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How To
Plan Your Website ~

With the information overflow on Internet, it is rather confusing for many entrepreneurs and small business owners to obtain a clear understanding on how to build a successful business web site.

A successful web site should present a professional image of your business. Ideally it should also include some backend solutions that will allow you to update and maintain your site painlessly. The balance of these two elements will definitely put your web site in a top tier category. In e-business, small is beautiful, but your web site must project a professional and sophisticated business image that many large corporations have. This is one of proven strategies to win credit and trust from the visitors to your site.

To design and develop a successful web site you should consider the following six steps so that/and your site will be on the right track: 

Step 1 - Plan Your Website.

To plan your Website you must define its purpose; your intended audience - and their background, skills, interest, values and knowledge; your available resources; start date; update frequency; select your hosting service and state why you are developing a Website.

Outputs from this step will be your Website Plan indicating:

1) why you are developing your site;
2) the purpose of your site;
3) your intended audience (their background, interests, skills, values and knowledge);
4) the resources you will use to create your Website;
5) your desired start date and update frequency; and
6) name and URL (Web address) of your hosting service.

Let's develop a plan for your Website and prepare for answer the following questions

Who?
Who is your target audience? Study your target audience. What would they like? Now, write down your intended audience. List your audience background, their interests, skills, values and knowledge.

What? What's the purpose of your site? To educate, entertain, provide product/service informations to others, or a combination of these. As you plan your web site remember each web page should have an objective, but within the constraints of the Website's purpose. If you aren't sure how to proceed look at other Websites on the Internet for ideas.

When? When do you want to start your site? How often do you plan on updating your site - daily, weekly, twice a month, or monthly?

Where? Where are your site going to put your site (host it)? Choosing the right hosting service depends on your individual requirements.

Why? Why are you developing a Website? Keep your friends and family informed, seek interaction with other people with your interests or a Web presence for your business?

How? How will you create your Website? How do you plan on researching material for your Website? How will you create your Website? Do your research first. Remember content will make or break your Website.

Now Develop your Website Plan by using the above guidance. Print your Website Plan to guide you through the development process. Your Website Plan is dynamic in nature and should be updated as you learn more information about the above six questions.

OK. let's go to Step 2 - Design Your Site.

You should focus your design on achieving the results stated in your Website plan. Don't include something just because it is cool or fun. Always keep your target audiences in mind - ensure your design is based on their knowledge, needs and values.

* First of all you have to think about your writing style. because...web readers tend to skim over information rather than read it. Why? 1) It's hard on the eyes to read much on a computer monitor. 2) The reading speed on a screen is about 25% below reading the same material on paper. The solution? Get your message across as quickly as possible.

When designing your Website you should keep the following general design principles in mind:

  • A site should be useful.

  • A site should have a purpose.

  • A site should operate quickly, pages should download fast.

  • A site should be structured to allow visitors to navigate with ease.

  • Graphics should be kept to a minimum to allow fast loading of your web pages.

  • Use standard headers and footers for each of your web pages..

  • Use the same background color throughout your site. (White is most common color)

  • Use the same color for your text throughout your site. . (Black is most common color).

  • Use a common font size and color for specialized text segments.

  • Establish site wide consistency rules.

  • Keep it simple.

Using the guidance above, create an outline for every pages of your Website.

Links. The real purpose of the Web is that files can be linked. These files can include documents, images, movies or sounds. Links also called hyper-links or anchors, may be external to your site or internal.

Images. With a careful selection of icons, bullets, and bars you can give your site a personality all its own. But, if you over use graphics, they can seriously slow down the page's loading time and clutter the page's design. Start making your graphics now! 

Sound. A lot of web designers state that midi files or other audio files should not be used with a Website. but..in today's multi-media environment, I see no reason why sound files can't be part of your Website.

Banners, Footers, Logos, Headers and Buttons. To maintain consistency, your headers, banners, logos and buttons should look the same on every page. The header is the first line of text, banner or logo you want readers to see at the start of each page. Footers should contain some important informations & links like :

  • URL of your site.

  • About you/your site

  • Your contact link etc.

Navigation. Design your site so that users can easily navigate through it. Always include a "Go to top" link at the bottom of large pages so that users can easily return to the beginning of the page. Make sure to place navigation links on each page that allows visitors the ability to jump back and forth between the major areas of your site.

Feedback. Visitors feedback is a very important to improving your site. As a minimum provide your e-mail address so that users can provide you their comments, suggestions and opinions. Make sure this is included on each page.

Create Your Pages. Now it's time to go to work! Using the ideas you joted down for your pages. Or, your topic or the sentence outline you created. Develop a text file containing the content for each Web page.

Update Your Website Plan. Update the "How" paragraph of your Website Plan to reflect:

  • Colors for your: page background, text, active link color and visited link color.

  • Folder name for your: links (include URL), images, and sound file.

  • Folder name for your: standard header, footer and navigation scheme.

  • Folder name for your: text files.

let's go to Step 3 - Code Your Website.

To create HTML code for your Website you can use an HTML wizard, HTML templates, HTML editors, manually create your code or a combination of these methods.
Outputs from this step will be an HTML document for each of your web pages, which includes: 
your text;  links;  images;  sound files; with a standard header, footer and navigation scheme.

Be Consistent. To assist you with being consistent in your page layout, develop a page layout that you feel works for your site.

Double Check Everything. After you have created .html (.htm) files for each of your pages:

  • If your Website is hosted on a UNIX/LINUX system, check the case of your file names. UNIX/LINUX host are case-sensitive (the file index.html is different from one named Index.html). In addition, html files on a UNIX/LINUX host must end with an .html extension, not .htm.

  • Click on your home page, navigate through your site and ensure that all internal links and navigation buttons work.

  • Spell check your web pages using an automated spell checker. If you don't have a spell check capability, wait and perform this check during Testing.

  • Printout and carefully proof read your pages. Although you may have checked your pages using a spell checker, watch out for mistyped. Also, have someone else proof read a copy of your pages.

Correct your errors. Make all the required changes on your hard drive.

OK, let's go to the next step. >>

Upload (FTP) Files. >>


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