We have now reached Phase 4 of the The Website Design Process, and it’s time to launch the website! This phase takes everything from Research, Design, and Development, and takes it “live.” After we complete this phase, your website will be accessible anywhere the Web is! In this part of the process, we will satisfy hosting and domain requirements. Then we will upload the files to their new home on the server and submit the site to search engines. Then your site will appear when potential visitors search for you on Google and elsewhere!
Satisfy Hosting & Domain Requirements
Much like moving into a new house, you first have to gain access to the space. You can do this by purchasing it or by renting it; the same is true of web “real estate.” However, the purchase of a space for your website is very often unnecessary (and expensive). The vast majority of personal and small-business websites host their sites on “shared servers.” (You might think of this like apartments that are “shared” by their tenants.) Another option is to use a “virtual private server” (which behaves more like a gated community). These offer better security and privacy. Another step in moving is to forward your address. This is where your domain name steps into the picture. Your domain name (the “dot com” that you purchase with your hosting package) tells the Internet where your site is. Once you have acquired your new space and forwarded your address, you are ready to move in!
Upload Site to Web Server
This part of the launch phase refers to adding your site files to the web server that you rented in the sub-step above. Your site will now function completely. Visitors who enter your domain name into their browsers can finally view the site! This step may take just a few minutes (if you have a standard website), or a few hours (if you have a large site or WordPress). That is much faster than physically moving into a new home!
Submit Site to Search Engines
Now that your site is online and accessible, it is time to let people know it is there! During this step, we will register your site with Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. This alerts them to scan your site for content and categorize it, like a library does with new books that arrive from publishers. So, when searchers look for something that your site contains, your site appears in the list of search results.
How highly will your site rank in searches? There are many factors that determine this, such as location, amount of content, frequency of updated content, and even the typical things that happen when users visit your site (whether they stay and look around or leave quickly). For example, if someone who lives in your area searches for something you offer, local businesses (including yours) will be listed more highly than distant ones. It also helps a lot to have a blog that is updated on a regular basis. This gives you more content on that requested topic, and also another page with your site address. Both of these make your site more easy to find.
Once the Launch Phase is completed, so is the creation of your site. At this point, you might begin to make a wish-list for your next site upgrade, as you begin to use it to interact with your customers and clients. But we’ll talk about that in the next phase….
- Research Phase
- Gather Website Requirements
- Compare Competitor Websites
- Determine Key Terms, Design Elements
- Design Phase
- Final Design
- Development Phase
- Final Prototype
- Launch Phase
- Satisfy Hosting/Domain Requirements
- Upload Site to Web Server
- Submit Site to Search Engines
- Post-Launch Phase
- Tracking Analytical Data
- Maintain Website Wish List for Next Site Update