6 steps to design develop and maintain your website - a woman's hands on a computer keyboard with a tan long sleeve sweater and a cup of coffee to the left

As a business owner you know that one of your most important pieces of internet real estate is a phenomenal website. A website that draws in your ideal client will keep your marketing funnels flowing. Constant Contact wrote an interesting article explaining why every business must have a website. Unfortunately, website design and management can cause many small business owners to suffer hair loss. Most small businesses on a budget cannot afford to keep a website designer on staff, so what can we do? One option is to hire a technical virtual assistant/freelancer. These professionals can help design, develop and maintain your website for or alongside you.  Here are the 6 basic steps to website creation (and maintenance) and how a freelancer or virtual assistant can help you.

 

Website Design and Development Process

 

There is a definite process flow in the design and development of your business website. It can be an arduous (and expensive) task. However, if you find and contract with a Virtual Assistant/Freelancer that specializes in tech and website design and management, you can cut-back on your hair loss! Many of today’s technical VAs/Freelancers provide website design, development and maintenance service, like Lotus Business Resources.

 

a hand holding a circular graphic that shows the steps to website development

 

6 Basic Steps 

 

Although every web designer may have different ways of designing and developing a business website, the process should include the following 6 basic steps:

1.      Information Assembly

2.      Planning

3.      Design

4.      Development

5.      Testing and Delivery

6.      Maintenance

 

Step One: Information Assembly

 

Information assembly is by far the most important of the 6 steps. To begin, you will need to be able to convey to your web designer/Freelancer the following:

Purpose – What do you want your website to do for your business? Do you want it to sell a product or service or be a source of information?

Goals – What do you want to gain by creating this website?

Ideal Client – What are the demographics of your ideal client? A Virtual Assistants can help you create your client AVATAR. This will help determine the style of your website design.

Content – Based on your Ideal Client or Avatar — what type of information will resonate with them? This is the information you should include on your website.

 

Step Two: Planning

 

Once you and your Virtual Assistant have assembled the information in Step One, your next step is to create a “roadmap”, also know as a SITE MAP.  Your site map determines what pages will be included on your site and also serves as a GPS, to help your visitors navigate through your website. Click the following link for more information on how a sitemap is used. What is a Sitemap?

 

During Step Two, your designer can assist you in determining which technologies will be used on your website. For example, what CMS (content management system) to choose and whether your business will need any contact forms or landing pages.

 

the hands of 2 workers over diagrams showing the design options of a website build

 

Step Three: Design

 

This is the step in the process that engages your (or your Virtual Assistant’s) creativity. The design determines the look and feel of your website. To decide the best look and feel for your website; you should revert back to your ideal client (created in Step One). At this step, you should ensure that the final design is what you had envisioned.

 

Step Four: Development

 

The developmental step is where the website is created. At this point, your designer will put the actual website together. Care will be taken to choose the correct CMS (content management system) as well as the inclusion of any contact forms for service-based businesses or ecommerce shopping carts for product-based businesses. After you have been given the opportunity to suggest additional tweaks or revisions, it is onto Step Five:  Testing and Delivery.

 

Step Five: Testing and Delivery

 

At this point, your web designer will attend to the final details and test your web site. This testing is critical to ensure that your site meets the current web development standards – such as cross-browser compatibility. Forms and other scripts’ functionalities will also be checked. An important test is to make sure that your website is “optimized” and can be viewed in different browsers; as well as on desktop and mobile devices.

 

Final details include plugin installation (for WordPress or other CMS driven web sites) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  This marks the official launch of your site, as it is now viewable to the public!

People sitting on chair in front of table with laptop computers

Step Six: Maintenance

 

Even though you have an awesome website, the development is not over.

In order to bring repeat and/or new visitors (aka clients) to your website you will need to offer new content or products on a regular basis. Unless you will be handling your own updates and revisions, your Freelancer or Tech Virtual Assistant can be a tremendous help in keeping your website looking great and behaving! Many offer monthly maintenance/security packages. The pricing on these packages are based on how often you will be making changes or additions to your web site.

 

If your small business needs a new website or a refresh on your current website; or help with web maintenance or security and you are ready to collaborate with a professional who specializes in website design, website development and website maintenance, Lotus Business Resources is a click away! Simply visit our online scheduler — choose a date and time that is convenient for you — and get your complimentary breakthrough call to see if we’re a fit.

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