Saturday, November 5, 2011

10 Steps on Planning a Successful Website

When we first meet with clients, they typically want to know how much their site will cost and how soon it will go live. However, answering these questions accurately usually requires going through a thorough planning process based on the following 10 steps:

1: Determine the Purpose of the Site: Is the purpose of your site to sell products or services online, or is it a “brochure site” designed to generate interest in your company and have visitors contact you for more information?

2: Determine Your Audience: Who do you hope to target with your site? “Everyone” is too general. You must define your audience precisely so your site will speak directly to them.

3: Research the Competition: Analyze your competitors’ sites. What works for them? What do you want to do differently? What will make your site stand out?

4: Brainstorm: List the types of content you want on your site—jot down anything that comes to mind.

5: Determine What Dynamic Site Features You Want What can be animated?:What can be made interactive? Does your site require online estimating, a shopping cart, an interactive calendar, blogs, a photo gallery, newsletter signup, a portfolio, contact forms?

6. Develop a Site Map: Create a “site map” by taking all the content and features from your lists (steps #4 & #5) and organize them into a flow chart, outline, or spread sheet indicating what content and features will be on each page and what sub-pages will branch off each main page.

7. Provide Some Direction for Design of Site: If you already have a brand identity, provide this information to us. You can also provide feedback on sites you like and don’t like. The more information we have, the better we can create the perfect site for you—often at a lower cost.

8: Anticipate Content Changes: If you anticipate making changes to site content regularly, all you need to do is make a call and we will make the changes within 24 hours.

9. Develop a Timeline: Set up a project timeline and make sure you reserve enough time to provide feedback on our work, including making decisions, providing content, and editing and proofreading pages.

10. Determine Your Budget: Know your budget. If our bid comes in higher than what you anticipated, talk with us. There may be alternative ways to achieve what you want while stay within budget.