Planning Your Website

Planning is the most important stage of web design, and it will save you a lot of re-creating and reformatting your website later. Planning your website is about imagining what information you want on your site and how your visitors find it.

Before you choose a template or theme as a basis for your website, you need to ask yourself some important questions:

What do you want the site to do and have?

First list features you want (like a map or contact form) into "Must Have", "Like To Have", and "Would Be Nice" categories. Knowing what information you want will help you determine how many pages you need.

How many pages do you need?

You will likely want Home, About, Contact, Services, and sometimes Blog pages to make information about you easy to find on your site. This is when you decide which pages to place the features you planned in step 1.

Will you have an online store?

If so, you'll need to build your site with software that allows for shopping carts and product pages. Many popular software choices offer this, like WooCommerce for WordPress.

Where will the pictures on your site come from?

Photographs can make or break a website. If you don't take the pictures yourself, use photos that you either buy the license for or use free Creative Commons photos. A single unlicensed use of a photo can cost thousands, so be very careful.

What content do you want?

Now to write what each page will say. This step is where projects derail. There are guides for writing websites, but remember to consider “would I actually enjoy reading this” to help keep readers engaged.

Now that you know what features, how many pages, and the media types you want to incorporate, you can start looking at which website builder software would be a good fit for your plans: