Why How What

Make sure you are ready and know what you need. Here is a guide to help you prepare yourself before you start building your website.
Ask yourself these simple questions to picture the WHY the HOW and the WHAT.
Most of them can seem obvious but clarifying it help you get ready and take the right decisions. On a conceptual level and on a technical level, you need to define clearly what you need to do and what is realistic according to the budget and time you can allocate to it. Although, the list is not exhausive, it will help you prepare your website building project.


A. WHY do you need a website?

eshop

What do you expect to achieve with your site?

That sounds simple. You need a website! But here is the thing, you can do many things with a website. And according to what you actually NEED, the concept and realization will not necessarily be the same.

  • What will you do with your website?:
    • Will you sell? If you plan on getting customers or sales straight from your website, you need to think carefully. A restaurant might want an online booking option, a dental clinic might want to offer to book an appointment through the website. These are specifications you need to think about from the early stages. If you plan on opening an online shop, you might need a system to easily update your prices, manage your stock, and secure your payment.
      Some templates are designed for eshops and include management system. Think about it from stage 1.

Questions
  • Will you blog? A great option for blogger is Wordpress.
  • Will you share your pictures or portfolios?
  • Who will be your audience? What is your audience expecting to find?
    Understanding who you are writing for and what they expect to read will help you define your content, the website structure and the design to choose.
  • How many times will I update my website? (hourly, daily, weekly, monthly)
    This is crucial to know if you need to change your website and add or remove pages on a regularly base For example, if you plan on getting your website done by a professional, you have to be sure that you will be able to modify it when you want and as much as you want On the other hand, if you need a website that is not supposed to change for some time, this parameter is not a problem.
  • Will my website contain mainly text or images or both?
    In the case you opt for a website template, some have ready-made galleries to allow you to upload them very easily. If you plan on adding text mainly, the galleries are less important.
  • Do I want interactions (social buttons, a forum, forms, maps...).
  • Responsive Web Design
    Some buttons or forms require some special codes and if you need them make sure you will have the option to do so with ease. If you hire a developper that won't be a problem but if you choose an online design, check in advance that the editor has these abilities.
  • Do I expect a lot of visitors from mobile devices?
    We use our smartphones more and more to crawl the web. We look for a restaurant from the parking lot, or for a plumbing company from the kitchen. It might be a deal breaker if your website is not adapted to mobile screens. Especially, if you have a local business, you want your website to look very nice and easy to navigate from a cellphone, so your visitors can access your contact page and a map without zooming and struggling on a page that is not mobile-friendly.
    Look for a responsive design or have a desktop AND a mobile version of it.
  • Define your needs from the beguining to find the best solution. Nothing is worse than realizing half-way that we have been working for nothing.


    B. WHAT will you build?

    website structure

    How many web pages do you need?

    In some cases, it is simple. Some companies only need an online business card with name contact and a brief description of the company and the product or services they offer. Here a one pager can be enough and it can be published very quickly.
    If your website is a marketing tool and you plan on using it as an online brocuhure or leaftlet, with more details about your range of products, references on past projects, your partners, testimonials or other details, you need to sit down and start writing the skeleton, the structure you want to get for your website, to be professional and efficient.
    Don’t forget, 2 heads are better than one! Don’t be shy and ask friends or colleagues.

    Which domain name (the web address) will you use?

    Do you care about a domain name or can you manage with a subdomain ?(e.g.: yourwebsite.provider.com instead of www.yourname.com)
    Do you need a domain name reflecting your activity (e.g. www.nycpizza.com) or do you need your brand to be the domain? (e.g. www.dominos.com)
    Both are selling pizzas but in one case the business is clarified in the domain and the other is a well known brand. The first option might be wise for a local business. Especially since you want your customers to easily memorize your web address. Use your brand if branding is crucial for you and if you will invest on it (for example for a designer or a eshop). For SEO purposes, having your business category in your domain name is a plus. It helps Google understanding what your website is about.

    domain names

    C. HOW will you build your site?

    .html

    5. What are your skills?

    If you understand HTML, CSS, SEO, domain registering and hosting, you can opt for a Do-It-Yourself-Solution.
    Otherwise, if you are not familiar with coding and don't have time or energy to get into it, you might need a turnkey solution.
    In that case, depending on your budget, you have different options, which leads us to the next question.

    Time is Money

    How much time can you allocate to build your website?

    Like in every project, planning is very important. You need to know how much time you are able to spend on creating your site. Motivation is another parameter to be considered. If you want to spend time on it and you are excited by the project it is a different situation than if you need a website urgently and kept on postponing it for the past months! Keep in mind that Time = Money.
    Be realistic, define a deadline to yourself and stick to it!

    What is your budget to create a website?

    There is a range of solutions according to your budget:
    You want your website to be totally free:

    • Then you can write it, it requires coding skills but you will have to pay for a web hosting and buy your domain name.
    • If you don’t have webmastering skills, you can use a free website builder. They include hosting and provide free sub domains (e.g. wix.pizzanyc.com). You will then chose a free template and modify it online with a drag-and-drop editor.
    You have a limited budget of a few dollars per month:
    • If you need a professional website with your own domain name, but have no coding skills and a limited budget, you can also use a website builder and get a premium account. You will enjoy the same editor but you will have no ads on your web pages and you will get your unique domain name. Premium account starts from 4$.
    You have a budget for a professional website:
    • For few hundred of dollars you can hire a webmaster and describe what you want and how you want your website to look. Keep in mind though that hosting and domain name will be added to the budget and that you might need help everytime you will update or modify something on your web pages.
    As a conclusion, Plan before Act! And now, good luck and have great success with your online adventure!

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