Website Development Life Cycle
Website development Life Cycle can be separated into different phases just like any other field of software development. The determination of this cycle is to assist in supporting the developers with tasks that are need to be completed at precise stages. It also enables the developer to work and follow a set of procedures and standards to help in ensuring that maximum quality is achieved. These stages are not always sequential but can be rearranged to suit a project. The web development life cycle includes the following phases: Analysis, specification building, design and development, content writing, coding, testing, SEO and social media optimization and maintenance and updating.
This is actually the most important phase. The team looks at the overall purpose of the website and how the users will interact with it. If the website will be used to interact with the existing systems then the new website must be done judiciously to ensure smooth integration. It also involves understanding the target audience so that the design can match the people using it. With various ways of gathering information, carrying out a complete analysis can take some time. The selection methods are also done carefully to ensure they give accurate information at the cheapest price.
- Online chats
- Interview with users
- Discussion notes
- Recorded conversions
- Documents and emails from clients
- Costs involved software and hardware requirements
- Work plan and supporting documents
2. Specification Building
All the elements found in analysis stage are included in the preliminary specification document. The site navigation, dynamic parts and general layout should be included in this document with larger projects demanding more facts where appropriate. After the approval of the preliminary document, a proposal is then done which outlines the scope of the project with the timelines, costs and responsibilities.
- Reports from the analysis team
- Complete specification to the customer’s representative and the individuals
3. Design and Development
After the specification is accepted and the proposal is signed off, the website building can cow begin. At this level any graphics and written content should be submitted. A prototype id developed by the team and then presented to the client for them to give the direction they would like to go. Normally the navigation and layout will be designed at the prototype. Remember the development and design is an evolving process with client making suggestions. These must be complete before moving to the next step.
- Requirement Specification
- Site design with template and prototype
4. Content Writing
This phase is essential mainly for the web sites. There are professional content developers who can write relevant and industry specific content for the site. At this stage the content submitted by the client is added to the site pages and modified to give better result on search engines. A comprehensive check on the grammatical and spelling is also done at this phase.
- Designed template
- Site with formatted content
After the content has been added the developer should then add the functionality and features that are necessary. It’s significant that the developer maintains the overall look and feel and ensures it’s not altered. If there any forms that will be required in the site they should be added as well as any dynamic feature and image sliders. If a team of developers is working they should use a CVS to control their sources. The coding team are supposed to generate necessary testing plans as well provide a technical documentation.
- Site with requirement specification
- Coding documents
- Database driven functions
To ensure that there are no issues for the client a complete testing plan should be compiled and carried out. This should also include the live testing to make sure that all the links are working. The basic steps to test functionality and content are:
- Review for accurate spelling and proof reading content including page titles.
- Testing forms and other interactive page elements
- Testing each web in various browsers and versions to ensure they display well
- Checking graphics to verify they are linked correctly and they display properly
- Printing each page to ensure the print output is correct.
- coded website
- Technical specifications
- Technical documents
- Supporting documents
- Testing documentation
- Completed site
- Error logs
- Testing reports
- Frequent interaction with designers and developers
7. SEO and Social Media Optimization
After the website is live, search engine optimization starts. URL is submitted to search engines, the keywords are analyzed, a sitemap is created etc. SEO is an ongoing process because search engines always change their requirements and strategies. Social media like tweeter and Facebook should also be used to ensure that the site can rate high. The inputs are the information on the clients’ competitor and sites with content.
- Information on the clients’ competitor
- Sites with content
- Keyword analysis
- Site submission to search engines
- robots.txt file
8. Maintenance and Updating
It’s significant that websites should be frequently updated to keep them interesting and fresh. It’s also important to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing and try to be always ahead of them. Many at times, all that is compulsory is to update the content but it will reach a time when a full reworking will be necessary. Site activity reports like Google’s webmaster tools should be monitored to identify any area that can be improved. Usually the web servers that host the websites retain logs about website usage. A log is a folder that holds all the webpages requested from the website. Analyzing the logs enables you to know the number of visitors on your site and browser versions and types they are using. You can also know their connection speeds and the most requested pages.
- Content to be updated on the website
- Re-analysis reports if needed
- Supporting documents
- Updated website