Before you jump into spending coutnless hours on designing and publishing your website, or spending hundreds on having it done by anyone else you should plan out your full design (or structure). This is very important so that when it comes time to do this long-lasting project you will be well prepared.
Layout the Structure of your website. The basics to getting your website going is to know what type of pages your going to have on your website. These pages can be more complex than you think. Say for example your going to have a homepage, contact page, and a about page. Write these three links out, and branch off other links below them. Like on your contact page you'll maybe have a link to go to a contact form, and/or a link to go to your forums/community. And for your about page you could have information about you, info on your company, info on how you became started, frequently asked questions, and maybe even a reference or how-to guide on how you started your business.
As you can see deciding how many links you will have can be a very time consuming job. But it is always better to have all of this planned out and done before you start designing your webpage, or having someone do it for you. The more info you can provide yourself, or your webmaster will benefit you greatly.
Say for example your webmaster charges you by the hour... If he/she has to spend time thinking of your linking structure you could be paying this person more than you really need to.
Here are some things you should think about before you get started on building your layout structure:
What's the topic of your website going to be based on?Cars...WebDesign...Your Company...
Who are your visitors/clients going to be?Little Kids?Adults?Teenagers?
What do you need to gear your advertising towards?Search Engine OptimizationNewsletter Mailing ListArticle Submissions
How can you make all of your pages easy to access?Does your website have a easy linking structure?Are your pages search engine friendly?Example: (book_spider_man.html)
Who are your competitors?Are they going to be serious competition?Could they be possible affiliates?
Gather content and important information for your website. After you have your linking structure all setup you will want to start looking around your house, computer, work, or wherever and gather up information about your website's main topic. You will need content to fill up your homepage, contact information for your contact page, and anything and everything else to fill your website with content.
Content will be the number one key to the success of your website. If your content isn't updated regularly, or isn't 100% complete than you will loose visitors and even potential clients/product purchasers.
Try to avoid having links to pages that don't work. This will cause visitors to not click on those links again, or even not come back to your website again. Try to atleast throw a page up with Under Construction, and have some content on there for them to go through.
Back to the point... Be Creative before you Purchase or Create a Website. Dont jump straight into something without knowing anything about it. Ask your self, would you buy a brand new car with no engine knowing you have to use it to get to work the next day? Planning out your website structure is on the same lines as purchasing a car without a engine. You need the content and structure built up before you can get it to run.
About The Author
Charles Nixon - Website Designer. Driven by Creativity. Building websites to increase sales, and web presence. Did you start your business to create a website? Or to run your business? CharlesNixon.com may be the web design firm for you! Competitive prices and your project delivered on time and on budget.