So you need a new website and don’t know where to start. Or you have a good idea of where to start but need some motivation to get you started. There's really no shortlist when it comes to designing a website to cover all angles of representing your product, service, or message. Even having years of experience in the web design profession, I find myself adding newer and better techniques with every new web project I do. There's really no end for improvement; with that said, I will try to provide some essentials and thought that should go into every web design strategy.
What's Your Website Goals?
Great, you've decided you want a website; But for what reason? As simple as this question sounds, unless you know what your goals are first; you may not reach the maximum results your site is capable of. Planning ahead by written brainstorming provides a blueprint that will be valuable once the development phase has begun saving you both time and miscommunication. A good start to determining your goals is finding answer(s) to the questions below:
My goal is to:
- Use Online Marketing to attract potential visitors
- Sell my products or service online
- Provide a free site and generate income through advertisement sales
- Provide brochure ware (a simple description, image, and contact info)
- Brand Awareness
- Promote my job skills, hobbies, and/or passions
Having a clear and concise outline of your goals before starting any web design project will help you achieve the desired outcome.
Identifying Your Target Audience
Developing a website to meet your audience’s needs and wants plays a very important role because after all, your visitors are what you’re ultimately there for. Your target audience may be a certain age group, ethnicity, social body, business orientation, or simply the general populous. The more research you do about your potential visitors the better you will be able to provide technology, functionality, design, and information that will serve them best.
Get To Know Your Competition
Doing research on your industry competition whether it is regionally, nationally, or worldwide plays a crucial role in developing a top-of-your-field website. Knowing what your competition is doing online and learning how to do it better can provide the edge you may need to win your visitor over. Researching competition should never be used to mimic an idea but rather to capitalize on its weaknesses.
Write It Down On Paper!
All great websites start with good old fashion paper, or at least they should. Whether it's hand writing a storyboard, program flow chart, structured diagram, layout sketch, or even doodle; having something written on paper helps with the design and development process while saving a huge amount of project resources in the long run. If you’re like me, you grew up in the digital age when programs where replacing paper, but nothing gets the juices flowing better than writing ideas down with pencil & paper.