Approaches to Website Development

There are three basic approaches to developing a website:

Whichever approach you take, it will be a lot easier (and cheaper) if you have a good idea of what you want your site to look like and how you want it to function from the start.  

From 2006-2014, auDA offered a subsidised web building tool called Community Site in a Box. Due to significant advances in website development tools, competitive prices, greater user access and freedom, this service is no longer offered.  All existing Site in a Box users were transitioned to new platforms, with assistance from auDA, by November 2015.

Using a professional website developer 

Each website developer will have their own way of working and development methodology. The important thing is to find someone who:

  • you feel comfortable working with and explaining your ideas

  • can give you a good indication of the costs (or even better, a fixed price, usually based on a scope or specification) and development timeframe

  • can develop the website you want within your budget.

If you are working with a web developer for the first time, check references and websites they have developed previously. Also make a list of other websites noting what you like and don’t like about them to discuss with the web developer.

Using a website developer can often result in a very professional looking and functioning site, although it can be expensive, particularly if you don’t establish exactly what you want and what it will cost upfront.

Going it alone 

While creating the website yourself is likely to be cheaper than employing a professional website developer, this approach is only recommended if you have the necessary technical expertise and experience required to use website development software.

If you have the skills and software in your community website group, you may decide to develop the site yourself using commercial or free software packages.

While creating the website yourself is likely to be cheaper than employing a professional website developer, this approach is only recommended if you have the necessary technical expertise and experience required to use website development software.

Examples of DIY website builders include:

Using a 'template' solution  

A 'template' website solution is a good alternative if you don't have the skills to build the website in-house or the budget to employ a professional website developer.

There are a range of different products on the market, but generally they all use a content management system (CMS) with templates.

All the content elements of the website (text, images, etc) are stored in the database. The CMS is used to enter, delete and edit this content and set up structure of the site. Most content management systems use a simple, text-based system accessed through a standard web browser. When a visitor accesses the website, the content is drawn from the database and displayed within the template-based graphic interface.