Do you have a plan?

Things to Think About Before Building a Site

A website begins with an idea. You probably have an idea for a site and that is the reason that you are exploring your options more. Or you may be looking to getting into Internet Marketing and need to know what is involved in getting a site up and running.

If you want your site to perform up to its potential the place to begin is with a plan for the site. There are two levels of planning that need to be taken into consideration. The first is the business plan for the site and the second is the physical layout for the site.

Pre-Planning for Your Site

While you may not consider that a personal or hobby site requires a business plan there are things that you need to consider. If you put the effort into building a site you must want people to visit the site. Pre-planning will make your site a better place to visit.

Pre-planning might include investigating the demand for the site that you envision, availability of an appropriate domain name, and, if it is to be commercial in nature, the products that are available for you to promote. You might also give some thought to how you will promote your site.

To investigate demand for the proposed site you could do some work with a search engine and some keyword tools. Think of searches that people might make using terms that would apply to your proposed site. 

If there are a lot of pages returned that means that there is already a lot of content on your subject available. You would need to think of ways that you could make your site more interesting to visit than the sites that you find. If you can not think of ways to make your site better than the others you will be lost in a sea of sites.

If there are few returns in the search results you need to decide if there is, in fact, a market that is just under-served or if there are few pages because you are one of the few people that are interested in your subject.

Physical Planning of Your Site

There are physical things that you need to think about in the planning stage for your site. If you are building a site with some sort of site builder on your local computer you will need to keep all the files for your site in a dedicated folder. The structure of this folder will need to be the same as the structure on the server will be. 

You may choose to include some sub-folders in this structure. If you plan a simple site with just a few pages this is not so important, but if you think that the page count may grow the time to set up your site to allow for ordered growth is in the beginning. It is common to have an images sub-folder at a minimum. You may also choose to set up sub-folders for auxiliary files if they will be used.

Also in this planning stage you need to think about site navigation. How are your visitors going to get around on your site? Ideally any page on your site should be accessible from any other page. If you do not make getting around on your site easy and intuitive for your visitors they may not stay long enough to see all that you have to offer.

You also need to plan the layout of your site. How do you want your pages to look? You will need to pick a color scheme and make choices about fonts. Do you want a single long column like a sales letter or a two or three column layout? Will you use a nav bar beneath your header, a nav column or the left or right, or some combination of these options.

If you will place advertisements on the page you need to think about the areas that will be devoted to advertising. The positions of the various types of ads can make a difference in how effective they will be.

There are many things to think about in the pre-planning stage of your website development. Planning your site well will make building and updating your site much easier. Your site can perform better with the proper planning.

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