Your website: where to start?

Could you use some help getting started figuring out what you your site should or shouldn’t have? Here are a few things to think about that may help you refine your needs.

Look and feel

What are some websites that you like and why do you like them? Is it just the look or colors? Is it features? Try to list things you like or find things common to the sites that attract you.

What is the purpose of your website? What message are you trying to convey about yourself or your company?

What are the main sections of your site? Or if it is a static site, what are the page names? Some common pages are: Home, About, Contact, FAQ, Services, Products, Photos, News, Links.

Your involvement

How technical are you, part 1. Do you have the time and desire to learn how to use a CMS? Just adding a blog post can be very easy, but learning to do much more than that will probably take some effort on your part.

How technical are you, part 2. You really, really want your site to act just like that cool site at ReallyFlashyWebsite.com because it’s so very cool. Be open to learning some technology if we tell you that doing something like that is going to get expensive or take a long time.

How many updates will you really do? Some people think they want a blog so they can add new information all the time. But if you can’t think of what you could add at least every other day, you probably don’t want one. Nothing makes a site look stale more than a blog that hasn’t had anything added in the last year.

Which features

Separate what you need from what you want. Don’t add something just because it looks cool unless it won’t cost you any time or money.

Some people have a list of buzz words that they want included in thier website because they read them or someone told them that they should have them. If you don’t know what the words mean, ask us before insisting on having them added features. The item might be something standard that is always included, it might be a minor addition, or it might cause your costs to go up because it will cause more work. Some things may be impossible to do — perhaps one requirement conflicts with another.

If you think you want a fancy Flash introduction, first ask yourself what you do when you find a website that has one. The answer is that you probably try to find a way to skip it and get to the information on the site that you are looking for. Those introductory pages are rarely a good idea.

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