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Designing a website

Step 1 - Planning your site

The fundamental product plan

The product plan is extremely important for a website to emerge successful. It’s written prior to beginning the project and is revised with the course of time. It frames the essential purpose of the site, particular aspects and important goals. This helps you to know what you have achieved by the end of the day.

Various projects require various degrees of specific aspects. Hence it entirely depends on you whether your strategy takes five minutes or five months. However, never begin work in the absence of it.

  1. Name:

Your site will require a name and a domain name (for ideal purposes, these should be the same). Never postpone this to the last minute. Think about names quite early in the process of development and ensure the require names are at your disposal.

Selecting a name is not as easy as it appears. It’s an innovative confrontation to find a name for a product or an organization. However, the internet has its own puzzling determinants.

Things to consider while choosing a name:

  • Clearness-More than any other media or sector, when it comes to the internet, it’s excellent idea for the name to shed some light on the site.

  • Legitimacy-The web witness businesses from all kinds of sectors and locality competing against each other. This indicates that domain names are few and an abundant number of lawsuits. Ensure to scrutinize any potential cases of violation on the trademark before you settle for the name.

  • Availability factor-It may so happen that you come up with the ideal name for your site only to discover that it has been taken by a group or an organization in another nation focusing on an entirely different subject. The reality is such. You’ll find it difficult to come up with a domain name forthright and you may have to opt for your fourth or fifth alternative.

  1. Mission and objectives:

Mission statement-What is the major concept? The intention of your site or any added feature has to be put forward in a clear and concise fashion. What is the purpose and whom is it for? How is it different from other sites that appear similar?

Established objectives-It’s crucial to come up with particular, fathomable and achievable objectives for your enterprise along with the stated mission before you start work. The project team can use this list as a reference as the project progresses to ensure all the decisions back the strategic objectives.

The objectives may include the following:

  • Growing revenue

  • Decreasing expenses

  • Pulling in and maintaining more visitors

  • Enhancing the profile of the firm

Established objectives are mandatory for all kinds of projects including the redesigns or the new aspects that can do without a conventional mission statement.

  1. Target Audience

Define your target audience while being particular. Your site is not meant for everyone. It’s important to know whom you are focusing on and create your site keeping that thing in mind.

 

Some ways by which you can define your visitors-

 

  • Demographics-Nationality, age, sex, occupation, educational qualifications, salary etc

  • Psychographics-Mental outlook, inclination and inspiration for going for your product

  • Webographics-Span of time on the internet, frequency of use of internet, access point, connection speed, kind of computer and browser.

  • Conduct and actions-in some cases an excellent way to define users of a site is by what they do and not their identity. For instance, if you’re developing a game site then a major way to describe your audience is by stating that they are game players. Age, sex and operating system are comparatively unimportant.

  • Definite site experience-There are sites that require more important details about their users, which is particular to their site or firm. For example, a bicycle firm will have to ponder on what kind of cyclists they are focusing on: Obstinate single track mountain bikers or parents who require suggestion on training wheels?

 

Size: Determine the overall size of your target audience and the percentage of people you wish to tap. The estimate you make should be based on the superior and exact numbers that are available. If you cannot come up with an estimate with the numbers available, then simply go for a guess. The best guess you make is always better than nothing at all.

  1. The arrangement of the traffic:

What’s the way individuals will utilize your site? How often will they visit and for what length of time will they remain there? How will they discover you and how will they recapitulate to return again? This type of superior examination will assist you to come up with determinable estimation of traffic.

 

The excellent method to figure out the usage arrangement is to divide your audience into many groups which according to you will behave in a different manner. You can divide them by requirement (What’s the reason for them to visit your site?), level of experience (New to the internet? New to your website or product?), or connection (How did they discover you?).

 

Define each division of the audience by the following methods:

 

  • Inspiration-What exactly are they seeking?

  • Point of entry-How did they discover you? Will they make an entry to your site via the home page or a link to a page within?

  • Usage of site-What portion of the site will they use?

  • Frequency of visits-How often will they visit your site

  • Page views for a single visit-For how long will they be there?

 

With the help of the usage arrangement of your various divisions of your audience (and the size of each group) you can perhaps have an idea of your traffic levels. Keep in mind that this isn’t an accurate estimation. Hence a few loopholes in your research are perfect. The main intention is have you write down your best estimation. This will help you to plan out in a suitable manner.

  1. Model of the revenue

How will your site pull in revenue? You are recommended to initiate with the clearest strategy (for example, you can provide leads for your present business). However, take into consideration the wide range of alternatives that are functioning on the internet at present. Some of the vibrant business models are established on multiple branches of revenue, which have been created with the passage of time.

 

Five revenue models that function on the web:

 

  • Production of leads for a present business

  • Advertising

  • Sales of product

  • Subscriptions and user charges

  • Match making

 

Be particular just like in the other divisions. For instance, if you think of pulling in the funds through advertising make sure that you include the estimations, the capacity and the arrangement of ad banners on your site. Ensure that you include your inferences on crucial changeable items like expenses rendered on advertising, sales per customer and the sign up tempo. Your entire projections will be affected when even a single variable alters.

  1. Characteristic set

Elucidate your site in brief with respect to the matter, services offered and its usefulness. What are the essential features that create the entire experience and how will each element fit together? Which aspects are crucial for the success of the site? Which elements can be gradually introduced with the passage of time.

 

Create a list of the different features of your site. It has to include the following:

 

  • Central service, matter or usefulness. Product database, search engine, news articles and many more

  • Content regions. Will they be revised? If yes, then how often?

  • Content feeds. Stock quotes, news headlines, weather etc

  • Customized aspects. Suggestions, customized pages etc

  • Associated links. Within your site or to some other site. Will these be mechanical or can they be selected on an individual basis?

  • Ads. Quantity, class and arrangement

  • Site search. If required

  • Help section. If required

  • Archive. If required

  • More than one adaptation of site. For purposes of printing, emailing or transferring content to handheld computers

  • International adaptations. If required

  • Probable partners. Include a short list of any probable partners, which includes technology or provider of content in your product plan.

  • Details, details. In case you attach any kind of importance to documentation (in fact you should be), you can create this part with the passage of time to include an elaborate technical specification, design and editorial brief and site map. All of these can be include later.

  1. Competition

Write a short description giving a rundown of your competitive approach and include the following points:

 

  • A brief list of competitors with their names, URLs and parent firm.

  • The points where you would like to be different compared to the competitors.

  • Your ambitions and goals in relation to the competition (How much do you wish to succeed? How much of you competitors’ audience can you capture? Which divisions of your audience can your competitors rob?

Create a separate report to make a list of your competitors and define them. You can use this on the internet and put in more details. Include the following aspects:

  • Name of the site, URL and parent firm.

  • Characteristic list.

  • Model of the revenue (advertising, subscription etc)

  • An accurate size with respect to the visitors and/or pageviews.

  • Personalized rating stating if they are superior at what they do.

Analyze the points where your competitors are doing well and imitate them.

  1. Marketing strategy

How will you let the world know about your site? What type of financial plan have you attached to site promotions and what is the way in which this will be spent in the best interest?

 

The following points should be included in your marketing strategy:

 

  • Connecting programs for publicizing your site on various search engines, directories and sites that are associated to yours.

  • Email agendas for developing your relationship with the visitors to your site as well as engage new clients (in some instances).

  • Spoken communication programs. This will help you by allowing your present customers to introduce your site to others.

  • An online advertising financial plan. This way you can buy placement on important sites.

  • Cross media plans. By doing this you’ll be able to promote your site in the actual world.

 

9. Team

 

If you want your website to do well, it’s important to rope in an excellent producer or product manager. There has to be a single individual who will shoulder the responsibility of the progress of a project and will take crucial decisions. However, it’s also vital to ensure that all major disciplines are put into action right from the beginning.

 

You should at least identify the following:

 

  • Producer or project manager

  • Technical lead

  • Design lead

  • Production lead

 

It is very important to recognize the fundamental decision makers before you decide upon something and definitely before you start creating your website. In case a senior manger has the ability to flip over a decision, you need to communicate with her in the primary stages so as to stay away from any kind of work that goes wasted.

 

10 Schedule and financial plan

 

The success of a project can be at the least assessed by finishing the work on a time and a financial plan. Ensure to have an idea of your restrictions before you start working.

 

Financial plan: One should never downplay the value of a financial plan. Everyone derives pleasure in staying away from them. However, they form an important aspect for project management.

 

According to web expert, Dave Thau, who has authored the book “The Book of JavaScript”, having a financial plan is an excellent thing. He says that it sounds comical to have a budget and adds that a huge number of people don’t’ possess one. He further adds that in the absence of a budget the expenses will not be under your control and you’ll not know that you are losing control over it.

 

You may have a financial plan that has been dictated to you. However, you’ll not be able to have an idea of your expenses until you’ve taken a final decision on your feature set. (If you have no idea of what you are building, you’ll not know how much it’ll cost). To calculate, start with your expenses rendered on your staff, both while under construction and after the site is introduced. These include the projected salary of your staff, non-salary expenses, which includes consultant payments, licensing costs, special marketing or publicity (media purchases, trade shows and press tours) and the necessary travel expenses. Also, keep in mind the backend- you have to pay more for servers and bandwidths if your site becomes more intricate and gains in popularity.

 

Schedule: The financial plan for your project quite often decides upon the individuals and supplies that are available to you, which eventually will decide upon the time required for the completion of the project. Before you commence on your work, make a sketch of the milestones of your project with the estimated dates when they will be completed. Ensure that you include any dependent factors present in the schedule. (Often one step has to undergo conclusion before another one is started upon). Allocate some time for testing and QA. Also, try to be flexible with the schedule so that you can take care of the delays that are a necessary part.

 

11. Things to assume

 

What are the assumptions you are taking into consideration upon which your plan is based? Are you taking for granted the presence of a particular group of audience? Are you thinking that a special technology will function or move up to a larger audience? Are you of the view that your site will cater to a requirement that has never been met? Are any of these assumptions based on a strong base? What will create or destroy this product? Does it rely upon being first to the market? Does it rely on being cost-effective, rapid, or just superior to its competitors? Is it based on a special technology available, workable or something which can be scaled? Is it dependent on a particular individual? Is it dependent on global events or different trends of pop culture? Is it dependent on being viewed as something ‘cool’?

 

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