Web development and website management - A complete overview
Wondering how to build a website so your visitors stay and convert to buyers? Then you've come to the right place. We've provided you with an overview of all the components that help you build and analyze your website properly. If you need additional help with web development - feel free to contact us!
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A website consists of many different disciplines, all of which work together to ensure that visitors stay on the site and interact with it. Therefore, when creating, maintaining, and analyzing a website, the following topics should be considered:
- Structure and composition.
- Search Engine Optimization
- Legal requirements and IT security
As the first element of our overview, we will give you tips on how to give structure to your website. This is very important to give your users an optimal experience.
The basic structure consists of a header, a body and a footer. Also, elements such as information about the company, product categories and contact options are mandatory parts of any website.
To keep the user on the page, it is essential to follow a common thread. You can ensure this by keeping the wording and structure of each subpage consistent. In order for the user to find his way around, it is important to provide a clear navigation through which the user can reach important content with a maximum of two clicks and further content with a maximum of four clicks.
The intention of every website is to encourage the user to take action, i.e. to make a conversion. A conversion can be, for example, a purchase, a subscription to a newsletter or the submission of an application. In order to be easier to find for the user, the structure should meet the usual SEO requirements. But more about this in the SEO section.
The UX (user experience) design ensures an ideal customer journey on your site. For this purpose, target groups are analyzed and user problems are identified, which need to be understood and solved.
In general, it is important to follow the "mobile first" approach, as mobile usage is constantly increasing in the course of digitalization. Another element that contributes to a positive customer journey are breadcrumbs. This navigation bar shows the user which path he has followed on the website and therefore provides orientation. In general, it is important to guide the user through the funnel with as few distractions as possible (unnecessary links and texts).
Important elements to generate leads (i.e. relevant users who take an action) and conversions are forms, newsletter signups, chat(bots) and download links. For online stores, the shopping cart should also be optimized by offering different payment methods, for example.
We recommend that you work out the planned optimizations as a screen design in the first step and refine them with the help of in-depth interviews, eye-tracking and broad surveys. In the second step, the optimizations can then be tested on the website in the form of A/B tests, for example, to guarantee the optimal user experience.
UI (User Interaction) Design follows on from UX Design and focuses on the visual implementation of the user experience. In this field, all elements with which the user interacts in the application or website are analyzed and optimized. Examples include icons, buttons, spacing, images, text, and boxed design.
In UI design, too, you should carry out testing in the various phases of development in order to stay as close as possible to the user's needs.
In order to increase the visibility in search queries via Google, for example, we recommend optimizing your own site for this purpose. This field is called SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and pursues the long-term increase of the search engine ranking.
SEO can be divided into three sub-areas: Internal preparations, OnPage optimizations and OffPage optimizations.
In the first step you should determine which topics your website covers or should cover. After that, keyword research can begin using tools such as Sistrix, Google Ads or Xovi. Pay attention to the differentiation between informal, transactional and navigational keywords during the research. In addition, you should think about the page structure of your website and determine which topics should be covered on which page. After the keyword research is done, the next step is to create the appropriate content.
All SEO optimizations that can be done directly on the website are called OnPage factors. These factors help the Google crawler to understand what the content is about and to assess whether it is relevant for the searcher.
To ensure this, the content must be marked accordingly. Headlines should be structured according to H1 to H6, image descriptions should be equipped with keywords and uploaded in the appropriate image size. The URLs should also be optimized. Here it is important to keep them as short and meaningful as possible. In addition, there is the possibility to fill the title, meta and header tags with relevant keywords. This is information about your website that is displayed in the search engine listing.
Search engines like Google also evaluate the relevance for the user according to the usability of the website. To encourage the user to click further through the page, it should be well linked internally. External links to partners, customers or YouTube content should also be integrated.
In general, the website should contain many interaction elements, because these index an interested user. Besides these elements, the loading time is also evaluated by e.g. Google.
Make sure that you include relevant keywords in your content and update it regularly. Nevertheless, you should be careful not to use too many keywords, as Google categorizes this as keyword stuffing and therefore evaluates it negatively.
Besides the optimizations on the website itself, there are also external factors that contribute to a good ranking. These include, on the one hand, so-called backlinks. These are links from relevant external sites (such as blogs or news sites) that link to your own website. The search engine algorithm evaluates a high number of backlinks positively, as this means that the page is relevant for users. Nevertheless, backlinks must be checked regularly for their functionality with tools such as Searchmetrics, since broken links are again evaluated negatively.
To generate backlinks, guest posts can also be published on topic-relevant blogs or postings in discussion forums. Also entries of business information in local listings such as Google my Business, Bingplaces or Go Yellow help to gain authority and thus rise in search engine rankings.
In the following we have listed the most common SEO tools:
- Advanced Web Ranking
- Cognitive SEO
- Google Search Console
- Google Trends
- Google Analytics
- Pagespeed: Google Page Speed Insights
- Screaming Frog SEO Spider
Another important factor for an ideal website is the creation of relevant content.
In addition to relevant keywords for SEO, we recommend that you adapt the content to your different target groups. For this purpose, customer personas and the respective customer journeys can be elaborated through research, which serve as a basis for content creation. In general, it is important to use a good mix of photos, texts, graphics and videos. Which content and which content formats should be used in which phase of the sales funnel depends on the respective customer persona. Also remember to keep the tone of the content consistent throughout. In addition, you can increase your authenticity with users by personalizing photo and video content and avoiding stock photos as much as possible. Finally, consider offering your content in different languages to appeal to international audiences.
In order to be able to update the created content without the need for agencies or IT service providers, we recommend that you connect a content management system (CMS) to the frontend. Content management systems are used in web content management, blogging or news portals as well as social publishing and community management. Depending on the needs of your company, you have the choice between different hostings, CMS types and models and accordingly different tools.
- SAAS (web-based Software as a Service)
- On-Premises (Own responsibility for hosting, maintenance & updates)
Here we have listed the most popular CMS systems:
In addition to the legal aspects on the website, there are also regulations that should be observed in the background. For example, data deletion processes must be developed and implemented. It is also important to document the storage and processing of personal data, as every user has a right to access it.
IT security also plays an important role in protecting your website and data from possible hacker attacks. So deposit an SSL certificate to enable an HTTPS connection. In addition to encryption, we also recommend that you use up-to-date software and hardware, as these meet the latest security standards.
To ensure that users stay on the website, a fast loading time is of great importance. Here we recommend you the following points to increase the speed.
To ensure that users stay on the website, a fast loading time is of great importance. Here we recommend you to consider the following points:
First of all, we recommend you to switch your web server to HTTP/2 protocol. This is a simple and very effective way to optimize the loading time of your website. Just as with UX design, it is also important to consider the "mobile-first" idea in the performance area. The background is the strong increase of website access via mobile devices.
It is also important to have the individual elements load in the correct order. Thus, all elements in the "Above the Fold" (content visible at first glance, without having to scroll) should be loaded first. Scripts, on the other hand, should be merged and loaded at the end.
However, it is not just the "Above the Fold" elements themselves that are important, but also the optimization of the FCP (First Contentful Paint). This is defined as the time between the URLs being loaded for the first time and the time until the "Above the Fold" elements are rendered.
In general, we also recommend you to pay attention to the size of e.g. images, texts and scripts to guarantee a fast loading time. It is also possible to outsource website data to a CDN (Content Delivery Network). In this case, content is stored on external servers and thus the own loading time is shortened. Video content can also be integrated on social media platforms such as YouTube or Vimeo, for example, and added to your own website.
To avoid reloading recurring elements, we recommend optimizing the caching as a last point.
In the following you will find the most common website performance tools.
To find out how well a site works for users, it is important to measure it regularly (tracking), analyze it, draw conclusions and optimize it based on that.
To make tracking easier for you, we recommend that you create a dashboard that allows you to analyze how your website is performing at regular intervals at a glance.
We have listed the most important metrics below:
The loading time of the website should be tracked regularly and if necessary measures should be taken to optimize it.
To keep an eye on your site's traffic, you should regularly track the flow of visitors to your website. Ideally, this number should increase steadily through relevant promotional measures, because more traffic means more leads and conversions in the best case.
Another metric that should be tracked is the average time (Time Spent on Website) that a user spends on the entire site or on the respective subpages. This metric can be an indication of how interesting the page is for the user. A very short dwell time indicates that the content is either not relevant or unattractive. An above-average dwell time, on the other hand, may indicate that the user cannot find his way around.
The total number of pages viewed is also referred to as pageviews. Multiple page views are also counted here. With single pageviews, on the other hand, each page viewed is counted only once.
Conversion refers to desired actions that a user performs on the website. Micro conversions are small actions that the user performs and indicate a conversion. An example of this would be a user moving from a category page to a product page. The conversion would then take place if this user subsequently bought the corresponding product.
The conversion rate calculates the number of users in relation to the conversions made (e.g. purchases). We recommend you to map the different (micro) conversions along your website funnel to determine at which point most users bounce.
This could look like this:
In our example, you can see how the conversion rate behaves in the respective sales funnel phases. For the calculation, the pageviews of the lower funnel phase were divided by the pageviews of the upper funnel phase and multiplied by 100. This shows you how many % of the users have converted from one funnel phase to the next.
In this way, it is possible to compare different product categories with each other and make specific optimizations accordingly.
In order to find out how qualitatively valuable a website is for the user, the bounce rate is considered. Strictly speaking, this refers to the users who enter an entry page and then leave it again after a few seconds. A low value therefore speaks for a high-quality website.
If you have integrated a filter function on your website, it also helps to monitor the usage of the filters regularly. This will give you an overview of which categories / areas show high interest or if the filters are used at all.
To find out on which devices (mobile, tablet, desktop) the user accesses your website, you can analyze the device usage. This helps you to set priorities in web design. In general, it can be observed that the use of mobile devices is constantly growing. However, it is interesting to analyze which device is actually used to convert. As an IT agency, we often observe a break where users inform themselves about a mobile device, but then make the purchase/conversion on the desktop.
In order to find out which promotion measures have led to micro conversions and final conversions (sales, downloads), the so-called sources can be analyzed. This information can then be used to adjust promotion measures. However, we recommend not to underestimate the influence of campaigns on platforms that do not lead to direct conversions. Awarness campaigns on social media in particular help to increase general traffic. For example, the target group may come directly to the website at a later time. These influences generally cannot be tracked 100%.
The Error Rate is the average number of problems recorded on your website compared to the total number of problem reports. This rate should be monitored regularly in order to detect and fix problems at an early stage.
Below you will find the most commonly used tracking tools:
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Do you have more questions about website and web development or do you need help with your online store? Then feel free to contact us! As a software agency we have years of experience in web development, software development and e-commerce. We are happy to support you and your company - We are looking forward to you!
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