The first rule in any creative endeavor is that there's no rule. What exists are best practices, experiences and guidelines that drive the entire workflow.
1The first step in creating a website is the discovery phase. This is all about: asking a lot of questions, gathering information, understanding the audience, analyzing the industry, researching the competition; and creating a project plan with goals, budgets, schedules, accessibility guidelines, personas, user testing and a stage area set-up if necessary.
2Next is the creation of the site architecture. Also called a sitemap, this organizational map sets the overall structure and creates a blueprint of the entire site. From the sitemap, wireframes are created. Simply put, wireframes work as the storyboards of the site.
3The third step is content creation and designing. Here is where information and design take shape. And good design matters. The site's look and feel is effectively communicated through an appealing and appropriate design that enhances the brand and it is meaningful to the target audience.
4The fourth step is about user testing. By creating a prototype, we are able to evaluate and measure the site by testing it with representative users. After feedback and revisions, yes, there are always revisions, the optimization and programming start.
With the advent of Web 2.0, the design and content are separate. Through the use of cascade style sheets (CSS) and other technologies, like a content management system (CMS) the content come together into a unified look and feel. And then, we test again.
5The last step is launching & beyond. We could say that, for a brand new website, this is just the beginning. Real promotions start after the website's launch. Using blogs, SEO, social networks, link building techniques, all with the support of strong website analytics, the site becomes accessible and visible.
The web is all about finding information quickly and easily, having a conversation, and building relationships.
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