Building a website may seem like a daunting task but planning your site before beginning development will save you many headaches and frustrations. By asking yourself a few simple questions before construction begins, you will save yourself valuable time and energy down the road.
1. Why are you starting the site?
The first step is identify what you are starting a website for. Is it a business, non-profit, charity, blog, book, etc.? Identifying your business and exactly what you do allows you to specifically tailor your website to your specialty. Check out some examples of charity (in development), blog and business websites : QuinnCorp, Chalk-Tique, Pretty 'Roud the City, and Sonora Photography.
Try to go beyond, "Well, everyone needs a website," and look at the nitty gritty of what benefit your site will provide to your customers.
2. What are your goals for the site?
Are you trying to remain competitive in your market? Do you want to have an edge over your competition? Are you looking to give your business more exposure? Do you want to increase revenue through selling products online? Are you providing information to people or customers?
Identifying goals for your website will give the creation of your website direction. Skipping this step is the number one reason websites are left incomplete. Goals help you determine the structure and flow of your website as well as the information you supply visitors.
3. What information will support your goals?
When listing important information, it’s important to keep your goals in mind. Be sure to write down all of your ideas and be as specific as possible. Important information may include: information about you/your business, product/service offering, descriptions and breakdown of products/services, contact information, etc. Information overload is a real thing! Details should be kept short and sweet, website viewers do not want to pick through pages of text when they are visiting a website.
4. What Sites Speak to You?
Looking at other sites will give you an idea of what you want your site to look like going into construction. As you look through other sites, it is important to also focus on what you don’t like about the websites, this information can be equally valuable as your “likes”. Making lists of this information will help you stay organized and keep the development of the website flowing smoothly.
Compiling this information before you begin creating a website will save you considerable time and trouble. Click here for a Printable Site Planner.
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