Website development is the coding that creates the website and makes it operational. Website development and web design are sometimes used interchangeably, because these efforts must work in tandem for successful creation and peak performance. Website design focuses on planning the structure and layout, including features like graphics and applications that enhance user experience, while web development centers around the technology needed to execute the design concepts, as well as interactive and application needs. Development may use existing content management systems or develop new systems as specific to client or company goals. This term applies to the creation of a single page or a more expansive collection of pages and associated applications. Understandably, the diverse needs of companies and system complexities result in a range of pricing for website development services. Investment in a skilled website developer significantly increases the value of the online presence and power of user access.
Development is typically divided into two parts: front-end (client side) development and back-end (server side) development. Front-end development tends to focus on the execution of the visual elements, such as color and layout themes or page organization, and the direct engagement of the user. Front-end website development is what the reader sees. Back-end development negotiates all of the nuances required for site components to work, such as storage space for images or security operations; this development supports the interactive experience for the user. Back-end website development is how the website operates. The engagement of front and back-end development collectively on a website is known as full-stack development.
For a website to be successful, development necessarily requires collaboration with design, marketing, and engineering, to name a few associated roles, in order for the website to perform to its full potential with the goals of your company in mind.
Why Website Development Matters
- Concept achievement: The development process begins with identifying goals for the site and the needs of the target audience. Keeping these two components in mind is not simply the realm of the designer but also the developer, who ensures that the technology operates as planned and in service to the goals.
- Growth: An online presence is essential for marketing success. Without a website, opportunities to engage users with your business and products are significantly reduced and may not only limit the success but also cause more work for employees than necessary.
- User engagement: High-functioning websites with operational call-to-action links, integrated applications, and purposeful interactive features simplify user access and add value to any business. For example, links that aren’t operational or pages that request personal information but are constantly interrupted or require repeat submission compromise the integrity and reputation of a business. Although pleasing aesthetics and clear organization are important to initial access and impressions, the unseen technical nuances ensure that users feel comfortable investing in the company or products and can trust that any shared private or personal information is secure. After all, how many times do you make it to the checkout page and leave without purchasing due to a site error or slow loading page? Effective website development reduces these errors.
- Cost-saving: Although website development does come with initial monetary output and routine expenditure for essential site maintenance, a well-constructed, efficient website may ultimately reduce employee workload. For example, online ordering reduces time and security concerns of phone orders; similarly, thoughtfully designed product image galleries with informational content may reduce general inquiries to customer service representatives.
Common Misconceptions about Website Development
Due to the cost associated with website development, many people elect to create websites using pre-made options. Although individuals may be comfortable selecting packaged layouts or theme selections, unfamiliarity with coding nuances or application purposes may limit the potential impact and value of any completed website. Additionally, originality may not determine the success or failure of a business, but distinguishing products or services through the resources and ease of user access will determine how many users engage with your site.
Similarly, many believe that including as many features for users as possible translates into increased engagement. However, too many call-to-actions, links, graphics, etc. may overly complicate the user interface (UI) experience, especially when users may be new to a particular content or service. Choosing the most purposeful components and streamlining design, an operational process that mainly happens in the development realm, may result in better performance of the website and its ability to drive revenue.
Finally, everyone in today’s world recognizes the value of an online presence. However, to truly reap the benefits of that presence, business owners and producers cannot settle for website creation alone. For search engine optimization and consistent quality in functionality, continuous evaluations, updates, and improvements are necessary for security, ongoing changes within the digital space, and the success and retention of your intended audience.
For website creation, maintenance, and enhancement that focuses on your goals with the highest level of expertise available in both website design and development, contact APD to begin our collaboration today.