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.
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.