I want a website... so what's next?
Posted on 11/18/2009 at 11:15 PM
Have you decided that you want a website but are not really sure of the next steps? Here is a quick checklist to get you started.
1. Think about a budget
One way to get started with a budget is to think about short term and long term strategy for creating an online presence. The majority of websites will usually cost anywhere from $500 to several thousand dollars depending on the number of web pages and complexity of the application (e.g. static vs. dynamic, database required, custom scripts, APIs, etc.). Very large implementations involving e-commerce, transaction processing, and rich, interactive features can even span to the triple digits. Having a high level idea of how much money you are willing to initially invest (vs. longer term goals) for a website or software solution will help gauge the necessary next steps for project initiation.
2. Look at a few competitors' websites
It is generally a good idea to use a search engine such as Google or Bing and search for websites of similar businesses or organizations. For instance, a new seafood restaurant in Baltimore Maryland could quickly locate local competitors' websites by simply searching on Google with the keywords "seafood restaurant baltimore md". Assessing the strengths and shortcomings of a few competitors' sites can greatly aid in developing a vision for your website. When exploring the sites, think about the following: What information do these websites provide (e.g. menus, directions, events, history, about the company, contact, products, services, pictures, feedback areas, etc.)? What do you like about the sites (e.g. good information, easy to find, special features, etc.)? What does not work so well (e.g. too clutterd, too many ads, never gets to the point, etc.)?
3. Begin to assemble content
Start to gather photos, videos, and text that you might like to post on your website. Taking the time to assemble draft copy and gather photos upfront will immensely save time and effort during later stages of a web design project. Gathering and thinking about potential content will also assist in ease of determining the required number of web pages and site architecture.
4. Get Started!
Diligent thinking and planning are required to get a project underway; however, too much planning and anticipation can procrastinate the actual start of a project and can sometimes lead to no start at all. In life, dreams and aspirations sometimes go unfilled simply due to a lack of pursuing the necessary endeavors. The truth is: those who chase a dream are much more likely to catch it. So get started today and morph your concept into reality!