Lifecycle of Developing a Website
Chapter 2 – WDLC
Designing and maintaining a website for a
company is not that big a deal...
… or is it?
Considering that you are getting paid to make a
website that thousands of people might
… the first impression of the site could mean the
difference between a potential customer and a
The website development life cycle
consists of four phases:
Web Site Goals
Data Hoarding is the first phase of the WSDLC.
Find out if website is really feasible for the
Get basic information about the company:
What does it sell?
What does it provide and how?
What do the customers expect from it?
Find out what the managers expect from the web
Provide feasibility analysis report to managers.
Managers decide on whether to go ahead with
site or not, and if any changes are necessary.
If directors give you the go-ahead, then…
… gather all material necessary to plan and
build the website!
Compiling notes, charts, sales, profiles of
customers, pictures etc.
Interviewing company employees and giving out
Learning who the competitors are.
Remember: the website must accurately reflect
the company’s image and purpose!
Organise it All
By gathering information and then spending 2
hours everyday just trying to find the relevant
data is just wasting company time...
… hence become organised!
Filter out data you won’t need.
Outline relevant data and file it in folders.
Keep a notebook with schedules containing
deadlines and appointments.
WSDLC Phase 2:
The next phase of the WSDLC after Data
Hoarding is the designing of the site.
Deals with the overall planning and roughing out
of the site.
Here, site design must be approved by the site's
owners before any actual coding is done.
Gather materials necessary for designing
and administering the site:
Pencil and paper (for sketching)
HTML editing software
Website validators and analysers
Web Promotion tools
Website specs gathered in 1st phase
The Layout of the Site …
Every web developer usually develops his own
way of designing a site.
One effective way is to sketch out the site layout
By laying out the pages on graph paper you can
get a good idea of the site’s structure.
Another effective way is to create a flowchart-
This allows you to view the site as a whole and
foresee any structural problems.
…The Layout of the Site
After sketching the layout of the site in terms of
… you should then sketch out the actual content
of the web pages:
Deciding where the information/content goes;
Deciding where the images, charts , graphs go;
Deciding where any advertising banners go; etc.
You should have a good idea of the structure
before you do any coding so make sure that the
layouts are thorough.
The Look of the Site
The overall look of the site should reflect in
favour of the company.
Image isn’t everything, but it’s the key
ingredient in getting somebody’s attention.
Use the company’s image and blend it with
what users would consider as pleasing:
Good graphical design and homepage layout
Small attractive Flash animations
Site design should first be approved by the
company directors before the next phase
can be started.
WSDLC Phase 3:
The next phase of the WSDLC after Site Design
is the implementing, hosting and testing of the
… as well as going live through the use of
advertising and search engines.
Site owners usually give a lot of importance to
this phase, so make sure that you clear out any
issues you have pending before you actually go
After site design has been approved, coding of
the website is initiated. How?
Coding the content using either a WYSIWYG
editor or a text-based editor.
Making and editing images for use on site.
Fixing up and pruning existing images.
Keeping file names simple and consistent in order
to reference them easily later on.
Organising web pages in a hierarchy of folders.
Having a common folder for all images used in
Backing up, backing up, backing up!!!
Beta Testing implies putting the website through
a rigorous routing of testing and error detection.
These include looking for:
Missing tags resulting in a mass page deformation
Correct spelling and grammar
Other web page oddities.
Time spent on making corrections usually
depends on how much time was spent in
designing the site.
Hosting the Site
Once the site is created, you’d want to put it
on a web server so that it can be accessed
by everyone in the world.
Hosting space can be either gotten for:
Free – colleges, ISPs, commercial sites etc. can offer
limited free space to clients to post their pages.
A yearly fee – hosting services can provide clients
with large amounts of space, special options and
reliability. Hosting services also give you the ability to
use your own domain name (your own unique URL).
Some hosting services available:
And a site which gives reviews about a lot of
hosting services which are good but not that
Registering the Domain
Visit the Accredited Registrars page at
At any of the listed web sites, check on the
availability of domain names.
Purchase the domain that you want, if available,
or choose another one.
The cost for an annual contract is usually less if
you have a hosting service in place already.
Most hosting services will also register your
domain name for you.
Flipping the Switch
Simply putting the site online won’t get you hits.
The main methods people find web pages are
through advertising on other web pages (also
known as ‘banner exchanges’) and through
You can also decide to advertise your domain
name on different mediums such as TV, radio
WSDLC Phase 4: Site
This is the last phase of the WSDLC.
All you have to do is sit back and nit-pick at the
site when the company requests any changes.
This phase takes up the rest of the WSDLC and
ends with the request for a new site.
Making and maintaining accurate documentation
is very important.
Documentation can be consulted by others
when developer is absent.
Can serve as a reference guide for you to use
when planning changes or additions.
Should consist of the company’s basic
information along with site goals, target
audience, design notes, samples and layout
specifications, resources etc.
Search Engine Rank Managing
Due to other sites pushing yours out of rank,
you’ll have to regularly resubmit the site to
Some of the search engine submitters have rank
managers built in to them.
They usually also have <META> tag optimisers
that can edit the site’s web pages.
Site Changes and Additions
While a site is still in existence, changes and
additions to it are inevitable.
When this happens, make sure to record the
changes in the documentation in case someone
else ends up maintaining the site after.
You should also keep up-to-date backups in
case the server crashes or a hacker breaks in
and ruins the site.
The website development life cycle consists of
Following this lifecycle properly will ensure that
the site is designed and maintained as it should,
such that visitors are not left with bad
Data Hoarding phase consists of:
Identifying the website goals. Is the site
feasible or not?
Gathering all the necessary data about the
company, including the website specifications.
Organising all data gathered by filtering what
is relevant to the website and filing them for
easier access later on.
Site Design phase consists of:
Gathering all software and materials
necessary for designing and administering
Designing the layout of the site:
Linking structure between pages, images…
Actual content of pages, images, adverts…
Designing the look of the site:
Colour scheme might be taken off the logo.
Small Flash animations for appeal.
Going Live phase consists of:
Coding the website, designing images,
organising content in folders and backing up.
Beta testing: checking for flaws in the
website and correcting them.
Hosting the site, either freely or with a
hosting company for a yearly fee.
Registering the domain with ICANN.org.
Advertising your site via banner exchanges
or on other types of media, and by
submitting your URL to a search engine.
Site Maintenance phase consists of:
Making and maintaining accurate site
Resubmitting occasionally your site to search
engines to manage your ranking.
Providing for any site changes and additions
while updating the documentation
Keeping regular back-ups of the site.
Designer Resources, “Web Site Development Life Cycle”, 2000,
Brain, M., “How Web Pages Work”, 2005, [Online]