The Realities of Building a Custom Website (a Step-by-Step Outline)

18 August 2020

As web design experts in Melbourne – we often encounter the expectation that a website can be built in a couple of hours. Whilst this may be achievable using a template – it couldn’t be further from the truth when building a custom website. As we know, the benefits of a custom website are too great to ignore.

A custom website allows you to be extensively creative – permitting a truly unique and distinguishable online persona for your brand. There’s an extensive methodology that our web design team follows when approaching a new website that involves countless hours of research and preparation before even building the website itself – so let’s take a look at the process, shall we.


The Discovery phase – getting started

The core purpose of the discovery phase is to explore the existence of the project and look at things like:

  • Whether or not it’s viable;
  • What the aim is (understanding business objectives);
  • What competitors are doing;
  • What the target audience is looking for; and
  • If there are any difficulties that may arise during the project (and rooting them out).

This phase can take anywhere from 2 – 12 weeks and is an essential first step in making any project work. It’s necessary for our web design team to truly understand everything about the project in order to effectively bring out its full potential.


Wireframing – building the foundations

A wireframe is used to plan out the foundations of a website – it’s essentially the first building stage that covers things like the sitemap and basic UX elements. These are useful to ensure that all pathways are appropriately established and designated and that all the relevant elements are appropriately assigned to each page. Once the initial wireframe is complete, then the next step is the high-fidelity wireframe. This incorporates more UI elements and is where our team starts to think more about the aesthetic value of the website– filling in the gaps with visual elements, colour and substance.


Visual and interactive design – establishing a theme

Once the site’s UX and basic UI has been established and approved, then the website’s overall theme can be chosen. The smart thing to do would be to follow the client’s branding and colours so the site complies and aligns with their brand and business objectives. Other elements that would have been uncovered during the discovery phase will also help when trying to convey the client’s business goals through visuals. These are incorporated into the high-fidelity wireframe as examples that can be shown to the client for approval.


Coding – developing the site

The website’s development is quite a dense stage that requires hours upon hours of meticulous coding. There are several different coding languages such as CSS, HTML and JavaScript that can all be used to create the website’s backend and frontend. The backend of a website is the powerhouse of the operation – it’s where all the information that keeps it together goes. The frontend is what users see when they visit a website – the glamorous part that they navigate.

Every minute detail is determined by a website’s code right down to elements such as font and the positioning of an image on a page. Building a website from scratch using code can often be a time-consuming endeavour which is why a CMS (content management system) or eCommerce platforms such as WordPress, Shopify, Craft CMS or Magento can also be used. A CMS can simplify and shave time off the process whilst still allowing developers extensive scope when it comes to versatility and customisability.


Content – populating the site

After the site has been built – it’s time to fill it up with relevant and accurate content. This content should be well-articulated and formatted to not only guarantee that it’s easily accessible to users but also SEO-driven to ensure competitive ranking on Google. An SEO strategy may be put in place as well that focuses on targeting specific keywords in order to reach your intended audience.


Testing – ensuring functionality

Before a website can be tested or even hosted, it has to undergo rigorous testing to ensure that every last link and pathway works, that all the content is factually accurate and correctly spelt/formatted and that all the media loads and works as it should. This is a scrupulous stage that is undertaken with the utmost attention to detail in order to guarantee a comprehensively functioning end-product.


Deploying – hosting the website

Once everything has been checked and the site passes the QA checklist, then it can be deployed. A domain name needs to be purchased and then registered using our wholesale registry system. The site is then hosted on our servers – which takes a lot of power, bandwidth and maintenance to support – and can be accessed by anyone around the world.


Are you looking for a web design team in Melbourne?

AWD Digital is a premium, full-suite digital agency specialising in custom website design and development. If your business is in need of a crisp, well-designed website that is designed to perfectly convey your brand goals and objectives without sacrificing functionality or style – then our digital experts are the team for you.

Contact us today by calling +61 3 9001 6255 or filling out the enquiry form on our website.