Ask yourself the following question: “What goes into creating a website?” The correct answer to this question is planning. When creating a website, you need:
- A topic
- A purpose
- Multiple Webpages
The above list is part of the planning process when it comes to creating a website. In this article, I’ll discuss the various aspects of website planning. Each step of the plan is essential to creating your own websites; whether it’s a personal website, business website, fan website, etc.
TOPIC, PURPOSE AND GOALS
You may think that the topic, purpose and goals of a website are the same thing. When I first started designing websites, I thought so too. However, that is not the case. The topic, purpose and goals of a website are all different things and they each play their own role in the website planning process.
The topic of a website is what the website is about. For example; if you create a website related to the many different Apple products that Apple offers, then the topic of your website will be Apple products.
The purpose of a website is why the website is being created. Going back to the website about Apple products, the purpose of the website could be a couple of different things:
- Selling or exchanging of Apple products.
- Providing information to the general public about some of the best Apple products.
Goals are objectives that you want your website to reach for you. For example; the Apple product website, dealing with the selling and exchanging of Apple products, might have the following goals:
- Increase monthly sales by 10%.
- Increase customer base by 5% by the end of 2015.
- Promotions will increase the amount of traffic to the website.
Goals usually consist of at least three objectives. The first goal should be the hardest to reach and the last should be the easiest.
Though a target audience was not introduced as part of the planning process, it is very important. The target audience is the people you are trying to reach with your website. For example; the website about Apple products may try to reach out to people who like Apple products. The age range of the target audience might be 13 years old to 50 years old.
It’s important to keep the target audience in mind when you create any website. If you were to create a website for children, you would want the website to be colorful and interactive as that would make the website more enjoyable for children.
When creating a website, you need to create multiple webpages. All websites should include ALL of the following pages:
- Home – The home page usually consists of various different things such as articles and images that link to other parts or pages of the website.
- About – The about page usually consists of information about an individual, company, product, etc., depending on the website’s topic and purpose.
- Contact – The contact page usually consists of: contact form and or contact information such as an email address, address, phone number, and or links to various social media accounts associated with a specific person, company, or product. (This information will vary depending on the type of website and its purpose).
Content creation is an important part of the website planning process. Content includes text, images, audio, video, etc. When creating a website, it’s a good idea to plan your content. You need to know what you want to say and to whom (your target audience). You’ll want to pick out any pictures, video, and audio files you will want displayed on your website and pages. If you are going to have videos, make sure you pre-record them so they are ready when it’s time to add your content.
LAYOUT AND DESIGN
The layout and design work together to create the look and feel of your website. The easiest way to achieve a look you want is to sketch it out. You can create a sketch by hand, or by using various design programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Paint, Paint Shop Pro, and others. You may choose that you want all of your pages to look the same; you may want them to look different. HTML and CSS are one of the many ways people design the look and feel of their website.