can partner with a reliable software development company from another region with lower website development services costs. This way, you will get a powerful digital solution at an affordable price. How much does it cost to build a website in 2022?
To answer this question, let’s discuss the key factors influencing website development expenses.
- Development approach. The out-of-the-box solutions are less expensive than bespoke software. Still, custom website development will help you save money in the long run.
- Website complexity. The more sophisticated features you want to add, the higher the price. Here you should carefully consider whether your website needs complex navigation or a tricky shopping card. Will your website visitors be able to find what they are looking for without any destruction?
- The geographic location of the vendor. The cost of website development services provided by a company from North America or Western Europe will be more expensive compared to services of a website development company located in Eastern Europe. However, the quality of Eastern European web developers remains pretty high.
- Website type. Building a complex web portal or a custom e-commerce solution is not the same as creating a landing page or a company blog. The first two website types require enhanced security and a complex workflow that will increase prices.
If you need some specific figures, based on our experience, we can say that the cost of a basic website with limited functionality will cost you $80,000-120,000. At the same time, if you want to expand the primary feature set, the price will rise up from $140,000-200,000.
Here we should focus your attention on the fact that we provide you with rough estimates. Each project is unique, and a completed solution’s final price will depend on your specific requirements and business goals.
We hope our website development guide answers all your questions regarding the website development process. If you are looking for a reliable software development company to build your website from scratch, feel free to contact us.
Syndicode has vast experience in marketplace development and building complex web solutions across multiple industries and domains. Based on our expertise, we will help you solve your business challenges with a robust, powerful, and eye-catching website.
For more information about the project we have successfully delivered, feel free to check our case studies.
Basic website questions
Web hosting is an online service that provides organizations or individuals with storage and computing resources required for creating, publishing, and maintaining websites and making them accessible on the Internet.
CMS or content management system is a specific type of software that provides users with an opportunity to create a website fast without coding. Also, it is a software solution that allows companies to create, manage, store, and publish digital content.
An IP address, also known as the Internet Protocol, refers to a unique address identifying a device on the internet or a local network. Internet Protocol, in turn, means a set of specific rules that govern the format of data sent via the internet.
HTTP and HTTPS are protocols to exchange data between web browsers and websites. The only difference is that the latter protocol is more secure. It uses TLS (Transport Layer Security Protocol) to ensure the safety of data transfer.
Hourly rates set by web developers depend heavily on their experience and geographic location. More specifically, if you want to hire a company engaged in the development of websites from North America, their average hourly rates will be $101-120 according to Arc. At the same time, if you choose senior web developers from Eastern Europe, these figures will be $61-80.
There are several reasons to consider Syndicode as your website development partner. The first one is our vast experience. Since 2014, we have been building various websites for different industries. Such expertise allows us to create websites that meet specific requirements and solve business challenges. The second reason is our highly-skilled, dedicated development team. By choosing Syndicode, you will get a reliable partner who will provide you with the required assistance at each stage of the software development process from a discovery session to the product launch. Our skillful development team has great experience building custom websites with unique functionality for multiple domains, whether healthcare, fashion, e-commerce, or travel.
The time frames for building a website depend on its complexity. The more sophisticated features you want to implement, the more time the software development team will need to build them. We recommend releasing an MVP at first with very basic features to test the waters and get feedback from early adopters. Suppose you want to create a marketplace website. It will take 4-5 months to build an MVP with personal profiles, administration panels, a product page, payment gateways, and a shopping cart. To build a fully-fledged e-commerce website with wish lists, a notification system, and product comparison, you will need 9-12 months.
The ultimate choice depends on your budget and business goals. If you want to launch a website in the quickest time possible and have a limited budget, then website builders will work for you. However, if you want to get a unique digital product with features that cannot be found in similar software solutions, we recommend investing in custom website development. Sure, such software will be more expensive. However, you will be able to save costs in the long run since you will not have to pay for licenses and subscriptions. Besides, bespoke software is more secure than out-of-the-box solutions.
There are several tips to follow to choose the best possible domain name for your website. First, add your brand name or targeted keywords if they fit naturally. This way, you will help search engines understand better what your website is about. Second, keep your domain name short and ensure that it is easy to write, spell, and pronounce. Finally, leave room to expand, especially if you plan to introduce new products or services.