If you have never had a website before it can be difficult to know where to start. When I first meet a potential client I usually ask them the same questions:
- Why do you want a website?
- What do you want it to do?
- What is your budget?
- Who is your competition?
- Do you already have a brand style?
This helps to get a general picture of the requirements. It is useful to know if you are going to be selling directly from the website.
A sitemap or flat plan sometimes looks like a family tree it’s a list of the pages making up the structure of a website. Sitemaps are also used for search engines to index your site but that is something I am not going to cover in this article.
When designing a website I always start with a flat plan, it helps me to understand the hierarchy of the pages and organise the structure making it easier to negotiate the site. Even small sites need a site plan. Think about the kind of content that you want to add to each page, images, text or video. There should be a natural flow to the site allowing the viewer to easily navigate through the pages.
There is a theory that if the viewer has to click more than three times to get to the page they require, they will give up. There is an excellent book called “Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability” by Steve Krug which goes into many more details.
Once you have the basic structure you can decide which pages are of most importance and order them accordingly.
Of course, there is the hosting and domain name you need to organise too. There are many companies that provide domain name and hosting services and they all vary in quality of service and price. If you think you need telephone support look for a company that has a UK call centre. Most companies provide an email/support ticket help with a 24-hour response. Domain names cost between a few pounds to £10-£15 per year I would recommend you set up an automatic renewal just in case you forget to renew it and suddenly find you no longer have the right to use it. Hosting is usually shown as a monthly charge but in fact is normally charged annually and can be anything from £1.99 per month to £10 per month. You can always start with a basic packing and upgrade if you need to later. If you need more technical help speak to your website designer/developer.
Don’t panic if you change your mind about your domain name or you want a simpler one, you can always buy another one and set it up as a domain alias which will mirror the site you point it to. We also use letstalkdesign.co.uk!
- Site Plan
- Site Content (Images/Text)
- Brand Style (Colours/Fonts)
- Domain Name
- Domain Hosting
Get in contact if you would like our help with your site firstname.lastname@example.org.