Your Ultimate Guide to Web Portal Development

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Julia Sakovich
Author, Geomotiv
Published: Aug 24, 2022

Have you ever thought about building a web portal for your business? Not about just going online with a one-page website but about creating a full-scale web-based solution that will become a point of access for your clients, act as a gateway to your business services, and let users benefit from them. That’s exactly what a company needs to have to facilitate customer interaction and boost business growth.

Having solid expertise in custom web development, we’ve accumulated a rich knowledge base, and now we are ready to share all the information you need to bear in mind if you want to create a web portal. So keep reading this blog post to avoid mistakes and issues related to the wrongly chosen approach to web portal development.

What are web portals?

Before proceeding to the practical tips that will help you understand how to create a web portal, we offer to ensure that you correctly understand the web portal's definition itself.

How can we explain what a web portal is? If we need to make it as simple as possible, we can say that it is a web app that provides access to several sections (like chats, email boxes, forums, user accounts, etc.) via a home page. Some of these sections are available to registered users only.

In general, the main goal of a web portal is to serve as a platform for accumulating data (including articles, products, vendors, individual users, suppliers, etc.) from different resources and presenting it into a single user interface.

Websites and web portals are two types of web products that can be mixed up. However, there are some great differences between them.

  • Web portals allow users to interact with content online, while websites usually have read-only pages.
  • To view some content on a portal, users need to sign up. However, on websites, authentication is not required.
  • Web portals are usually integrated with numerous custom and third-party tools and services. Unfortunately, websites rarely have any integrations.

Types of web portals

Today there are many types of web portals intended to cover specific business needs.

  • Self-service portals. Such platforms are designed to accumulate information about services and products the company or organization offers. Users can use these platforms to request additional information, place orders, etc.
  • Customer portals. Portals of this type are used for providing high-quality customer support and taking the entire sales process to a completely new level, which, as a result, will lead to higher client satisfaction.
  • Vendor portals. These portals gather and manage all suppliers and supply chain data. They are usually also enriched with functionality for communicating with vendors in a very convenient and efficient way.
  • Partner portals. This type of portal can become a good choice for businesses that deal with indirect sales and need to establish and manage business relations with their partners. Such portals can have such functionality as inventory tracking, order status monitoring, calculators, analytics, etc.
  • Patient portals. These portals are widely used in the healthcare industry today. They offer patients direct access to their individual information related to their health state, medical appointments, treatments, etc.
  • Employee portals. These platforms can be compared with internal social networks for employees who can assign tasks, communicate with each other, comment, and update other team members about their statuses (active, on vacation, busy).
  • eLearning portals. Such platforms provide users with various learning materials in different formats.
  • Government portals. Governmental organizations launch these portals to establish better relations with citizens who use their services. Via such platforms, users can get information related to the work of an organization, schedule/reschedule appointments, and order services online. 
  • Community portals. These solutions are intended to help people with similar interests unite and establish relationships for further idea exchanging. Usually, such platforms have such features as blogs, forums, chats, and other social functionalities.

Web portal software development: Steps and process

How much time may it take to build a web portal? It depends on various factors, but we can name approximate time frames. 

It usually takes 2 to 8 weeks to build a prototype and then 12 to 20 weeks to develop the first working version of a portal. So, on average, you will need 4 to 7 months to launch a portal.

The process of web portals development usually includes the following stages:

  1. Requirements analysis and planning. At this step, it is important to study the client’s needs and business specificity to set the requirements and tech specifications. Then, based on the gathered information, a development team plans the entire product creation process.
  2. Design. After the first step, it’s time to create the design of a portal architecture and prepare UX and UI designs.
  3. Development. Usually, the development is composed of iterations with regular releases every 2-4 weeks.
  4. Integrations. This stage is devoted to integrating portal software with the necessary third-party or custom tools and systems, like ERP, LMS, CRM, etc.
  5. QA and testing. Our team usually starts conducting QA procedures in parallel with the development to ensure that the solution functions as it is supposed to and that all the requirements are met. To save costs and reduce the time needed for testing, we can also turn to test automation if possible.
  6. Deployment. At this step, developers deploy the portal so that it is seamlessly integrated into the existing IT infrastructure.
  7. Support and maintenance. When your portal is released, our team will still stay by your side, help to update the content, and introduce new functionality.

How to develop a web portal: Tools and platforms

You can choose one of two key approaches for building web portals. The first one is using a CMS (content management system), and the second option is developing a solution fully from scratch on a framework.

Among the platforms that can be used for web portal application development, we can name the following ones:

  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • Drupal
  • Zendesk
  • SharePoint
  • PimCore
  • Magento (for e-commerce web portals)
  • PrestaShop (for e-commerce web portals)

That’s not a full list of options, but just the most popular variants. A CMS is an excellent idea for creating the news, blogging, and e-commerce web portals. However, there are some limitations related to personalization and adding features. Moreover, there can be issues when your portal attracts high traffic.

For creating a portal with complex functionality, it’s better to think about building it from scratch as you will have more space for scalability and flexibility. Below are some tools and technologies that may be used for web portal development.

Back-endFront-endCloud platformsDatabasesReal-time data processing
PythonAngularAWSMySQLFlink
.NETVue.jsGoogle CloudSQL ServerRabbitMQ
JavaReactMicrosoft AzureOracleKafka Streams
Node.jsDigital OceanMongoDBAmazon Kinesis
PHPCassandraAzure Stream Analytics

How much does it cost to create a web portal?

As well as in building any other software product tailored to your business needs, the exact cost of web portals development greatly depends on several factors. Usually, development costs are somewhere in the range between $20,000 and $80,000. But let’s have a look at the key factors that have an impact on the total amount:

  • The required features (their complexity and number);
  • The number of user roles that can be created for your portal;
  • The type of integrations with third-party tools and custom systems;
  • The peculiarities of a web portal logic;
  • The requirements for design;
  • The chosen platform for building a web portal, customization, and tech stack;
  • The required regulatory compliance; 
  • The requirements for scalability, performance, security, etc.;
  • The type of cooperation with a development team.

There can be different approaches to building cooperation with engineers. For example, some companies have in-house specialists, while others prefer to work with external development teams. If your company belongs to the second category and you want to hire developers, read our tips.

At Geomotiv, we are always happy to help you! Thanks to our solid practical skills and deep theoretical knowledge, we can transform even the boldest ideas into real products.

Benefits of web portal software development to the business

If you still haven’t made a final decision on whether you need to build a web portal for your company or not, we recommend you consider the following benefits of launching this software.

  • Enhanced user, customer, employee, and vendor experience thanks to providing them with a convenient platform for interaction with your business;
  • Facilitated access to the relevant information collected on one platform 24/7 in real-time;
  • Simple communication between all the involved parties;
  • Improved content personalization;
  • Growing customer loyalty;
  • The possibility to reach a wide audience at the same time;
  • Access to relevant data on customers’ behavior, interests, and needs.

As you see, your business can greatly benefit from building a web portal for your business. If you still don’t know where to find seasoned developers to create a web portal, at Geomotiv, we will always be ready to provide you with all the necessary services. Our software engineers have rich experience creating web solutions for various business needs. Our team can cope with the most challenging task while ensuring our clients' most comfortable terms and conditions.

Do not hesitate to contact us and share your ideas. We are sure that we can build a solution that will support your business development and ensure the stable growth of your revenues.

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