May 12, 2009

Develop a Web Site Plan


Hostway Team

Whether you’re building your Web site or outsourcing the job, planning is vital to your project’s success. Carefully planning in the beginning makes for a better end product, especially given the interactive nature of the Web.

Your Web site plan serves as a blueprint for the entire project, detailing the underlying site architecture and forces you to think through potential problems before they happen. Presenting an organized structure makes the Web site logical and intuitive to use for future visitors.

You can develop your plan in four easy steps:

  1. Define your goals

    Goals can give you direction for everything from what functionality you need to what color palette to use. They can help you limit the scope of your project and provide criteria for measuring success. Goals may address the type of audience you hope to attract, features you'd like the site to have and whether the site will go live in phases or all at once.

  2. Document the user experience

    To create a good experience that keeps visitors coming back, take the time to explore your project from your visitors’ perspective. Map out the best experience by getting to know your target audience.

  3. Create a site map

    How many pages will your Web site include? What type of pages will they be? Creating a site map helps you not only answer these questions, but organize your pages into categories (thereby creating a navigation structure).

  4. List the content and functionality you need

    It’s time to decide how each page of your Web site will look and what functionality it needs to include to help you accomplish your goals. Imagine each page of your Web site and write down the features you will need to give users the best experience.

When you have a plan for your Web site, the next step is to determine who will make your vision a reality. You have many choices, from do-it-yourself templates to hiring a designer.

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