What It Takes to Build a Custom Website


Computer with succulent

As you scroll through webpages, you might not think of what happens behind the scenes. Technologies such as HTML, CSS, Drupal, Wordpress, and JavaScript may shape and define the way we interact with information, but what may surprise us is what it takes to get there. Great websites aren’t determined by code or cool visuals, but from a well thought out strategy that has been focused on reaching the organization's goals. Great websites aren’t those that win awards, but those that are a catalyst for conversions. So, what does it take to do that? Here is a 7-step plan for the lifecycle of a website.

Step 1. Purpose

When you think about building a website, your thoughts should rotate around two main issues- price and time. These two values largely depend on the size and scope of the project. After you understand what you are working with it's important to define three things: purpose, goal, and targets audience.  A well described and detailed plan on pre-development data can help you save time and money.

Step 2. Planning

The planning phase is either done by a designer or a client through the medium of a flowchart, or an outline demonstrating which content links to which pages, as well as what goes on each page. This creates a sitemap which represents how the final product will be by showing us each relationship between different pages. Now, the sitemap allows us to understand the inner structure of a website, but it doesn’t describe to us the user interface.

Step 3.  Wireframes

Wireframes are typically done by a designer with feedback from a developer and/or client. Wireframes are a mockup of the website and stand as a visual representation of the user interface; However, wireframes don’t contain any design elements such as colors or logos. They are meant to be a user interface for the sitemap to help in describing the elements on the page.

Step 4. Design

During this phase, your website takes shape. All the visual content is created in the layout with a color palette. For us, we typically fill the mockup with pictures of cats or space as well as “lorem ipsum” so the client does not get hung up on the content. For us, this design phase is still a mockup, meaning, pictures and copy will be added later. The point of this step is for the designer and the client to continually give feedback to each other till the client is satisfied with the design.

Step 5. Development

We build our sites on an internal development server that is only accessible if you have the login information. Depending on if a theme was chosen or not, the developers match the design mockups and when they feel the site is in good working order we show the client by giving them the login information for the site.

Step 6. Content

After the site is mostly built, it becomes time to add the content which is based off the planning in the previous steps. Clients can add content on their own after some training or we can add it all ourselves depending on the budget of the project.

Step 7. QA

After all the content has been added, we like to take time and answer any questions the client might have about their site.  Also, we like to work out any last-minute issues or any bugs that may have come up. After that the site goes live, we here at Dorey Design Group like to give you 30 days for any undiscovered bugs, or any feedback on things that need to be corrected.


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Thomas Raybell
Site Building