How to Plan Your Website before Building it
By Top10 Staff
Nowadays, creating your own piece of cyberspace has never been easier. Whether you are building a business website, launching an ecommerce online shop, or simply starting a blog to show off your hobby, you can launch a website in a matter of hours, often for free.
But what is the difference between the ones which succeed and the ones which fail? Like so much in life, planning is crucial, and without the right preparation, websites can often fall off course before they even really get up and running. The following are tips that will help you plan your website before building it.
Before you start building your own website, make sure you understand your idea
This is the part where you need to ask yourself some questions. Take a piece of paper and jot down some notes.
What kind of website are you building? Is it a blog? Is it an online business?
What do you hope to gain by your website, are you trying to raise awareness or provide information, or are you hoping to make money from sales or advertising revenue?
Who are your current audience and are you looking to branch out from that?
If you can answer those questions within a minute then you are in a great spot because you have a clear idea of what you are setting out to create.
Consider whether you will need a custom domain.
Today, most website builders need to consider their domain name. To build an online presence it’s a good idea that you purchase an effective, memorable, and relevant domain name. While many bloggers continue to use subdomains, consider the pros and cons of purchasing a domain that really makes your online presence blossom, including adding some legitimacy to your brand name, and making yourself easier to find in search engines.
Need help choosing a domain name? iPage offers up this excellent video with 10 rules to remember when making this important decision.
Create a blueprint to follow, for when you choose the website template itself.
Consider what you’d like your website to look like, and how you’d like it to be navigated. Outline your homepage, basic landing pages and content pages, and what you will be saying on each. Don’t create pages for the sake of it, instead ensure that each page has it’s own purpose, while still keeping to a consistent overall tone. You can create your blueprint using some standard paper or by using a fancy piece of software but either way, make sure you create a navigation path or a site map for users to follow. You need to know what the user experience is from the second they enter your website. Most visitors will give you one chance consisting of a number of seconds, and won’t come back if they aren’t impressed.
Once you know what you’re saying, take some time to think about how to display that message.
Even if you’re not the most artistic person, take a moment to sketch out some ideas about the design of your site. This can be anything from choosing website colors to font to a more general opinion on layout. Do you want an image gallery? What initial graphics do you want to greet the visitor on the home page? You know what kind of feel you want your site to have, so write it down and make it happen.
Taking your plan from conception to reality.
Now that you know what you want and how it will look, you will need to think about how to turn all of your drafts into a real website ready to go live.
Organization is all about having a schedule. It is easy to get swamped down with trying out different designs and marketing copy, previewing various website templates and changing minute details, so in order to make sure you use your time efficiently, deadlines are key. Don’t forget to set time for testing, revision and user feedback.
When you know about your website and your idea in the pre-production stage, it shows in the final product. Take some time to search around for other great websites out there to be inspired by, see what you like and don’t like. Go with your gut, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.