In this article, we will be looking at everything involved in creating a website. This article is intended to help you understand the activities and people involved in building a website. Additionally, this article will try to break down some of the costs incurred during web development to help clients understand why they are being charged a certain amount of cash by a developer. However, you should know that the price is dynamic and it depends on the level of knowledge that the developer has. This is true because a high-end developer will not charge the same as a junior developer who is just starting out in his/her career, the reason being the benefit of experience and the pool of knowledge that they possess.
Additionally, if you are a developer and you want to help your clients get to understand the trouble you undergo during web development then just refer them to this article. It will shade some insights to them and help them appreciate your efforts to deliver quality services.
Having cleared the air on what this article is about and who it intends to serve, lets dive right into the meaty part.
I highly suggest you grab a cup of coffee as this will be a long read but worth your time.
Who are involved in creating a website?
For a website to be successful, there are several parties that are involved. The tasks done by these people can as well be completed by one person, so long as he/she has all the necessary skills.
These parties that are involved in creating a website include but not limited to:
- Web designer: This is the person responsible for designing what is known as the front-end bit of the website. The front-end is the part of the website that we see as users or what we see when browsing through the internet. The web designer is mainly skilled in HTML and CSS as they are the languages that are primarily used to assemble the actual web pages.
- Programmer: While the web designer is focused on the front end, the programmer is focused on developing the back-end of the website. The back-end is the part of the website that deals with the logic and querying of the database. A web programmer uses scripting languages such as PHP to develop the back-end of the website and querying language such as MySQL to design the database for the website.
- Graphic designer: The graphic designer is responsible for developing images, videos or any graphic content that is required for the website. These can be logos, advertisement banners etcetera. During the web designing phase, the graphic designer will work together with the web designer to decide on things such as color scheme and graphics display on the website.
- Reviewer: A reviewer is a person who is an expert in both the front-end and back-end development of the website. The main task of the reviewer is to check whether the website created has any errors. In case the reviewer finds any errors in the code, he/she informs the web designer and programmer so that they can make the necessary amendments.
- Quality checker: A quality checker is tasked with checking whether the website has met all the requirements. Both the system and user requirements are checked by the quality checker. The QC also checks for the efficiency of the website and how effective the website is in relations to its intended objectives. In the case of poor quality, the QC then recommends changes to the design and programming team who then effect the changes on the website.
- Content Manager: This is the individual who is mandated with creating content for the website. The content manager should come up with fresh content for the website and he/she should create content for the site regularly.
What is the cost incurred in building a website?
The cost of creating a website might vary from one developer or company to another. Some of the reasons might be the level of expertise or the tools used in creating the website. Obviously, the higher the expertise and more advanced the tools used, the higher the cost will be. Despite these variations in prices, there are several costs that are always constant and we will take a look at these costs and what they cover for during web development. The costs that I have provided below are averaged costs and do not represent the real market price although they are close to what the market has to offer.
Domain name costs: This is a fixed cost that is mostly charged annually on the owner of the website. This money is used to pay for the address that maps to your website. On average, the domain name will cost $15 which is charged annually by the registrar company that offered you the domain name.
Web hosting services: This can be thought of as a charge for the server space and other services that your web server has to offer. Web hosting can be broken into three major categories which include: Shared hosting, VPS hosting and Cloud hosting which on average will cost $7, $15 and $50 respectively on a monthly basis.
SSL certificate: Another fixed cost for web hosting is the SSL certificate. SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer which is a security measure put in place to protect clients who visit your website. You can learn more about SSL certificates and how to get them in my previous article on SSL certificate. SSL certificates would cost $10 per year on average although most hosting providers will give you a free SSL certificate once you purchase their hosting services like HostGator.
Prototyping/design: This is the money that the web developer will charge you for coming up with the design of the website. It is just the same as the charges for designing a building and coming up with the prototype. Coming up with a design or a prototype before the real design makes development much easier and errors can be prevented earlier.
Coding/programming costs: These are those costs that the developer will charge you for coming up with the actual website. Activities that are covered by this cost include database design and implementation, documentation, designing the logic of the website and also the real implementation of the website among other activities.
Graphics design costs: A web developer will charge this additional cost if you will ask for some graphics such as a logo or banners. This cost varies from one developer to another but it is not mandatory if you don’t need images and banners for your website.
How long will it take to build the website?
The time taken to build a stunning website depends on several factors. While an expert would build a website in about only 5 hours, it might take a novice even close to four weeks to come up with the same website. In addition to the skill level, the approach that you choose to follow in building a website also matters. In this case, there are two approaches:
Building from Scratch (writing code for your themes and plugins)
If you decide to write your owns codes for the themes and plugins, then it will definitely take you a longer period. You will have to design the layout, ensure that your site is responsive, do some testing and implement the project when you are satisfied. In short, you will have to undergo the entire development process which might be a bit tedious and time-consuming. However, using this approach you will not spend a lot of money if need be.
Using ready-made templates
This second approach takes a shorter period since you are going to skip the design and coding phases of web development. The time will even be slashed further if you already have the design and full idea of your website in place. Using this approach, you will only be required to pick templates of themes and plugins that will shape your ideas into reality. However, using ready-made templates might not be the best way to go since it might not fully meet your needs.
Also, if you decide to use a CMS such as WordPress, building your website will take even much shorter time since it is a pick and drop model kind of and it does not require much skill.
Finally, the purpose of the website determines the complexity of the website hence affecting the time spent to build it. e.g. it would take less time to build a simple blog compared to building an eCommerce website which is complex in nature. From the above explanations, we can conclude that the time spent to build a website varies depending on the experience of the designer, the approach of building the website and the purpose or complexity of the website.
How long would it take to redesign a website?
The time that is taken to Redesign a website depends on what really needs to be changed. If the entire website needs to be redesigned, then the time taken will be equal to the time taken to create a new website. However, if only some bits of the website needs to be changed, then the time taken will be dependent on the knowledge of the developer to tackle the task and the magnitude of the task at hand.
What processes are involved in building a website?
Website development is successful if it undergoes all the necessary phases of system development. These steps are crucial and help in preventing future errors. The step by step stages involved in creating a website include:
Problem identification and planning: This phase is concerned with identification and selection of the project. Ideally a problem that the website intends to solve is identified and a feasibility study is conducted on the same.
Requirement gathering: The second stage is determining the information requirement for the particular users that will be involved in using the website. Information gathering tools such as interviews and questionnaires are implemented during this stage.
Website analysis: This stage is used to analyze the website’s requirements such as the users and how they interact with the website, current state of the website if it already exists in another version. Data flow diagrams are some of the tools used during this stage to map the input, processes and output of the functions in a structured graphical form.
Website design: At this stage, the physical and logical design is carried out. The logical design entails the specifications of processes and data models while the physical design outlines the technology i.e. physical databases, programming languages etc. to be used for the implementation.
Coding: This phase is concerned with the production of the code in line with the website blueprint available after the design. During this stage, development of effective documentation for the website, including procedure manuals, FAQ’s or read me is created.
Testing and implementation: Testing of the website is usually done in order to ensure that it is free from bugs and also to verify that the website delivers what was promised. This stage is carried out to confirm the user acceptance of the website. The website analyst acts as a facilitator and communicator between the website users and the programmers of the website. During this phase, training is also provided to the users of the website for them to be able to handle the new website.
Post implementation support: This phase deals with any arising issues after the website goes live. i.e. while it is already in use. Maintenance and support are some of the activities that take place during this phase.
That’s it for everything around developing a website (client/developers view). If you feel that I have left out anything, feel free to point it out in the comments sections. I will also appreciate you taking your time to share this piece of information with your circles.