This is an answer I contributed for a broader article on outsourcing web development by insureon. View Full Post: Building a Business Website? These 7 Questions Will Show You When to Outsource
As for the design and development itself, it can often be handled in-house just fine. However, if the company has any interest in long-term marketing via search engines, it’s a good idea to get an SEO involved in the early planning stages.
We look at web development as a 4-stage process:
- Research & Discovery – This research provides us with needed information on your competitors, keywords searchers are using, actual site analytics data, and persona research and development. This information highly influences the design of your site and ensures that the end result meets the needs of your target audience.
- Content & Messaging – This is often one of the most significant portions of any development project. This phase includes reviewing and/or writing content for some or all of your site pages based on the research performed above. The content gives us a clearer picture of how best to lay out site pages to ensure the messaging works for your audience. We also ensure the content of your pages is search engine friendly (although, not necessarily keyword optimized) by crafting proper title, description, and heading tags.
- Design – Web design typically starts with wire frames. Wire frames allow us to build layouts for specific pages, ensuring every required element has a place. This reduces time spent doing trial-and-error design. The number of wire frames included varies by package. Once the wireframes are approved (for both mobile and desktop), we move on to design comps. The first set of comps will be grayscale so that color preferences don’t influence design decisions. Once the design is agreed upon, a color comp will be provided for approval.
- Development – This is where we put it all together to make a functioning website. With comps approved, it’s just a matter of coding the site and putting the skin on it. Of course, we also perform quite a bit of testing before actual deployment of the site onto the live server. This phase also ensures that the new site is rolled out in the most search-friendly way possible, giving you a firm foundation for future online marketing efforts.
Often we work with companies for the first two phases and the wire frames of the third stage before turning it over to their developers. Honestly, we never recommend doing development work on a site without going through the first two stages as these are critical aspects of having a search-friendly site that can be optimized and marketed later.