29 Jun 2023 2925
The basic premise of a web portal is to make things easier for a business to interact with its users and share information. With a great web portal, businesses can gain a competitive edge over their competitors because they offer something extra and unique to their customers.
To build a web portal, following the right steps is essential. Even if you hire a web portal development company, knowing the steps can help you keep a check on the work progress and identify the best development agency. We will discuss each step you must follow building a web portal.
What’s a Web Portal and How to Build One?
A web portal is akin to an information gateway connecting users to other websites and sources of information. Working on the web, it helps users access different sources of information from a single source, which makes their work easier. To further help the users with finding the information they need, web portals also have additional features and functions.
Some of the most common features of web portals include search engines, weather reporting, sending emails, etc. With modern developments, these web portals are quickly becoming a way to deliver personalized user experience. When integrated with a robust backend system, the web portals can be tailored to deliver connected and consistent user experiences.
Today web portals have become an integral part of the digital transformation processes. They are used to gather customer information during the pre and post-purchase phases. As a result, companies can resell and upsell their products to the target audience. With this being said, let’s move on to the next section, where we discuss how to build a web portal.
Development Process of a Web Portal
You have two options for building a web portal;
- Hire a web portal development company.
- Hire an in-house team to build the portal.
The smarter way is to hire a development company, get the source code, and, if you have a large organization, hire a small team of developers and IT experts to manage the portal. Irrespective of the option you take to move forward, there are a few things you must decide before moving to the execution phase.
What Type of Web Portal Do You Need?
Every discussion on building a web portal must begin with understanding your needs and deciding the type of portal you want to build. Among the available options are B2B eCommerce, B2C eCommerce, Student portal, Employee portal, Community portal, Partner portal, Customer portal, banking portal, and eLearning portal.
You can build a portal for other functions as well, but these are the most popular portals companies hire us to build. Make sure to understand your needs before you move on to building a portal for your business.
Once you zero in on the type of portal required, decide whether you want to begin with the most viable product (MVP) or want to have a full-scale solution from the beginning.
Having an MVP means you will launch the portal with the basic features with a motive to check the response. If you get a good response, the same portal can be scaled by adding new features and functions.
Pre-Development Phase for a Web Portal
Goal of the Web Portal
Before getting into the technical work, identify the goal of building a web portal. These goals are important to figure out as they help decide the work scope, development process, and web portal design. To help you identify the goals, find answers to the following questions;
- For whom are you building the web portal?
- What goals are you trying to achieve from the web portal?
- What benefits can your target audience expect from the web portal?
- What are the challenges it will solve for your customers?
Answering these questions will help you build a buyer persona, which is required for development marketing purposes. Customers today long for personalized experiences, and building a web portal that aligns with your customers preferences is akin to stumbling upon a goldmine.
Moreover, answering these questions will also help you figure out the best features for the web portal. After completing the first step, you will have a basic understanding of what you want from a web portal and what you are presenting to your customers.
Market and Competition Research
After understanding what you want and are ready to deliver, let’s also understand what the market wants and what your competition is already doing. Because there is no point in building the same product as everyone else. Doing so won’t bring you any competitive edge.
So, the first step is to explore the markets. Identify the market trends with the same product and offerings. Also, check all the web portals in your industry, especially the ones which are now no longer operational; at least try to find them as well.
Market research will help you better prepare for the changing markets. As you get familiar with the trends, you can plan the next moves with prior planning. You can conduct market research by yourself or get in touch with our business analysts.
The second thing to do here is research the competitors. If you are building a web portal for students and educational institutions, check the ones giving this service. Check their features, functions, design, pricing, etc. Identify the gaps in the existing products. Find out more about their pricing strategy, how do these organizations connect with the audiences, etc.
Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your competitor’s product. You need to build a better product than your competitors and offer the same at relatively lower prices.
Only after you have an understanding of what you want, what are your customers preferences, what are your competitors doing, and the market health can you build a list of USPs. Use these unique selling propositions to market your product as the only one there is in the market. But marketing comes later; let’s focus on creating the portal first.
Development Phase of Building a Web Portal
- Features, Tech Stack, and Team
Taking assistance from the business analysts and your research, create a list of the most important features for the web portal. Some of the basic features you must add include
- Content Management: This feature will allow portal administrators and managers to create, edit, and publish content on the portal. Using this feature, they can control all the content that goes onto the portal. With this responsibility, they can deliver a seamless and more efficient user experience.
- Search Bar: Searching for content is a pivotal feature you can provide to your users in a web portal. As they can search for specific information required, the user experience becomes better.
- User Sign-in: User authentication gives every member of the portal personalized access to the features, content, and information they need. Adding user authentication means higher security and the capability to use the portal on their own terms. This increases the user engagement to a great extent.
- Social Media: This feature will allow the users to share content on social media directly through the portal. They can also interact with their social media circle from the portal itself. Adding this feature brings better opportunities for the users and increases engagement.
- In-App Messaging: Through the portal, the users can communicate with each other. Plus, the messages are encrypted, which increases the trust factor of the portal. Adding this feature again enhances user satisfaction and loyalty.
- One-Click Login: Through an email account or social media account, users can create and log in to their account with a single click. Doing so increases the user experience and ease of access.
- Push Notifications: Push notifications are sent to the users regarding updates and reminders about their account activity. Sending notifications ensures repeat visits and keeps the users informed about all the activities on their portal.
- Multilingual Support: Make sure that your web portal displays the information required in different languages. They should be able to use the features and access content in their preferred language. As a result, your web portal will have better accessibility, and even non-native speakers can join.
After listing down all the features of the web portal, figure out the technology stack relevant to the web portal. Web portals for a tech stack can be a mix of different technologies, or you can use a pre-established stack of compatible technologies. Here a MEAN stack and MERN stack both can work efficiently well. Here you can take assistance from your web portal development partner or hire a CTO for your organization to guide you through the process.
To build the web portal, you will need a team of developers, designers, testers, deployment experts, business analysts, and project managers. The number of professionals employed for your project can differ according to the project scope and scale. You can hire an in-house team for the project or a custom online portal development company. The latter is a more cost-efficient option.
Designing the Web Portal
After choosing the development partner, focus on designing the web portal. Even if you are outsourcing the work, knowing what comprises the UI/UX design is essential. The designing process begins with creating wireframes, which are raw and skeletal elements of the web portal.
A wireframe helps understand the layout of the web portal. It tells which component of the web portal goes where. Plus, they also highlight the functionality of each element on the web portal. It will show where you can place the images, how the menu options will open, etc.
After wireframes, the designers move to creating the prototype of the web portal. This is a more colorful representation of the wireframe added with colors, dummy images, dummy content, etc. The purpose is to see the flow of the web portal. It helps to know when a user clicks on a menu item and how it will open. You can also ask the designers to build clickable prototypes.
Choose the colors according to your target audience; the right colors are essential to attract the right audience. The design team can also design bespoke graphics for the web portal.
Developing or Coding the Web Portal
Generally, the development phase takes the longest time in the entire web portal development process. It is here that the web portal you have thought to make begins to take its shape. The developers will work on the front-end, back-end, database, web server, framework, hosting, content management, and API integrations, followed by testing and then deployment.
For each of these components, you will need development technologies. With the MERN and MEAN stack, there is no need to bring in other technologies. If not them, you can handpick the technologies that are best for the respective development task.
Development Component Technology You can Choose Back-end Development
- Node.Js (already included in the MEAN and MERN stack).
- React (already included in MEAN and MERN stack).
- MongoDB (already included in the MEAN and MERN stack).
- Ruby on Rails
- Spring Boot
Web Server Cloud Hosting
- Google Cloud Services
- Microsoft Azure
- Amazon Web Services
For the development part, make sure to have the experts of their field to take up the work. Handpick backend developers, frontend developers, and other experts for the job. Understand the role and responsibilities of each role before starting the project and move forward only after having confidence in the professionals you hire.
Testing and Deployment
Once the web portal is developed, testing is due. Every digital solution must go through a suite of tests and checks before deployment. Effective testing means that the web portal has been checked for performance, usability, and security, among other aspects.
Doing so will also ensure that the portal does not collapse in the event of a large number of requests. During the tests, it is put through several checks that include putting more than enough load to test its strength.
In addition to this, the code is tested for any sort of errors and vulnerabilities. At Mobmaxime, we go one step further to ensure that the code is readable and scalable. A scalable code can be customized easily when you want to add new features to the web portal in the future.
The most important tests you must ask for or conduct are;
- Functional Testing: This test verifies that every aspect of the web portal, its features, and functions work as desired.
- Performance Testing: This test verifies that the web portal does not give in when it gets a higher load of traffic, requests, and usage.
- Security Testing: Several tests are conducted to check whether the web portal is secure and immune to vulnerabilities and malware attacks.
After thorough testing, the web portal is ready for deployment. Here too, bring in the people who have experience in deploying web portals. Experienced professionals are familiar with the hiccups that might arise in deployment, and hence they adjust the process accordingly.
Once everything is complete, the deployment team will submit all the web portal files and data onto the hosting server and configure everything according to the requirements.
Post-Launch Work of a Web Portal
Web portals are dynamic digital solutions. Even after launching, they require regular updates and maintenance. There can be some security issues down the road, for which you will need a team on standby to resolve the issues.
Moreover, after collecting performance data of the first few months after launch, you may need to make changes. Changes might be required in the design to boost user experience. You might have to add another feature to make the web portal better.
For all this work, make sure to have a web portal development partner by your side. For this purpose as well, you can have a web portal development company on a retainer basis or hire them when required. You can choose to have an in-house team or a single person for the job. In any case, don’t ignore this part, as it’s crucial to have the right resources by your side.
Building an ideal web portal for your business is a comprehensive process. But it can quickly become a nightmare if you do not follow the right development practices. No matter the scale of the project, it can be managed with a systematic process. Given the wide array of benefits of web portals, their design and development need careful planning.
While planning to build a web portal, always think from the user’s perspective. Understand their needs, identify the gaps, and then create a flawless development plan. If you need assistance with building a web portal, get in touch with Mobmaxime development company. We follow the best practices to optimize the cost of making a web portal and ensure that your customers enjoy every moment of their engagement with your web portal.