Website Planning – A Step by Step Guide - Online Business Articles

Once you have decided to start a website or blog whether for your business or for personal interest there is some planning required before actually building the website/blog. There are various steps to website planning.

Website planning has a process. If you miss any of the steps you will be disappointed at the results in the long run. Follow the steps below in order to gather and build on the previous step.

Website Planning

Website Planning Step by Step

Below are 8 steps to follow when peforming your website planning. Complete each step before moving onto the next.

Getting yourself a binder or creating a folder or two on your computer to keep all this information together for reference later would be a good idea. Which ever works for you. Pen and paper, creating the information in a word processor then printing out to put in a binder or saving the document in a folder on your computer. Note: If you decide to go the paperless route, be sure to back up your documents. Never know when the computer is going to crash. (wink)

As you progress through the website planning and the rest of your project you will find that being organized is a major bonus. There is lots of stuff you need to keep records for like where you registered your domain name and the login information (very important. You can’t make any changes without this information), your web hosting information, your marketing plan and any other information related to your site such as who you contracted out some of the work to.

  1. Purpose and Goals

    The first step of planning your website/blog is to decide on it’s purpose then set some realistic goals.

    Make a list of your goals and define the purpose of building this project.

    1. Why are you building this site?
    2. What do you need to do to accomplish the goals you have set out for the site?
    3. What type of site do you want to build? Something with ecommerce? An informational site? A personal expression site?
    4. Does the site have to be self sustaining? Were you planning on using Adsense, Adwords or some other advertizing revenue to support the opporation of the site?

    With you list of why you are building the site and goals you have in mind you now need to find out about the target audience you are going to market to.

  2. Target Audience – What is your target audience?

    Taking the time to evaluate and study your target audience is a very important step in the website planning process. During this evaluation you will gather information that can be used in the later steps.

    1. Ask yourself, “Who is going to be looking at my site?”
    2. Now ask, "What technologies will your visitors have?"
    3. Where on the internet does your target audience like to be? Facebook? Twitter? Private mailing groups? The less popular social networks? Maybe they like forums?

    When planning a website or blog you need to assess what the target audience will be, what technologies their systems will have and what their computer experience before you can decide on your website technologies. Knowing where your target audience is on the internet will also determine what/which social interaction features you need to incorporate into your design and budget. It is also an opportunity to collect some information in preparation for the on-site search engine optimization (SEO) of the overall website/blog.

    • Search Engine Optimization Preparation

      While studying your target audience look at the following. It help prepare you for the on-site search engine optimization part of your project.

      1. What keywords and key phrases would the target audience enter into the search engines to find your website?

        You will use this information later as you decide on web page file names, headings within your web pages and as you create the web page content.

        If the plan is to build revenue for the site via pay per click, Adsence, Adwords or other online advertising this research will have to be done anyways so do it now as you work through the website planning process.

      2. What areas of your chosen niche (theme) are not being covered well for a particular search term/phrase?

        Can you find a section of your chosen niche with low competition that you have some expertise in?

      3. How stiff is your competition for the most popular searched for terms or phrases?

        Competition is good but is the market saturated in that particular area? Do you have the time and determination to compete against stiff competition?

        No point investing time and money into a website if no one can find it, is there?

        Placing well in the search engines takes good old fashioned hard work. There are no shortcuts. The site must be constantly updated to keep the search engines coming back once they have found you. You also earn social proof (bookmarks and mentions) through people finding you and enjoying your website content.

        Collecting this search engine optimization information now will also help you prepare your marketing plan and marketing budget.

  3. Website Technical Considerations

    Ask yourself,

    1. What technologies do I need to provided the best experience for my readers?
    2. What server requirements do these technologies require?

    The website technologies you will require will depend on the type of website you are building and what type of audience you have decided to target and accommodate. They also influence what type of web hosting you will need to secure plus the cost of your web design is also affected by the technological choices you have made.

  4. Website Site Map

    Draw yourself a map of what pages you require and how they are connected. This will help you focus on the structure of the site. Each page has to be linked to from another page or your visitors and the search engines won’t be able to find it.

    Do you need a members only or private section of the site? This adds to the cost of the project as some kind of login will be required to keep the area private.

    Creating a site map will also help you convey to the web designer what your plan is for the site.

  5. Web Design Budget

    Do you have the budget for a custom web design? This would be the most expensive choice but also it would be the best choice for your website or blog to be memooriable.

    A semi-custom web design would be one where you find an existing template/theme and have parts of the design customized for your project. Depending on the customization, going with a custom web design to start with might work out to be the same cost or maybe even cheaper.

    For a very tight budget you might have to start with a pre-made template. The bad thing about pre-made templates is your site is going to look just like someone else’s and not be memoriable.

    While determining your web design budget it is a good idea to also plan what pages you are going to need. The web designer you hire will need this information to give an accurate quote.

  6. Hosting Costs

    Your hosting costs are influenced by all of the above.

    When planning a website or blog be sure that the web host has room to grow with your site.

    Are there features included with a slightly more expensive hosting package that you will need in the future?

  7. Domain Name Purchase

    During the website planning stage you need to come up with a domain name for your website/blog. The purchase price of a domain name is not a huge expense in your overall budget but it is still a cost.

    Use the information you collected when studying your target audience to select the perfect name for your site.

    Purchasing a domain name at this stage would be a good idea. You can not have all your content, graphics done without the domain name secured. If you wait until later the name might be gone.

  8. Budget

    When planning a website or blog budget can be a determining factor as to what features the website will have and which features will have to be added at a later date. Ask yourself,

    1. What is my budget?
    2. What on my wish list are needed immediately and which can be added later?

    When hiring your web designer be sure to tell them which items didn’t make the do now list so the site can be designed with your future plans in mind.

We will look at each section of the planning process in detail throughout this section of the articles section. Remember, this is a process, no skipping steps because you are in a hurry. You will be disappointed with the results if you rush through the website planning process.

In this article we covered just the actual website/blog planning stage of your total project. There is also your marketing plan, marketing budget and overall business expenses to consider in your total venture budget and plan. Just because you plan to work from home doesn’t mean there are zero costs to running your business. Example: When running an ecommerce site there is the cost of your payment processor (the service that handles your payments online) to consider. Your internet connection, lights, power, office space, software upgrades, computer maintenance and equipment are also expenses of doing business.

Once you have your website plan and budget prepared you can proceed with securing the required services.

About :

Back to side navigation

What's next?

Follow our new articles via Subscribe to Accrete Web Solutions Articles RSS feed Articles RSS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Submit to your favourite social networking site:

  • Follow Us on:
  • Follow Accrete Web Solutions on Facebook
  • Follow Accrete Web Solutions on Google Plus
  • Follow Accrete Web Solutions on StumbleUpon
  • Follow Accrete Web Solutions on LinkedIn
  • Follow Accrete Web Solutions on Twitter
  • Follow Accrete Web Solutions on Pinterest

Sign up for our newsletter

Leave a comment below. We read all our comments, reply and answer questions. We have a look at your link plus readers might also (Hint, hint: traffic to your site).

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

By leaving a comment, you acknowledge that you have read our terms of use.