The phases of a typical web development project

Just like Rome, a website generally isn’t built in a day. Before becoming a part of the internet, it will go through a number of phases and I thought it would be interesting to cover these as I’m often asked about the process of developing a website.

1. Planning

This is perhaps the most important phase of any web development project. Experience has taught me that most common problems can be avoided by proper planning. This usually covers reviewing the site brief, working out how each piece of functionality will work and trying to foresee where potential issues may occur. This process will vary depending on the complexity of the website, but is invaluable in gaining an overall view of the project and making the proceeding stages a lot easier!

2. Front end development

Once the planning has been signed off, and any early issues resolved, the website will usually move into front end development. This is where the page templates are developed using HTML and CSS. At this stage, none of the dynamic functionality is included, and the focus is just on getting the pages to look and work great on a range of devices.

3. Back end development

Odd phrasing aside… back end development usually refers to the dynamic part of the website, using a code such as php. For a WordPress site, this phase would include taking all the HTML templates that have been developed and integrating with the CMS. It may also include the development of any other custom and more complex functionality. With an ecommerce project for example, this phase would include the development of all the basket and checkout functionality.

4. Functional testing

Another very important phase of development. The goal is to test all website functionality to ensure everything is working as expected. The tests can vary depending on the complexity of the website, but it’s better to catch bugs here rather than when the site has already gone live! This is especially true for ecommerce based websites.

5. Browser testing

Prior to going live, the website will be tested in a range of desktop and mobile browsers to ensure it displays correctly. Luckily, there are a number of tools that can help make this process a lot simpler! Your website reflects your brand, so it’s important to ensure that it looks great whatever people may be viewing it on!

It can be helpful to understand the different aspects of a web development project. For me, a website is a reflection of my skills, so it’s important that the time is taken to make sure it looks great – and works perfectly across a range of devices. This can sometimes take longer, but is ultimately a worthwhile investment.