As you begin to design a new website, it’s best to start off with some planning. First of all you should have a general outline of the purpose of your website, how the navigation will be laid out and the the design. You don’t have to make anything too detailed, since you’re probably not going to be able to follow your outline as is. In this article I’ll touch base on three important parts that should be included in your outline. The first will be the purpose and figuring out your plan of action.
Well this point should be pretty easy. What do you want to make your website about? Now then think about who you want to visit your website. Remember you should try to think of people that are going to want to read, see or buy what ever you have on the site. As a new web developer, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t try to do everything at once. It takes time to create quality content, so you should keep your focus and pick a very clear audience to cater to for your first website. For example, if you’re making a site on sports, narrow down to your favorite sport to start off with and maybe specific topics on that sport. Also you should take note of the form that your going to present your information. Are you going to write articles, tutorials, show pictures, videos, etc to get your objective across? Once you’ve finished thinking about all that write it down and move on to the next step.
Things to think about:
- Are you interested in the topic you picked to keep at it for a few months to a year? If you aren’t interested in the topic, it’s going to be an up hill battle.
- How big is the audience you’ve picked? Make sure that you don’t have too broad an audience or too narrow an audience.
- Could you clearly tell someone else who your target audience is? If you can’t clearly articulate it, you should think about that until you can.
Now pick some goals to try to achieve. This is going to be how you define success, and drive yourself to deliver results. Some goals you could set could be on the number of visitors, page views, sales goals, or advertising revenues. Make sure your goals are SMART:
- S: Specific
- M: Measurable
- A: Achievable
- R: Realistic
- T: Timely
Figure out your needs. This will depend a lot on what you plan on creating, so maybe you’ll need some writers, designers, web space, a domain, etc. Make a list price it out, and figure out how you’re going to go get all of it together.
Do a few searches on topics that you hope people will search to find your website. Figure out how your website is going to be better than the competition. Is it going to be easier to read, or perhaps more authoritative? Maybe it will be more interactive? The goal here is to scope out the competition, and figure out what will be the reason that people will prefer your website over the ones that currently exist.
Now that you have a general sense of what you’re going to create, plot it out on a timeline so that you can set small completion goals over the next few months to help encourage yourself to get your site up and rolling. I like to use Google Calendar and Google Tasks to keep myself on track and on task.
Here’s a sample outline that you can download, fill out or print for your own uses to keep organized as you start to plan out your website.