Step 1 – Plan Your Website

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To plan your Website: Identify your intended audience; define the purpose of your site; create a draft for each Web page; specify your start date and update frequency; and select a host.
See an example plan: 1st Site Free Website Plan.
Outputs from this step should be your Website Plan including: 1) your intended audience (their background, interests, skills, and knowledge); 2) the purpose of your site; 3) text for each Web page; 4) desired start date and update frequency; and 5) your hosting service and URL (Web address) of your site.

Can you copy and paste?

Before you begin planning your Website, do you know how to cut and paste (copy and paste)? If not, – visit cut_paste first.

How to develop your Website plan

A plan is the method used to obtain specific results. To develop a plan for your Website create a word processing document and answer the following questions:

Who? Define your target audience. Picture yourself in their shoes. What would you like? Now, write down your intended audience their background, interests, skills and knowledge. Still aren’t sure? Visit About.com A network of sites where visitors can find many targeted topic areas, each one managed by a personal guide. Then:

  • Check out similar sites and see how they appeal to their target audience.
  • What are they doing right?
  • How can you improve the site(s) you like?

What? What are you going to say? Content is the hardest, most time-consuming part of any Website development project. Here are some tips to help get you started:

  • List the information you currently have. For example photos, brochures, company logo and written materials.
  • Make a detailed outline of additional information you need to obtain.
  • Once you know where you are short on content, concentrate on those deficits and avoid wasting time on information you already know.
  • Do your research before you write, visit my Website research links.
  • Open Notepad and write the text you want to appear in each of your Web pages. Save these files with an extension of .txt. Don’t know how to use Notepad?

When? When do you want to start your site? How often do you plan on updating your site? A poll conducted last year at 1st Site Free, “ How often do you plan to update your site? Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, never or don’t know.“, revealed the following results:

Frequency Percent
Daily 15%
Weekly 45%
Monthly 21%
Quarterly 2%
Yearly 1%
Never 1%
Don’t Know 11%

Where? Where are you going to put your site (host it)? Choosing the right hosting service depends on your individual requirements. Before you sign-up for any hosting service (free or commercial), make sure you can get the features you need.

  • Free hosting service? These sites will host your Website for free. Some allow you to host your business or non-profit organization, some host only personal Websites. With over 50 sites listed you should be able to find one that meets your requirements. Three new hosts added.
  • Your existing Internet service provider (ISP)? If you have an existing Internet account chances are your ISP will provide you free Web space and allow you to create a personal Website. But, if you want to create a site for your business you will have to pay your ISP to host it.
  • Commercial hosting service? Commercial Web space providers are plentiful – but, they are not free. There are hundreds of hosting companies to choose from. You have to be careful whom you select to host your Website. If you are considering a commercial hosting service for your business site, read my tutorial How to Select A Hosting Service. It could save you a few bucks!

Why? Why are you developing a Website? Here are some examples: Create a Web presence for your business? Sell your products? Keep your friends and family informed? Document your travels? Seek interaction with other people with your interests? Help others?

How? We will discuss this during Design (Step 2).

Develop your Website Plan. Using the above guidance, develop your Plan for your site. When you are complete, store your Website Plan in a folder on your PC called “My Website Plan”. Print your Website Plan to help guide you through the remaining 6 Steps.

Your Website Plan is dynamic. It should be updated as you learn more information about the above five questions. Complete the Design, Code, Upload, Test, Promote and Maintain Steps of this Tutorial. Receive feedback from your readers; change your focus and/or technology changes.

Design Step. O. K. let’s go to Design.

Do You Need Help? Don’t be shy, if you have questions or need help creating your Website, just ask me. I work cheap — free. The only dumb question is the one not asked!

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