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Website Development Process - How to build a website in 7 steps

An iPad on a table displaying some designs for a website

There are around 2 billion websites on the web today. Of these, less than 400 million are active, and even fewer are actually contributing to the success of their owners. This is because creating a website is not a one-and-done process. Many people have attempted to build websites on their own, with no type of experience or input from professionals. Others launch their sites and never update or review them. To no one’s surprise, these sites don’t perform well.

A website is a powerful online tool, but only if it is used correctly. With this in mind, we’d like to share with you 7 crucial steps in the website development process, to ensure the success of your website, and ultimately, the business it represents.

These steps include:

Whereas no two websites are the same, the development process will look similar for all sites.

Project Goals

The first, and probably the most important step in web development is knowing why you’re building a website in the first place. When a web designer first sits with you, they’ll ask you questions about your purpose and goals, target audience, and business objectives.

Think about why you want a website. We all know it’s a powerful online tool, but do you want a site to engage more with your customers, to keep them informed or to sell your products and services? Are you simply looking for brand recognition or an increased online presence? Whatever your reasons, being able to identify them will help in the planning stage.

Knowing your target audience will also help you choose your layout, design, and style. Who are your existing customers and what new customers do you plan to gain? You might think that doing business with everyone would be great, but having a specific audience helps you tailor your site accordingly.

In terms of objectives, it may be that you are an established business and you’re looking to expand, or you’re a startup and you want people to become familiar with your brand. Having measurable goals and a custom website can help you achieve your business objectives in less time. Knowing these is a good place to start the design process. Answer honestly and be realistic about what you want to accomplish with your site.

Design creation

After you’ve identified your goals and you know what you want to accomplish with your website, defining the scope of your project will allow you to estimate the cost of building your site and the time it will take to finish. Mapping out a timeline can show you when each web page will be implemented and when your site will be ready to launch.

Once you have a timeline ready, the actual design can begin. This involves the web designer brainstorming and sketching designs while keeping the website goals in mind, the web developer building the site, based on the designer’s sketches, and the client making any edits, suggestions, or clarifications.

A web designer sketching a design for a website on a notepad

This is also where you’ll start paying attention to elements that will make a quality design. For example, your website navigation needs to be user-friendly. You need to ensure that your design is responsive - that way, anyone visiting your site, regardless of their screen size, will have a good experience. Your Calls to Action (CTAs) need to be clearly displayed and your site needs to be able to load quickly.

A well-designed site can help you make a good impression on first-time visitors, and contribute to more conversions. Your content might be good, but if your design isn’t attractive, users won’t want to stay. This is why it’s important to hire a professional web designer and not pass off the design process to an amateur.

Website content

Once you know your goals and have a design in mind, it’s time to start writing the content for your website. You can begin by deciding what pages you want to include in your website, and then doing the writing process for each. Generally, your website should include a captivating home page, an informative about page, a page that showcases your services or products, a page that answers frequently asked questions, a page with positive and genuine testimonials, a blog page to update your audience, and a page where you have your contact information.

You can choose to include other essential pages or exclude some of them if you don’t have enough content to cover an entire webpage. Either way, having quality content on the pages you choose will help you tell your story in a way that inspires people to trust you and drive more traffic to your website. It also encourages people to explore more aspects of your website, convinces users to choose you instead of your competitor, and converts visitors into buyers.

If you want to write good website copy, you need to offer useful information, and not just sell. This information should be presented in a clear, concise manner, avoiding any type of industry jargon. Talking in layman’s terms, as you would to a friend, is more engaging and convincing. Writing clear content, optimized for search engines will help establish you as a thought leader in your industry and generate trust among your visitors.

Effective visuals

We all know that content is king. However, content alone - even outstanding content - won’t lead to conversions when it comes to building websites. A more effective way of displaying information is to use visuals. This is because many people prefer to scan the pages of a website instead of actually reading the material, and content without visuals will often get overlooked. Visual content includes pictures, videos, graphs, diagrams, memes, or slides. Having a visual content strategy in place will attract more traffic and get your site noticed.

Some ways to enhance your site with visuals is by using photography, stock photos, and alt text.

If you’re good at taking pictures or have a professional photographer on your team, original photos are more personal and attract more interest. Taking photos of customers using your product or services reassures visitors about what they will be getting.

Although less personal, stock photos are a good option if you don’t have access to a professional photographer. These are ideal for blogs and posts. However, when it comes to your products and services, using stock photos might make you seem less trustworthy. Alt text (alternative text) is also useful when implementing visuals.

Alt text is a thorough description of a visual. Google can’t actually see the images you post; instead, it scans the alt text. Adding an alt text to each visual helps with SEO rankings and allows users to understand your graphics better. Well-placed visuals are a great way to enhance your site. They help you relate better to your customers and express ideas more clearly.

Website testing

Once your site has been fully developed and all the features and functionalities have been incorporated, it’s time to test it. This step is crucial to pinpoint any issue on the site and fix it before it goes live. A site that doesn’t function the way it should taints your brand and makes you lose potential customers. A few things to take a look at in the testing phase are layout, grammar, links, responsiveness, and meta descriptions.

Even if your layout looked good in the website design phase, seeing all the content together might require a different structure at times. Review the typography and white space of your site to make your content readable and appealing to visitors. Be sure to check your grammar as well. You don’t have to be a grammar nazi to be put off by misspellings or misplaced words. Most users will let one or two minor errors slide, but poor grammar makes it more difficult to read and understand content.

Another element that can frustrate visitors is broken links. Imagine a customer clicking on your “Buy now” CTA and being taken to an error page. Broken links or CTA’s that don’t work can frustrate users and increase your bounce rate. This is also a good time to check your site’s responsiveness. Not everyone uses the browser you use or the type of device you own. Review your site on different browsers and multiple devices to see if your site is responsive.

From left to right, a phone screen, tablet screen, desktop screen, and laptop screen all display the same webpage, because the site's design is responsive.

Lastly, check your meta descriptions. A meta description is a brief title of a web page. They are important for SEO. Check that the meta descriptions of each page and the alt text of your visuals are clear and concise. Thoroughly testing each page and fixing any errors that appear is the best way to avoid user error later on.

Launching site

Every day, slightly more than 252,000 websites are launched. Probably, the most fun part of the web design process is the launching of the site. Because it’s an exciting moment, there are a few key elements that tend to get overlooked.

So, before launching a site, the web development team must ask themselves: Have we made all necessary revisions and modifications? What’s our plan in case something goes wrong? How do we introduce our site to our target audience?

Four people celebrating after launching a website

After the site has been designed, tested, modified, and approved, it’s ready to go live, but don’t get too excited just yet. Be prepared to receive user feedback and expect to make any necessary changes. Although it’s the best part, launching a site is not the last step in the web design process.

Post launch

Many people believe that launching your site is the last step in the web design process. However, web design and development is an ongoing process. After your site goes live, you may still need to address any hiccups that come up.

Additionally, some things involved in the post launch step include adding content, updating material, and reviewing user analytics. For example, if you have a blog, don’t let it go stale. Add blogs on relevant information or useful topics to keep giving your visitors value. Make sure your information doesn’t go out of date. If you offer new products and/or services, include them in your site to keep your customers well informed.

It's also good practice to periodically review your user analytics and see if any changes need to be made to the site based on user performance. Websites need constant care and maintenance. They are never truly done, but updating your website regularly helps build trust and boosts your SEO.


Undoubtedly, having a website is indispensable for the success of any business, but for a website to be successful, designers and developers need to ensure they follow the proper process. The first step involved in the web development process is knowing the project goals, which entails defining what you want to accomplish with your site and how it will contribute to your overall business objectives.

Next, the design creation is where the website layout is made, according to the goals. Adding good website copy and effective visuals to catch readers’ attention is the next step. Testing every aspect of the site is the final step before launching the site, and after the site goes live, changes will still need to be made, depending on user statistics and feedback. Considering each step carefully will help keep everyone on your team on the same page and yield an effective website.

At ACE Virtual Agency, we are passionate about the web design and development process. We boast experienced web designers and developers with strong graphic design and content creation backgrounds, ensuring you have a well-designed, top-notch website. If you’re looking for someone to help you build your website, reach out to us and see how we can make your vision a reality.


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