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Whether you own a company with products to sell or just have some ideas you’d like to share with the world, a website is often the best way to spread information these days. Many people are overwhelmed by the prospect of getting a site because they don’t know the process. Here is a general outline of the five steps necessary for building a website.

1. Determine Purpose

The first step of any idea is simply that — having the idea. If you want a quality website, you need to figure out what you want it to say. You can also use this time to figure out the general vibe you want the site to have, which will be discussed more in the next step. Knowing whether you will try to sell products or allow downloadable content will all matter, so make sure you nail down exactly what you expect your site to do. This will help the designers and the web development company you use make the best choices moving forward as they bring your idea to life.

2. Design

Website design is a particular skillset — it is not the same as having the ability to draw. Website designers solve problems for users — their goal is to make your content as easy to consume as possible. Many designers work for a software development company, while others work freelance and then provide designs to your development team.

It helps to provide your designers with a mood board, which will help them understand the general feel you’re going for. This doesn’t need to be anything fancy — even a Pinterest board with images, colors, and content that you like can be helpful.

Many designers start with wireframes, which is like a blueprint for a home — not very detailed, but enough to make sure they have the right direction. From there, they will add more details until the design looks like a fully-fleshed website.

3. Development

Whereas web design is a specific skillset, it is possible to get away with anybody designing a website — it’ll probably be terrible, but it’s doable. However, you can’t fake your way through web development — web developers have to know exact details about how to make a website work, and the more complex it is — for example, if there is a database with login information — the more work it’ll require.

Your development team will use the designs from step 2 and replicate those into a live site.

4. Testing

While it helps to have professionals test a website, much of it can be done by just about anybody — even if your development team has already done this, spend some time going through the site and looking for anything that seems off. Bugs are just part of web development, so if you find some, it doesn’t mean you received poor work. Make sure to check your website on different browsers and devices, because each may interpret the data a bit differently.

5. Go Live

The final step is launching your site. Your development team will do this, and it’s typically pretty quick — it’s not quite as simple as pressing a button, but from your end, that’s what it’ll feel like. Once the site is live, do some testing again to make sure no data got corrupted in the process.

With this outline, you can understand that creating a website really is not that intensive. Anybody can get their own website if they know where to start, and having the right people along the way can make the process smooth and simple. If you have ever considered having a site of your own, now’s the time to start organizing so you can share your ideas or products with the world.

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