Building a website

Planning

So you want to build a new website? You want to make it load quickly, easy to update yourself, scale with your business growth, make money…the reasons for building or even rebuilding a website are endless. But if you do it without a goal and a plan you are likely to find yourself in a mess with a blown budget and a website that’s less than perfect.

Primary Goal

The first thing to consider is your primary goal. There are bound to be many goals that you will want to set, but always keeping that primary goal in mind will help to keep you on track.

For example, I might want to set up a website to sell shoes. The primary goal is clear. So I need to make it easy for people to find the shoes they like and make their experience, and the purchasing process, as simple as possible.

List Secondary Goals

Knowing what you want to achieve from your website right from the get go will help you find all the pieces you need to build a successful website.

If we continue along the shoe shop example we might want to integrate a shoe blog, a shoe gallery, a contact form, and a sizing chart, which will all help sell the shoes in their own way.

Map Out Your Website

With your goals in mind you can now start planning how the website will hang together. This will indicate how many pages you will need and how the navigation will look providing you with a basic structure and an idea of just how much work you have ahead of you.

Select A Number Of Websites That You Like

It’s common practice to find a few websites that you like and borrow ideas that you like and work out what you don’t like. It’s gives you and your designer a good starting point and can help you visualise how your own website might look.

Prepare The Content

Getting content together doesn’t mean working out the layout, but just the basic text and any images you might want to use on the pages. The content can help determine the layout of the page.

Static Vs Dynamic website

While smaller websites tend to be static because it’s easier, cheaper, and so on, as sites tend to evolve and grow they lend themselves better to a dynamic CMS (content management system) framework which can easily scale up and you don’t need to know anything about html, css or even FTP. That’s all built into the template. Updates on static sites can often be tricky with Static sites even when using Dreamweaver templates (or any other templates for that matter). With CMS systems you may need to turn to someone to make the changes for you, however it would be quicker and painless.

A Starting Point

Now you have a solid starting point, here’s a check list that will help you work out what you need for your website.

Check List

Contact Information
Your full name
Your email address
Your phone number
General Information
What is the address for your current website
What is most important for your new site (point form)
Planning
Do you have a site map? YesNo
Approximately how many pages will your new site contain?
Do you have content (images and text) ready? YesNo
When do you need your site completed (completion date)?
Content
Do you want blog functionality? YesNo
Would you like the blog on the homepage? YesNo
Do you like video on your website? YesNo
Would you like audio files (podcasts) on your site? YesNo
Would you like an interactive event calendar? YesNo
Do you want users to register for events? YesNo
Do you want users to purchase tickets via PayPal or Credit Card? YesNo
Does your website need an FAQ section? YesNo
Functionality
Would you like members only content? YesNo
Do you require surveys or feedback forms? YesNo
Do you require a general contact form? YesNo
Would you like any social networking hooks? (Facebook share) YesNo
Do you want to allow visitors to comment on content? YesNo
Do you require a Google Map for your location? YesNo
Do you require search functionality? YesNo
Do you require a sitemap? YesNo
Homepage
Would you like a slideshow on the front page? YesNo
Would you like to capture email addressed for a newsletter?
Do you want to generate revenue through advertising? YesNo
Do you require a discussion forum? YesNo
Do you require Social Media links for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other? YesNo
Online store
Do you require an online store? YesNo
Do you want the catalog filterable by brand? YesNo
Will you have configurable products? YesNo
Which payment methods do you require? (PayPal, credit card, other?)
Which shipping methods do you require? (AustPost, other?)
Do you wish to give coupon codes/discounts? YesNo
Do you only wish to sell in Australia? YesNo
Do you want to sell vouchers? YesNo
Do you wish to offer multiple currencies? YesNo
SEO
Do you wish to track website traffic with Google Analytics? YesNo
If you already have a GA account ID please provide details
Hosting
Do you require hosting? YesNo
Can you provide hosting details for your existing site? YesNo
Would you like a backup taken of your current site? YesNo
Responsive
Would you like your website to work across all devices from desktop to mobile? YesNo