Building a new website – or giving your existing one a new look – is often a complicated process that can take a long time and be quite expensive. Why is it better to call on an external partner to help you? How do you avoid high costs? What is the best strategy for building an attractive website?
This article discusses the website development process from start to finish, and looks at the various roles in a web development team, to help you make an informed decision about the future of your website.
The price tag.
All well and good, but how much does it cost to have a website built by an external partner like this? Admittedly, it’s quite an investment. But when it comes to websites, you get what you pay for. If you invest in an external company’s expertise, you’re investing in the certainty that your website will work properly and be delivered on time. You’re also guaranteed that there won’t be any hidden costs suddenly appearing out of nowhere.
You’re also opting for comfort: your external partner ensures that your site looks perfect, and they’re available to answer all your questions. As a customer, you are fully unburdened.
The web development team.
A web development team isn’t just comprised of web developers. Behind every powerful website are various clever minds! We present a few typical roles for you here.
- Sales manager
- Project manager
- Tech lead
- Functional analyst
- UI/UX designer
- QA engineer
- Front-end developer
- Back-end developer
- Customer proxy
When the technical side of your website is done, you’ll also need to promote it. This is when you’ll need some marketing specialists, such as:
- Marketing strategist
- SEO specialist
- Content specialist
Now you have a nice list of the experts you’ll need to take good care of your site. Some job titles are self-explanatory. Others… less so. What is a customer proxy? What does the QA do? And what’s the difference between front-end and back-end developers? Let us explain!
The web development process starts with the first contact between your company and your external partner’s sales manager. The sales manager analyses your request, determines what expertise is required to build your website, and tries to work out a timeline.
They will then put a client team together with the right experts. He or she is your Single Point of Contact (SPOC) in this initial phase, and will remain involved in the project throughout the whole process.
When the sales manager’s task is complete, the project manager takes over the role of SPOC. It’s their job to make sure that each stage of the development process runs smoothly. They monitor the deadlines and costs incurred, and listen to your wishes.
In order to maintain a good overview, the project manager must be fully aware of the project’s objectives. They can then ensure that the right people are assigned to the job and outline a project plan. This plan is then split into different phases, also known as sprints.
When all the preparations have been made, the project manager switches to their core task: keeping an overview of the whole process and supporting you with advice and assistance at any point.
First and foremost, the tech lead familiarises themselves with all the technical documentation for the project. The tech lead is usually a software engineer, responsible for all your website’s technical details. They ensure the software is ready on time so that the designers can get started.
A functional analyst agrees with you which systems will be implemented in the website. They convert your wishes into usable information for the development team.
The functional analyst also has close contact with the various experts in the client team and acts as mediator. Expert 1 wants to go left and expert 2 wants to go right? Then it’s up to the FA to find a compromise!
This expert works on your website’s visual presentation. They take care of the site’s appearance and create the right look and feel, keeping your target audience in mind.
The UI/UX designer decides which colours, fonts, icons, etc. will be used on the site. They also take care of the website’s user-friendliness and findability in search engines. UI/UX designers are therefore both technical and creative talents!
A QA (Quality Assurance) engineer looks for bugs in the site, in both the back-end and the front-end. They check that all the functions work correctly, and also that all the fonts, colours and images conform to the original design. If they find a bug, they pass this on to the developers in the form of a bug report.
When the developers indicate that the bug has been resolved, the QA engineer performs a new test to make sure there are no new bugs and that all previous bugs have been fully resolved.
When we talk about the front-end of a website, we're talking about everything that visitors can see on that site, such as fonts, images, forms, buttons, etc. This job title speaks for itself: the front-end developer ensures that the front-end of your website is in perfect shape.
Back-end developers, unlike front-end developers, are the experts behind the scenes. They ensure your website functions correctly and also often help with creating databases and developing the CMS.
Back-end developers have extensive knowledge of server-side programming languages such as PHP, custom PHP and Java.
Finally, the web development team also has a customer proxy. A what? The customer proxy can do everything (yes, really everything) and is deployed wherever they are needed. This person tests websites, does webmastering, makes analyses, helps the project manager, provides Drupal training... and much more!
And then there’s this: the marketing aspect.
Above is a list of all the specialists you need to build your website from scratch. Once you have an attractive website, of course you want EVERYONE to see it. This is when you call on your marketing team!
The marketing strategist is in charge of your marketing team. Together with the SEO specialist, this person analyses your website’s metrics and draws up a marketing strategy based on your company’s needs.
The SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) specialist helps to lure the right audience to your site. They work on keyword analysis, measuring the website with Google Analytics for example, search engine optimisation ...
The content specialist is also called a copywriter. They write texts for the website and ensure that your company appears with a recognisable, clear voice. The content specialist works together with the SEO specialist to optimise their texts for search engines.
The process from start to finish?
And then you have a great website – it’s ready! Or not? Your website maintenance never stops. New technologies are offering better website structures all the time. Your company grows and changes. You need flexible communication strategies.
So it’s important to keep your website up to date. Maintaining a website is a never-ending job. ;-) So you need a good support team. This team can answer all your questions, implement the necessary security updates and resolve any bugs.