[Self-Hosting Basics] A Simple Program For Planning a Website

A lot of people think that building a blog is easy and doesn't require much work.  Wrong! Constructing a website without any clear plan is like building a ship without blueprints.  So many things can get missed out, deadlines can be missed and things can go in the wrong place.  It doesn't matter if you're just starting out in your blogging career or a designer working with clients, this simple guide will help you to plan and lay the groundwork for your prospective website.

Quick note: Not got a website yet, then sign up at www.hostgator.com

What is the purpose of your website?

Is it to open a store online? Increase publicity for your business?  For a charitable cause?  An important of starting a website is deciding what it's purpose is, and who your target audience is.  You need to start setting out your goals, and visitor numbers you expect each month.  The number of people you expect to sign up for your newsletter.  How much money do you expect to make?  Give yourself goals that can be measured that are in line with your marketing goals.  You can use an analytics tool like Google Analytics to monitor your websites performance.

Establish a budget

Setting a budget is really important for any website start-up.  Even if it's just paying business insurance monthly and website costs yearly it all matters.  You need to write down the things you need in your budget so as design, programming and web hosting.  Do your research thoroughly, ask professionals.  Get a feel for your own chosen field.  How do other website owners run their websites?  If you're creating a website team choose members that have good references, examples of work and lots of experience.

Appoint roles

  • Content writer
  • Company stakeholders
  • Web developer
  • HTML/CSS professional
  • Web and graphic designer

Make sure you have a team that knows what they're doing, what is expected of them and how to keep abreast of new developments online.

Devise a content strategy

Decide what kind of content you'll be creating.  This can include:

  • Embedded social media feeds
  • Slideshows
  • A gallery or pictures
  • Video
  • Documents
  • Blog posts

You need to work out how often you want to publish content on your website, whether its weekly or monthly.  You may need to hire a writer who is experienced in writing content online.

Organizing your website

Figure out what pages are required for your website, do you need an About and Contact page?  Whatever you choose should meet your websites needs.

Devise a mock-up

If you're website is complicated create a mock-up or wireframe, this is an outline for your website.  You can create this in Photoshop, not much detail is required.  Don't worry about the details, this is the first draft to give everyone an idea of your website.

Begin designing

A well-designed website will encourage visitor's, an ugly poorly planned website will drive visitor's away.  Here are some basic concepts to keep in mind:

  • Create easy navigation
  • Make your fonts easy-to-read.  Keeps text and background colours simple and easy to contrast
  • Make sure your website is responsive to all screen sizes
  • Keep it light and easy to load
  • Make the company logo and tag line easily seen on the page
  • Styles and colours should be consistent throughout the website
  • All copy should be clear and concise, information such as a newsletter sign up form should be placed above the fold
  • Design it with the future in mind

Iron out all the bugs

By publishing it and testing it out, you can make sure it shows up the way you want it to in all browsers.  Try it out on your cell phone and Ipad.  Test all of your links make sure they work ok.

Manage your website

Once your website is up and running, its a full-time job to maintain it.  You'll understand how useful tools such as Google Webmaster tools and analytics really are for monitoring your website.  You should keep a close eye on your website daily as well as doing weekly checks with Webmaster tools to ensure everything is running smoothly.

Taking the extra time to plan your website properly is worth the investment.  In the long run it will serve you well and give you a product that will serve well over time.

It's time to get started on your website now that you're ready!  Hostgator offers numerous options and budgets to accommodate all users, from newbies to Fortune 500 companies.  Check out what they offer by clicking here.

Read more about Blogging: How to Effectively Monetize Your Blog[Blogging for Beginners] To Host or Not to Self Host?How to Start a Blogger Blog and Make Money

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