The following checklist contains most of the things you should consider when planning your website.
What is the primary purpose of your website?
- Describing your products or services?
- Completing sales transactions?
- Offering customer service and support?
- Communicating company identity or branding?
- Establishing your credibility?
Who makes up your target audience?
- Who do you want to see your site?
- What is your target audience looking for?
- What questions are your customers constantly asking you?
- What can we include that would wow your customers?
How do you want your website to look?
- Professional? Whimsical? Newsy? Simple? Complex?
Have you seen any sites that you would like to model yours after?
- What do you like about those sites?
- What colors do you prefer for the site?
- How wide do you want your site design to be?
- Do you want your pages to be easily printable?
- Do you want to offer PDF files of information rich pages?
- Do you want your site to use only graphics, only photos, or both?
- Are you interested in animation files?
- Do we need to take photos of you, your staff, your services, or your products?
- Do you have any vendor supplied photos or graphics you are authorized to use?
What layout do you want?
- three column - navigation, content, miscellaneous. Good for organizations
- two column - narrow column for menu, wide column for content - good for businesses
- splash screen - click animated graphic to access the site - not recommended
- free form - not recommended for businesses but okay for personal sites
- flash - interactive Shockwave Flash sites have major search engine problems
Where do you want your navigation (menu) system?
- Horizontal menus are limited by screen width but allow you to present more content below
- Vertical menus allow you more menu items and greater flexibility in adding menu items
- Free form menus will not be expected by visitors so stick with the two forms above
- Do you have a logo?
- Do you have a digital copy of it?
- Do you need a logo or would your company name be sufficient?
- Do you have a tag line - a short sentence that describes your business?
- What are your customers expecting to find at your web site
- What questions are you often asked by customers?
- What existing material do you have?
- hard copy brochures?
- client presentations?
- customer letters?
- information flyers?
- case studies?
- customer testimonial letters?
- your resume?
- Is this material available digitally ie. Word documents, jpeg images etc?
What menu items do you need?
- Services-how many?
- Product categories?
- Articles or other informative topics?
- Pdf files to include?
- Links or resources?
- About us?
- Contact us?
- What search terms do you expect your customers will use to find you?
- What search engines will they be using?
- What organizations, companies or sites can you ask to link to your site?
- Have you registered a domain name?
- If so, do you have your domain access information ie. username and password?
- Have you secured hosting?
- If so, do you have your site access information ie. username and password?
- How often will your site need updating?
- What content will need updating?
- When would you like your website completed and "live"?
- How will you be accessing the site (connection speed and browser)?
- What screen resolution do you have ie. 1024 pixels x 768 pixels?