Taking the time to plan a website before plunging straight into coding is the opposite of wasting time. Planning may well be the hardest part of creating a site for most people. There are basic, and possibly tough, questions to answer. Being honest with yourself and figuring out what you want to accomplish, along with the steps it will take to get there, can mean the difference between success and failure.

Success is reaching your intended audience and building trust and credibility in your writings or products. For some people, success means generating income as well as having a good looking site that works. True, looks aren’t everything, but people are more likely to stick around longer if your site is easy to navigate and visually pleasing.

If you don’t have the skills to create and maintain a website or blog, there are lots of ways to learn how, with books, online courses, and experience. If you’d rather be doing something else, there are many qualified designers and developers who would love to create your website.

Planning doesn’t have to be complicated. Start by jotting down the answers to the most basic and important questions about your project:

  • What is the purpose of my website?
  • Who is my target audience?
  • How do I want visitors to navigate though my site? What navigational tools will I provide?
  • How will my audience find my site in search engines?
  • How will I add content that keeps visitors coming back?
  • What interactive features will be interesting and useful to my audience?
  • Am I passionate about my subject and committed to adding fresh content?
  • How will I improve my site and maintain it?

If you can answer these questions, you’re ready to think about purchasing a domain name, web hosting, design, layout, and colors. If you can’t, doing things bass ackwards will take longer and seem a lot harder. Take a little time to get a grip on goals and objectives. It will make setting tasks and completing them much easier.

Dilbert says it all…