Have you ever arranged a room or tried to design an extraordinary place for yourself? How did you do it? Perhaps you had planned it before, drawing a sketch on a piece of paper or thinking it inside out and upside down. There are not so many people who move furniture without any idea of where to put it, looking for a place where it will fit and look fine. Even if it would be possible with smaller bedside tables, wardrobes of bigger cupboards would cause some troubles for sure. And that is definitely an argument for sacrificing some time and making at least a draft.
This description can be easily adopted as a point of view on designing websites. Your page in the Internet is simultaneously your place in the world. It is all up to you and your designer how it will look like, which features will it have and how will it work. Obviously it is not easy to exchange your visions with anyone unless you have a plan. Especially if you have your page designed by somebody, you must accept the fact that everyone has his own plan and creativity, and that there will not be two similar visions. Anyway, when you would like to be entirely sure that the page is going to be like from your drams – please, do make a plan. This guide is going to help you through all your doubts.
Are you ready for cross-examination? Ensure that you have a sheet of paper in front of you. Now write.
My Aims – Why do you want a website? What do you want to achieve? For instance:
- To make your company better-known?
- To raise awareness of your products/services?
- To announce some sales?
- To entertain?To build a community?
If you have answered all of these questions and have written everything what came to your mind, go to next step. And follow this scheme to complete all data – you will be astonished how necessary they are going to be later!
Do you want to connect your website’s design with any marketing strategies or promotions which are currently available at your company? How do you want to do it?
When you need your site to be ready eventually?
Do you have any budget limitations? What are they? Be conscious – often it’s better to invest more at the beginning and then reap a profit…
Who is going to visit your company? People of what age and education? Could your current customers be the visitors? Potential customers? Suppliers or investors? Your partners or competitors? Who else?
Is there any internal audience, such as your employees or management?
People in charge
Is there anybody who will take care of your website’s content, or are there many people who need to have a possibility of adding texts, graphics and materials?
Are there any companies on the market which provide similar services or products as you? Visit their pages and seize an opportunity to learn on their mistakes. Try to find as many things, which are not convenient or which just disturb looking for vital information. And of course – avoid these mistakes. So good a rival you are that others will certainly fall behind!
Take into consideration also the content on websites you have visited, technologies which were used, and above all – functional solutions, about which you have not thought yet.
Fact, what you place on your website is what you have to say.
Think how to organise your page – number of pages, headlines, menus, submenus etc. The scheme that works for most of the people is drawing a tree – place the home page at the top, and then make the structure of your website. Try to make finding everything intuitive (not only for you!).
Often forgotten essentials
Is there anything what you definitely should add to your website? Apart from the contact info and a page about you or your company, consider including privacy statements or copyright notices and any other law regulations.
Imagine what will be useful for the visitor of your page, and what is indispensable for you. Features such as shopping pages or order forms are necessary only for a certain group of company owners, but a possibility of searching through the site could be crucial for all. Take into account: discussion forums, frequently asked questions, customer support, catalogues, newsletters and many more.
Not for everybody
If you thought about making some parts of your website visible only for e.g. your employees, there is an option – establish password protected areas, pages which are available only after logging on.
With a high-quality plan nothing is impossible! Make it detailed, write as many suggestions as you only wish and remember – your imagination is the only limit, as professionals we can do for you a lot more than you have dared to thought of.