Planning a Web Site by Amrit Hallan

Have you ever wondered why some web sites look like the marvels of creativity and some look like specifically created to confound visitors? Ideally, no individuals make a web site to inconvenience their visitor but end up doing so because no serious thought is put into the planning face.

Your web site on the Net is your virtual office – it represents you on the Information Superhighway, where the traffic moves at a lightening speed, and within a couple of seconds a particular website has to catch the fancy of the surfer. And since there are thousands of choices for a surfer, he/she just has to click the mouse button to move to the next web site.

Frankly, I would never like to address the casual future webmaster. I assume if you are reading this article, you mean business, you mean to do business from your web site. It’s like your real-world office. Wouldn’t you spend time on planning and designing of your brick and mortar office? People even hire outside interior designers to come up with a quality office.

Same applies to your virtual office. People are going to come, if they like the surrounding, they’ll linger on, and if they appreciate what you are trying to convey, they would preferably like to do business with you. If you plan to do business, your virtual office is as important as your real-world office, more if you want to attract the international clientele.

You cannot design a web site in an atmosphere of isolation, or as a le Castaway. Talk to people around you, talk to your friends, ask them what’s their experience on the Net, what sort of designs they like or dislike. So what are the factors you should take into consideration while laying out your plan?

Start from the end result.

1. What do you want out of your web site?
2. What type of visitors do you have in mind?
3. Is your web site going to be theme based?
4. What should be their action and reaction once they arrive at your site?
5. What’s going to be the background of your target visitor?
6. What hardware are they going to use while accessing your website?
7. By the end of 4 months, what should you have achieved?
8. What’s your technical expertise, and do you have time to learn something new?

Two things are of primal importance – content, and how easy it is to reach that content. If you want people to buy from your site, don’t play with them the “Treasure Hunt” game. Everything should be there within the reach of a single click. If you want your visitor to access a particular section, the link to that section should be visible as soon as the first page, or for that matter, any page of your web site comes up. You should know what sort of people are going to visit your site; who are your target, and what are their behavioral patterns. If you can manage, design your site according to the minimum software/hardware profile so that most people can access your site.

Having a long-term plan pays well. Especially if getting into Yahoo! is a bog thing for you. The Yahoo! Guys don’t include a site again and again. Some people design same pages differently for different search engines, but as a beginner, it’ll only create obfuscation. Just create an elementary, user-friendly, easily navigable site, put in lots meaningful content, and submit it manually to the main search engines.

You can get a list of submission links at http://www.bytesworth.com/submit_urls.asp . Some of the links might have changed, but they were working when I was updating the page. For a comprehensive list of guidelines on how you should be designing a web site for maximum usability, pay a visit to http://www.w3c.org.

Copyright ©2001 Amrit Hallan. Amrit Hallan is a freelance web designer. For all web site development and web promotion needs, you can get in touch with him at amrit@bytesworth.com or http://www.bytesworth.com . For more such articles, visit http://www.bytesworth.com/articles . You can subscribe to his newsletter [BYTESWORTH REACHOUT] on Web Designing Tips & Tricks by sending a blank email at bytesworth-subscribe@topica.com

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