Planning your Web Site
When you begin thinking about creating a Web site, you
should follow a series of planning steps to make sure your site is
successful. Even if you are just creating a personal home page that only
friends and family will see, it can still be to your advantage to plan the
site carefully in order to make sure everyone will be able to use it easily.
Creating goals for your site
Deciding what your site goals are should be the first step you take
when creating a Web site. Ask yourself, about what you hope to
accomplish by having a Web site. Write down your goals so that you
remember them as you go through the design process. Goals help you
focus and target your Web site to your particular needs.
Web site that provides news about a specific subject should have a
different look and navigation than a Web site that sells products. The
complexity of your goals will affect the navigation, the media that you
use, and even the look and feel of your site.
To whom are you
communicating through your site? Define your audience clearly, and then
tailor your site to their needs and habits. Building a site for one
primary audience is the easiest approach. If you choose, instead, to
target multiple audiences, let that choice guide your site’s structure.
Building an expansive site
is one thing. Keeping it fresh and alive is something else. In other
words: don’t bite off today more than you can chew tomorrow. An events
calendar that’s two months out of date is useless—and reflects poorly
on your group. Before including any time-sensitive features on your
site, develop a specific plan for keeping information current. A modest
site will serve you better than a massive resource that never quite
delivers on what it seems to promise.
Planning Check List
Define objective of site,
answer the "why"
The site will? The reason I need a site is? Why this Web
site is going to be here?
inform my customers, To promote my product, To entertain,
To teach how to do something, To provide a service,
Note: With the purpose
of the site written down there is something to measure the success of
the site by. Having a purpose gives direction.
Focus on your purpose by picking the 2 or 3 top reasons for the site.
Too wide of a focus will make it much harder to work with.
2. Target Audience:
Who will find this site of
value, of interest, entertaining or informative?
What will your audience be
using this site for?
What will your visitor
do at this site?
Why will someone come to
How are they going to
find this site?
What kind of technology
does your audience have access to, i.e. modem vs broadband?
Note: When you
determine who the audience is it will influence, style, design,
content, marketing and the technical aspects of a Web site.
Who is your competition?
Use the search engines to
find similar sites - list , what do you like/dislike about them ?
How will you be
different or the same?
What features do you
like or dislike on the web.
hosting - do you have a domain named picked, do you have an Internet
service provider (ISP) ?
Getting your own domain
name - .com or .ca etc , do you plan on doing this or have your web
developer buy ?
provider, Internet connection, web space - do you need forms,
databases, e-commerce ?
Can't be all things to
all people - who is your target audience?
Focus - what is the
main purpose and focus of this site?
Be great at one thing -
what is that one thing?
Be better, be
different, and be unique - how ?
Note: Just as a company
focuses on a niche or market so does a Web site. A Web site is a
marketing tool on its own or can compliment existing marketing tools.
Your web developer needs to plan with you so that your site meets your
The web is read
differently, 80 % scan pages., have you short informational "blurbs"
prepared , pictures available, graphics to split up content ?
Writing for the web is
different than writing a book, are you going to write your own content
Tell them about your
Convince them you are
knowledgeable and competent.
Why will someone
Copyright laws - text,
pictures, brochures, graphics, fonts all have copyright issues - how
are you going to get permissions or use original content etc.?
Is your content found
elsewhere? Can a link to another site be better than repeating content?
5. Site Design:
Do you have a look you
Do you have certain
colors that have to be used or theme colors you want?
What kind of
menu/navigation system will work for your site?
What is the impression
you want people to get when the first look at your site?
Do you need your web pages
browsers do you want the site compatible with?
What screen resolution
do you want the site viewed at?
How fast do you want the
site to load?
Are there accessibility
Are you text content in
digital format - i.e. a word processing program or will it have to be
Are you supplying photos
or images digitally or will they need to be scanned?
Do you need photos
Do you have graphics
like logos that will be supplied?
7. Time Lines:
When do you want this site
Have you budgeted time
to plan the Web site project?
8. Maintaining the site:
Who is going to maintain
you going to get feedback on the site?
What parts of the Web
site will be updated and how often?