An Ultimate Guide to Website Development - [A Complete Guide]
Now, the world is—more or less—driven by technology. Everyone is connected virtually, through the world wide web and its vast array of services, programs, features, plugins, and more. The internet that is used to communicate with people around the globe has been the juggernaut for such change that we are getting everything from smartphones and smartwatches to smart mattresses and smart homes.
But all those things are relatively new in the digital-virtual space, and the most basic thing among them that we have always used to communicate, find information, conduct our own research, shop and make purchases, and countless other things; has been the website.
Our reliance on websites is almost to a point where they have become a necessity in everyday life and living, so it should make sense that we try to make our own website, or at least, find the right guide to help us understand how to make it happen.
Websites are More Important Than Ever
With the advent of smartphones and their relevant applications, we might think that websites are getting less and less important, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Whereas creating an app is expensive, time-consuming, and requires considerable expertise, website development is far more resource efficient and requires practice and familiarity more than skill.
Understanding website development is not just imperative for website developers, but for everyone else as well. If you are a business owner, you require a website for your business. Without understanding its development, you will not be able to understand the requirements, time, and cost associated with its creation.
Similarly, digital marketers also need to work closely with website developers so that the end product reflects the brand image and brand identity they are gunning for. If you are just trying to build a personal website, well, here you can have a guide and start building your own side hustle, too!
Website development can also be a career on its own. You can be a website developer and earn upwards of 60k to 100k per year, depending on your experience and expertise. Web development has seen considerable career growth and is only projected to continue to grow over the next several years. That means not only are they a lucrative source of income, but they are also a stable career, as the demand for experienced website developers will only continue to rise.
That means, regardless of where you stand, website development and understanding it will benefit you in some way. Here we will offer you a guide to website development that focuses on three core elements.
The How To’s of Website Development
- What is website development at the basic Level?
- What is involved in website development?
- What is the process of website development?
Website Development – The Basics of It
As a whole, website development encapsulates all the work that is required to create a website. More or less, people will often think that building a website is all about doing the coding work and knowing to program.
However, building a website requires a team of professionals that have expertise in various crafts, that includes scripting, network security, management system development, server configuration, website design, eCommerce development, and more.
A website itself is quite a large encompassing term, where it can range from a text-only informative website to a fully fledged social networking site or a website application.
We often hear these few terminologies around websites and their development.
- Website – A website itself is a file, which is then stored on a server that is connected to the internet at all times. To gain access to the website, users can put in the link, or the website URL. Server storage allows public access to the website, and it needs to be maintained for the website to be accessible.
- Browser – A browser is a program that is used to access those websites. Think of Google Chrome, Opera (which is a favorite here!), Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Firefox. Different browsers can have different features, but their primary function is to display web pages.
- Client – The client refers to the device that is being used to access the website. That means that the client (your device) sends an access request to the server whenever you put in the link. Websites often have two different modes or sides. One is the one that the client sees, and the other is seen by the website host server or website developers.
- Server – A server is just like a computer, but is specialized for data storage and managing requests. The client side usually can only send requests, but the server has a multitude of other additional functionalities.
- Protocol – A protocol is an industry standard for the interaction of websites with other devices. These interactions range from data transfer to connection and communication. Examples include the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), and File Transfer Protocol (FTP).
- HTTP – HTTP is a communication protocol between servers and browsers. In short, the data that is sent to either is then translated into the language it needs to be by the protocol to allow them to communicate. HTTP is a standard for browsing websites for almost all public users.
- FTP – FTP is used for file transfer rather than communication. Any changes to a website that is already on a server are done through the FTP protocol, as well as the transfer of large files.
- IP Address – Every device that is connected to a website needs to have a unique identifier to be able to handle individual requests, which is how the Internet Protocol (IP) address functions. It is a string of unique numbers assigned to a device to be able to distinguish it from others.
- Programming language – A programming language is the language in which code is written. Each language has its own syntax or grammatical rules that allow various different functionalities. Examples of these languages are Java, C#, C++, Python, and SQL.
- Front-end – The front-end is the website that the client sees. This does not show any of the underlying code of the website. All the images, video, text, and other website elements the client sees are part of the website’s front-end design.
- Back-end – This is the server side of the website. This is represented in letters, numbers, and symbols that would make no sense to anyone except for website developers or those who are familiar with the code architecture. It is the digital infrastructure for any website containing the commands and functions to access information and client-side requests.
- Content Management System (CMS) – The CMS is a web application of sorts that is used to manage website production and make it easier to create a website. WordPress and Shopify are examples of CMS with a broad array of different functions.
- UI/UX – The UI/UX refers to User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX). The UI is everything that the client sees and interacts with, while the UX is the overall experience of using the website, from its speed to its user-friendliness.
What is Involved in Website Development?
Since website development is such a broad term, encompassing everything in it, from designing software to website applications, they are usually categorized into their respective types pertaining to the end-product and expertise required.
While most are similar, none of them are the same, hence the need for categorization.
- Website Development
- Front-end (Client side) Development
- Back-end (Server side) Development
- Full Stack Website Development
- Desktop Website Development
- Mobile Website Development
- Website Game Development
Website development contains the front-end, back-end, and full stack development, and is the core of any website. They are the three major components of website development that pertain to its creation.
Front-end website development is usually the design and UI/UX of the website that the client will see.
These visual aspects involve the layout of the website, any graphics that it uses, its navigation, as well as how its design elements interact with the client.
Front-end developers typically have to develop websites through the lens of the clients or users to create the most optimal experience.
Back-end website development is all about ensuring that the server-side of things not only works well, but works well with the front-end.
While those two often work vice versa, the back-end is like the foundation, structure, and everything needed to build the website, whereas the front-end is the paint, masonry, and other décor in a house.
The back-end contains databases, network functions, APIs, operating systems, and the source code architecture of the website.
Full Stack Development
Full stack development takes both front-end and back-end aspects into consideration. More often than not, full stack development comes after the front-end and back-end for a streamlined process. This is when the functionalities and performance are optimized and tested before they are sent to Quality Assurance (QA).
Building websites for desktops is the most fundamental and basic necessity for any website. A website made to run on desktops has to consider Windows, Linux, and macOS operation systems as well as the browsers they use.
Mobile development in the context of website development refers to building websites for mobile devices. This means building websites primarily for Android and iOS devices, which require their own specialized software.
Games on websites are just web applications that can run on a browser, and are accessed through a website. These games are typically low on resource requirements, are not graphically intensive, and use the website and its servers to store and load the game.
What is the Process of Website Development?
Website development requires several people working in tandem, so a process is necessary to keep things on an even keel. Whether the website is simple or a complex networking site, nothing about it is easy. Here, we will provide the typical website development and creation process.
Before anything is done, what the website is going to be, who is it for, what will it do, etc., are all questions that need to be answered.
This will help determine relevant stakeholders which teams to put on the website, and whether they should use that absolute best crack team or a smaller team that does not need to handle too many complicated aspects.
After the planning stage, the wireframe of the website is created. A wireframe is similar to a blueprint, though it can be a rough diagram about where everything will go, the overall layout, the navigation bars, etc.
The wireframe is meant to put the visuals of the website into a design so that designers and developers can understand what they will need to do.
The coding process brings everything from the server connections to the functionalities of the website to fruition.
#4. Building the Front and Back-End
The front-end and back-end of a website are built in parallel to each other and often require the teams to constantly communicate with each other as well.
Both are critical for any website development and require equal importance and prioritization after the wireframing and basic coding is completed.
This is also the longest process.
#5. Acquiring the Domain
Once the website is built, it needs a domain to have a specific IP address to allow users to visit it. While the domain can be acquired in terms of its legality and naming from a domain registry, websites first need to be hosted on a server before they are finally given the domain they need once they go live.
#6. Going Live, or the Launch
Code revisions, QA testing, internal testing, beta testing, and everything else required to make sure it all works well is done at this stage.
Once completed, the website goes live, and after that, begins the process for seeing the visitor numbers increase over time!
Website development is a journey, one that can have many complications, but with hard work, organization, and a whole lot of know-how, it can be possible. Here, we have given you the ultimate guide to what you need to know in creating or developing a website.
However, websites still need to be maintained, and there are also server hosting, hosting fees, maintenance fees, domain fees, and other aspects to consider, which are outside the scope of website development and more among the management aspects, so that is for another piece.