So, you've decided to establish your very own Internet presence, and are ready to start working on your site. Before you start writing lines of HTML code, or dragging and dropping your images and text boxes, however, read through our HostSearch Site Planning Tips, and save yourself the headache of trying to go back and fix problems with your site after it is finished.
Create a Site Plan Before You Start Work on Your Site
If you were going to build a house, and had all the necessary materials laid out before you but had no plans, would you start building? Probably not. The same rule goes for web site building. Before you sit down at your computer and start carving out the look and feel of your new web project, make sure to sit down and draw out a plan for how your site is to function, which pages will link to other pages, and how you want it to look in general. By planning out your site ahead of time you will avoid making mistakes that could be difficult to correct once the site is completed.
In order to ensure that you plan your site correctly, the first thing you must do is decide what type of site you plan to create. Generally speaking web sites can be divided into two major groups, style-based web sites, and information-based web sites, both of which will be discussed in detail below.
Style-Based Web Sites
Style-Based Web Sites are sites where users go to see something new or interesting, have fun, or learn something they didn't know before. Web sites that could be classified as style-based web sites include personal home pages and small business sites, among others. For style-based sites, site design is of the utmost importance, and may actually be more important than the written content. If you plan on creating a style-based website, you may want to try experimenting with unconventional design methods, to give your site a one-of-a-kind look.
Information-Based Web Sites
While the main function of some web sites may be entertaining users, there are a large number of sites designed specifically to provide users with large quantities of information. Information based web sites include large sites like msn.com, as well as most e-commerce sites such as amazon.com. The goal of these information-based sites is to allow users to search for and locate the information they desire in the quickest and most convenient manner possible. In order to achieve this goal, information-based sites are typically laid out in a very straightforward manner, with minimal design.
Although your site may not fit neatly into either of these two general categories, it is extremely important for you to think about what type of mixture of form and function your site requires and then plan accordingly. This will allow you to ensure that your site will feature important information, while providing the user with an appropriate interface.