10 Steps to Plan Your Website

How to Get Started:

Having a website designed that meets your needs and expectations can depend, in part, on the preparation you put into planning your site. Here are some basic suggestions to help you get started planning for a successful website:

  1. Make a list of your top four or five objectives.  What message do you want to promote?  What do you want your website to do for you or your business?
  2. Surf the web for a few websites whose design and function you like and some that you dislike.  Make particular note of navigational styles, colors, layout, and features you’d like to have on your site.  Send the links to your designer.
  3. Look at what your competitors are doing and how they’re doing it.  Consider if you want to offer something more, better, or different.
  4. Jot down a few notes about your ideas; making a rough outline or sketch can be helpful.
  5. Consider what pages or sections you want to have on your site.  A typical site may start with the following basic pages:
    • Home/Welcome: The Home page should answer the question ‘What is this site about?’
    • Profile or About: This page should answer the question ‘Who are we?’
    • Products and/or Services and/or Portfolio: Here is where you answer the question ‘What do we offer?’
    • News and/or FAQs and/or Links
    • Contact
  6. Make a list of any additional pages you may want on your site, such as:
    • image gallery
    • shopping cart
    • feedback form
    • events/calendar
    • blog
    • newsletter
    • search box
    • site map
    • privacy policy
    • terms of use
    • copyright information
  7. List any additional features you’d like, such as:
    • social networking links
    • audio posting
    • video posting
    • Google map and/or directions
    • polls/surveys
    • forum
    • particular statistics packages such as Google analytics
    • database
    • Flash or other animation
  8. Register your desired domain name, or contact us if you would like help beginning at this point.
  9. If you do not already have a hosting service, please contact us to help you with the selection process.
  10. Contact us to get started on the design process for your new website.

And a bonus tip: at any time in the process, start roughing out the text content for your site, and send the content in digital format to your designer.  If you plan on offering a gallery or portfolio of media on your site—such as images, music, or video—ask your designer for the file format and size requirements, and begin organizing your media content to send to your designer.

(I originally wrote and published this article on my design website, Marilyn Fenn Design. I have updated the content for re-posting here.)

2 Responses to “10 Steps to Plan Your Website”

  • Lakeesha Gehret:

    Hi there I am so delighted I found your blog http://pixelwranglers.com/10-steps-to-plan-your-website, I really found you by error, while I was searching on Yahoo for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a marvelous post and an all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the minute but I have saved it and also included your RSS, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the great job.

  • Marilyn:

    My sincerest apologies for not noticing your comment prior to now(!). At any rate — better late than never — thank you so much for such a nice comment. I’m glad it was helpful. 🙂