- Make sure you have a clear understanding of why you need the site. Without a clear vision at the outset your final site is unlikely to provide what you think you want. How will it help your business?
- Look at other sites for ideas and write down the key points that you want it to do.
- What would determine the success of the site? Is it about increasing sales? Is it about giving information? Do you expect it to streamline key business processes?
Who is your target audience?
- It is important to have a clear picture of who your target audience is before you start building the site.
How will you resource it, who is going to be responsible for setting up the site?
- Are you going to be the person who manages the construction of the web site on a day to day basis? Somebody will have to gather content, handle suppliers, consult with various departments and maybe even write the web pages. Be clear who is to do what.
- Where will you get important content such as maps for locations, pictures of products, electronic copies of documents etc?
Who is going to run the site?
- Once the site has been launched who is going to manage the site long term and update it? Who is going to market and promote your web presence? Who is going to deal with enquiries and sales from the site? This is often an area that is poorly considered and causes problems once the site goes live.
What is your budget for the site?
- Web designers are masters of illusion when it comes to cost and try to make it difficult to make comparisons â€" check to see exactly what is included.
- Don't forget that your budget will have to cover design, hosting, ongoing maintenance, as well as online marketing and promotion. What are the likely returns going to be in terms of increased profile, sales and donations?
What content do you want on the site and How is the site going to be structured?
- Donâ€™t re-invent the wheel here â€" make use of existing logos, colours, marketing materials and publications â€" but donâ€™t forget to modify the language for the web â€" Keep it simple!! People scan the web, they donâ€™t read it unless it triggers their interest.
- Content has to be much slicker, shorter and more direct.
- A website is about more than just content. What do you want it to be able to do? Do you want users to be able to email you? Should they be able to buy online or just search your catalogue? Do you want to provide interactive functions like message boards and chat rooms? Try and plan exactly what functional elements your site will contain.
- Most of these tools are included in your Plummo subscription, but donâ€™t forget to start simple and then expand the site as you become more confident.
- Map out how your site is to be organised, identifying which pages link to other pages. Be careful to consider what your site users want and make it easy for them to get it. Try to answer their questions and direct them to the write place quickly and easily. Plummo contains some useful industry specific templates to help you with this.
Are you going to build it in house, outsource it, or PLUMMO! it?
- If you decide you want to build your site internally are you sure that you have the capabilities to deliver all the functionality required?
- Are you confident that the site will look professional and won't undermine your brand?
- Do you have staff within the organisation with the time to work on this project?
- If you decide to outsource the project, who are you going to use? Can you afford them within your budget? Will they deliver and how much will maintenance charges be for small, regular change â€" what will happen if you want a site redesign?
- Plummo provides a great alternative click here to see why.
Does the site conform to design standards?
- There are some exacting standards for design and accessibility of web sites â€" this can be costly to build in and some web designers donâ€™t bother. With Plummo this is all taken care of.
Where are you going to host the site?
- How much does the hosting cost? Is the server reliable and secure? Do you get 24/7 support? Do they support the technologies you need? Do they provide traffic monitoring? How much space do they provide? How much bandwidth will they give you? With Plummo â€" all of this information is all simple, up front and one less thing to worry about.
How are you going to launch the site?
- Once you have finished the site how are you going to let people know about it? How will you contact existing clients â€" have you got their e-mail addresses? Donâ€™t forget to put the web address on all corporate materials, vans, pens, clothes and anywhere else you can think of. Will you do a media launch or a press release?
How are you going to get repeat visitors?
- Because users rarely make a purchase on their first visit to a website how are you going to ensure they will come back again? Do you have special offers for existing customers? Will you provide a free newsletter? What is it that makes your site interesting?