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Mastering The Web Design Process: Simple Steps Explained

By Jim Traister
Table of Contents
Navigating the Website Design Process

Building a website can feel like a big puzzle. The process is key to making a good site. This article breaks down the steps, so it’s easier for you. Keep reading for easy tips!

Key Takeaways

What are the 7 major steps to designing a website?

Designing a website involves clear steps, from setting goals to finally launching your site online.

We’ll talk about how to outline what your website should do, plan its structure with a sitemap, create content, choose visual styles, test everything works right, and then share it with the world.

Goal Identification

First, you need to figure out what your website is for. This step gets your web design project off to a good start. Ask yourself what you want from the website. Do you want it to sell products? Share information about your services? Maybe, it’s supposed to bring more people into your store.

Knowing this helps decide everything else in the process.

Next, think about who will visit your site. Your target audience matters a lot. If you know who they are, you can make sure the website meets their needs. Think of words like “new parents” or “bike enthusiasts” when picturing them in your mind.

This makes planning content and deciding on the design much easier later on.

Scope Definition

After figuring out your website’s goals, the next step is defining its scope. This means deciding what your site needs and how to make it happen. Think of this as planning a trip. You know where you want to go, but now you need to plan the route and what you’ll do once you get there.

To stay on track, list all features your website should have. Maybe you need a shop for selling products online or a booking system for appointments.

For example, one of our small business hotel clients, provides a booking system for website visitors that are interested in booking rooms for events:

Hotel Business Client's booking system for ballrooms

Also, think about the pages needed to explain your services or share blogs that help customers understand your business better.

Writing down these details helps prevent surprises later on. It keeps the process moving smoothly and ensures everyone involved knows exactly what’s being built. Making clear plans early saves time and money – no one wants costly last-minute changes!

Sitemap and Wireframe Creation

Once the scope is clear, it’s time to map out your site. A sitemap helps plan the website’s structure. Think of it as an outline for a book but for your website. It shows which pages go where and how they link together.

An example of a small business client’s sitemap draft for a five-page ecommerce site, below:

example of a sitemap draft for a client’s five-page ecommerce site

This step makes sure visitors find what they need easily.

Next up, wireframes come into play. Wireframes are like blueprints for each page on your site. They don’t deal with color or style yet—just layout. Here, you decide where text, images, and other elements sit on a page.

Business client's wireframe example

Using tools like simple sketching apps or more advanced software can help bring these ideas to life before any coding begins. These early models make sure everything fits well and looks good before moving forward with design details and content creation.

Content Creation

After laying out the sitemap and wireframe, it’s time to fill your website with content. This step involves writing text for web pages, making videos, and choosing photos that tell your story.

Great content grabs attention, informs visitors about your business, and helps turn them into customers.

Creating good website copy is essential. Use words that speak directly to your audience. Be clear and concise—every word counts. Don’t forget SEO (search engine optimization). It makes sure people find your site online.

Also, think about blogs or articles you can add to share more about what you do or offer advice related to your industry.

Visual Elements

Moving from content creation to visual elements, this step transforms your website. This is where colors, fonts, and images come alive. Visuals make your site unique. They grab attention and help visitors remember you.

We like to create branding guidelines that our business clients will utilize throughout their business website and also with any additional marketing.

Example of UI Guidelines for branding colors that we shared with a client recently who desires a website redesign:

Example of UI Guidelines for restaurant client

Choosing the right visuals is key for a successful website. Think about what images and colors represent your brand best. Use them consistently across your site for a strong identity.

Fonts should be easy to read and match the feel of your brand. With these choices, you can turn visitors into loyal customers.


Testing your website before launch is a key step. You check every link, button, and form to make sure they work right. This phase also includes testing the site on different devices and web browsers.

It’s all about catching errors and fixing them fast.

Next, you test how fast your pages load because no one likes a slow website. If a page takes too long, you might need to change the images or code to speed things up. After making sure everything works well and quickly, you’re ready for the next big step—launching your new site into the world!


The final step is launching your website. This means making your site live for everyone to see. Before you hit that launch button, check everything one last time. Make sure all links work, the design looks good on all devices, and there are no spelling mistakes.

Make sure you

It’s like opening a new store – you want everything to be perfect.

After launch, keep an eye on how your site performs. Look at how many people visit it and what they do there. This information will help you make your website even better over time.

Launching isn’t just about going live; it’s also about starting a journey of keeping your site up-to-date and engaging for visitors.

Make Things New

Checklist based of the seven major steps for designing a website:

1. Goal Identification

2. Scope Definition

3. Sitemap and Wireframe Creation

4. Content Creation

5. Visual Elements

6. Testing

7. Launch

The 5 Stages of Web Design

The 5 Stages of Web Design guide you through planning, creating, launching, and maintaining your site—key steps for online success!

Discovery Phase

In the Discovery Phase, we start by figuring out what you want your website to do. This step is all about learning your goals and the needs of your customers. We ask questions like, “What’s the purpose of your site?” and “Who are you trying to reach?” This helps us understand how to make your website work best for you.

Next up, we look at what content and features will help meet those goals. It’s like putting together a map before a road trip – it shows the way forward. Now that we know more about what you need, let’s move on to designing how it all looks.

Design and User Interface (UI)

Design and User Interface (UI) focus on making your website look good and easy to use. Good design grabs visitors’ attention. Easy navigation helps them find what they need fast. We choose colors, fonts, images, and layout that match your brand.

This step is like decorating a store, so customers enjoy shopping.

Next, we make sure everything works well on phones, tablets, and computers. Your website adjusts its shape for different screens. We also build menus and buttons that are simple to click or tap.

makethingsnew mobile site view
makethingsnew Tablet site view

This keeps users happy and makes them want to come back.

Now it’s time for Website Development—turning beautiful designs into a fully working website.

Website Development

Website development is like building a house. First, you need a solid plan. This stage involves turning the design into something real. Developers start coding your site, using languages such as HTML for structure, CSS for style, and JavaScript for interactive elements.

They work on both front-end and back-end to make sure everything runs smoothly.

During this phase, your website comes to life with features that work on computers and phones. Testing is key here—developers check every link, button, and form to catch any issues early.

They also make sure your site loads fast and looks good on all devices before it goes live for the world to see.

Website Launch

Launching your site is the final step. It’s when your website goes live for everyone to see. Before you launch, check everything again. Make sure all links work and that the site looks good on different devices like phones and computers.

You also want to ensure your website loads fast on mobile, as so many access mobile these days.

After checking, it’s time to introduce your website to the world. This can be exciting! You might tell people about it through emails or social media. Keep an eye on how well your website works after launching it.

If there are problems, fix them quickly. Also, think about how you can improve your site over time to keep visitors happy and coming back.

Website Maintenance

After your website goes live, the next phase kicks in—keeping it up to date. Website maintenance means checking your site regularly for issues and fixing them. It’s about making sure your website stays healthy and works well for visitors.

This includes updating content, fixing broken links, and ensuring that all features work correctly.

You also need to keep an eye on security concerns by installing updates and patches for software you use. Think of it like taking care of a car; regular check-ups keep it running smoothly for your visitors.

Without this ongoing care, your site could face problems that turn visitors away or, worse, lead to security risks. Keeping everything running smoothly helps attract more traffic to your site and keeps people coming back.

What is a Good Web Design Process?

A good web design process blends strategy, research, and creativity to make websites that meet your goals. Dig deeper to learn more!


Strategy starts with understanding your website’s purpose. Ask yourself, what do you want your site to achieve? This could be more sales, sign-ups, or just sharing information. Knowing this guides every part of the web design process.

Next up is defining your audience. Who are they? What do they need from your website? Answering these questions helps make sure the website speaks directly to those who visit it.

Then comes analyzing competitors’ websites. Seeing what works well on their sites can give you ideas for yours. Don’t copy them exactly—instead, think about how you can stand out.

Use simple and affordable digital tools like WordPress or Squarespace to build and customize your site without breaking the bank. Always keep your goals and target audience in mind as you choose designs and features for your site.


After setting your strategy, diving into research is next. This step is vital for understanding your market and audience. You’ll look at competitors, trends, and what your target customers need from a website.

This isn’t just about looking at colors or fonts; it’s deeper. It’s finding out what makes a website work well for people like yours.

In this phase, using tools like surveys and feedback forms helps gather valuable insights. Also, analyzing similar websites can give clues about design choices that attract more visitors.

Remember, good research directs every other part of the web design process, ensuring you’re on the right path to meet your business goals without missing crucial steps in making an effective website.


Wireframing is like drawing a blueprint for your website. It helps you plan where everything goes on the site, such as buttons, images, and text blocks. This step comes early in the design process.

Think of it as sketching out your ideas before building them into something real. Wireframing makes sure every part of your website has a purpose and fits well with everything else.

Using wireframes saves you time and money because it’s easier to change a plan than a finished website. Tools like Adobe XD help create these blueprints quickly. They allow you to move elements around until everything looks just right.

This way, when you start designing for real, you know exactly what to do.

Branding and Design

After wireframing comes the exciting part—branding and design. This is where your website starts to get its look and feel. You choose colors, fonts, and images that match your brand identity.

It’s all about making a good first impression on visitors. Your logo should stand out. The layout needs to be easy to navigate.

Your website’s visuals tell your business’s story without words. Use design elements that speak to your target audience. Keep it simple but memorable. Think of famous websites you love—they probably have a distinct style you can recognize anywhere.

That’s what you’re aiming for with your site too!

First Iteration of the Website or App

Moving from branding and design to the first build of your website or app is a big step. This phase brings your ideas to life. Your development team starts working on the project, turning wireframes into a clickable prototype.

This version is not final but gives you something tangible to explore and test.

During this stage, you get to see how your website or mobile application begins functioning in real scenarios. You can click around, check out different pages or features, and imagine how visitors will interact with it.

It’s crucial because it shows what works well and what needs tweaking before the public sees it. Keep in mind, making changes now is easier than after launch. This iteration helps ensure that every part of your site aligns with your goals for an effective online presence.

Maintenance and Iteration

Keeping your website fresh and up-to-date is key. This stage, called maintenance, means regularly checking your site for issues and fixing them. You also update content to keep visitors coming back.

Think of it as taking care of a car – regular check-ups keep it running smoothly.

If you are running an ecommerce website, you want to ensure it is functioning optimally at all times. Ecommerce maintenance helps to keep your online shop run fast and safe for clients.

Iteration is about making small changes to improve the website over time. You might change how something looks or make a page load faster based on feedback from users or data on how people use your site.

It’s like tuning an instrument – small adjustments can make a big difference in performance.

Website Design Process Checklist

Creating a website is a big deal. You’ll need a plan to make sure everything goes right. Here’s a checklist to keep your project on track.

  1. Define Your Goals: Start with what you want your website to achieve. This could be more sales, more sign-ups, or just sharing information. Knowing your goal helps guide the whole process.
  2. Research Your Audience: Think about who will visit your site and what they need from it. This step makes sure you’re building a website that talks directly to them.
  3. Pick a Domain Name: Choose something easy to remember and spell. Your domain name is like your online address, so make it good!
  4. Choose a Website Builder or Platform: There are many tools out there—like WordPress or Shopify—that help you build a site without needing to code.
  5. Plan Your Design and Layout: Before you start designing, sketch how you want your site to look and work. Include the main sections and features you’ll need.
  6. Write Great Content: Content is king! Make sure your text, photos, and videos are clear, useful, and interesting for your visitors.
  7. Focus on User Experience (UX): Make it easy for people to find what they need on your site with simple navigation and fast loading pages.
  8. Ensure Mobile Responsiveness: More people use mobile devices than computers to browse the web now. Make sure they can view your site well on their phones.
  9. Optimize for Search Engines (SEO): Use the right keywords in your content so people can find you through Google or other search engines easily.
  10. Test Everything Before Launching: Check every link, button, form—and view your site on different devices—to catch any problems.
  11. Launch Your Site: After testing, it’s time to go live! Publish your website for everyone to see.
  12. *Update Regularly*: Keep adding fresh content and making improvements based on feedback from visitors and performance data.
  13. *Backup Frequently*: Protect yourself against data loss by setting up regular backups.
  14. *Track Performance*: Use tools like Google Analytics to learn how people find use your site—then adjust based on what works.
  15. *Stay Secure*: Install security measures to protect your website visitors from malware, other online threats.


Mastering web design is like putting together a puzzle. Each piece – from setting goals to launching – plays a big part. You don’t have to be an expert to get it right. Just follow the steps and watch your website come alive.

It’s all about planning, designing, and building in a way that makes sense for your business. This guide lights the path, making what seems complex simple. Ready to make your mark online? Let these steps guide you toward creating a website that stands out and serves your customers well.

Picture of Jim Traister
Jim Traister

Founder & CEO

Jim is the CEO and founder of MakeThingsNew, a digital marketing agency he launched to provide services such as affordable website design, website maintenance, web hosting, email marketing, and ongoing SEO for his client’s projects. He earned a Master of Business with a specialization in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix. Jim launched his first digital marketing agency in 2012 and has since dedicated himself to serving independent business owners. Additionally, he has taught at the college and university level for several years, teaching courses such as Information Technology in Hospitality and Tourism, Marketing, and more. Prior to opening his first marketing agency in 2012, Jim had accumulated over sixteen years of business experience.

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Frequently Asked Questions

First, understand your website’s goal and audience. Then, plan the structure—this includes deciding on the type of website and content needs. Design phase comes next; focus on visual design and responsive layout. After designing, develop your site with front-end and back-end coding. Test everything before launching. Finally, keep updating for a robust website.
Start by defining your goal—what you want from this website or web app? Next, sketch out a basic blueprint covering every part of your site: from navigation to content development. Choose a template or design from scratch based on what makes your site unique.
Absolutely! Review each step—especially focusing on areas needing improvement like responsive design or user experience. It’s crucial to not miss any key updates that align with current web standards.
Focus on creating a balance between visual appeal and functionality… Think about color schemes, typography, and how users will interact with each element within the site… Remember, good design keeps visitors coming back!
After thorough testing—checking for bugs in different browsers and ensuring all links work correctly… Launching marks just the beginning, though; gather feedback for future improvements.
Monitor its performance closely… Look at metrics like visitor numbers, bounce rates, and how easily people find what they need… Use this data to tweak aspects of your site, ensuring it continuously meets user expectations while driving traffic effectively.