Before you start building your site, ask yourself “WHY?”. Why did you decide to build your own web site. How are you going to earn money? Creating simple homepage will not get you any money at all nor you receive lots of visitors. Your website must be the part of your business. It also must be the part of your business plan.
When you are planning your website, ask you the following questions:
1. Who is your audience?
Your main goal is to provide information to meet the needs of your key audience, in a manner that is user-friendly. Audiences may include your clients: businessmen, professionals, etc.
2. What goals do you want to achieve with this site?
What problems is your Web site trying to resolve? What are the advantages to having a Web site? Think about these questions as you prioritize your goals, and use them as a guide in your decision-making.
3. Is the information you want to provide the same information that your audience wants from you?
Your perceptions may dramatically differ from their perceptions! Involve your visitors, listen to their comments, test your site with them. Approach your information as if you were a user visiting your site for the first time. Does it make sense?
4. Is your information easily accessible?
Do not put up roadblocks! Make information available with as few “clicks” as possible. Always make contact information readily available. Don’t put up “under construction” pages — this frustrates users, who may not return to your site.
5. Is your content style appropriate to your audience?
Unless your users are expecting to find a text-heavy page, keep your copy simple and short. If it isn’t immediately obvious what the purpose of the page is, the user probably won’t read more than one or two sentences before moving on.
6. How will you keep the content up-to-date?
Who is responsible for hosting and updating website content? How often will he or she do it?
7. What is the structure of your site?
It is very helpful to sketch out a “site map” of your content in order to organize it effectively. Site maps help determine navigation across your site as well as the “breadcrumb” element on your pages. It may be helpful to create a map of your content as it exists on your current site, and another for how you envision the organization of your new site.