Planning your website structure and content from the initial desire to the final outcome.

Planning your website

     Further important hints here

Develop the idea

Develop your web theme - What is the site about? Is the market covered? What are others doing on your theme?

Check out other websites that have similar themes. What are they doing that is good or bad? Steal their best ideas and incorporate them into your own.

 

Define your audience - who is the site for?  What do they want to see?

Can you make it pay its way? You may be able to recoup your expenses from advertising such as on this page. Are you selling a product? Don't underestimate the power of the internet at finding an audience for anything obscure. 

Design the site

Think of your colors - choose 3 complementary colors to use - this may evolve over time. If in doubt pick colors from your logo, your images, or use light greys, light blues, and white.  Check out the color chart for help

Use the internet resources in Web Design links to help in designing. The internet is your greatest resource for help and assistance.

Sketch out the main pages on A4 paper to get a feeling of what it will look like.

Choose simple fonts. This page is written in Arial 12pt. headings in Arial 14pt.

Use tables as the structure to hold your site (until you learn CSS). Make a heading table  then leave a space before making another table to hold some body text. Groups of tables with spaces between make the loading easier.

 

Title

 

 Body 
 

main text here

 
   

 

Bottom

 

Use heading tags when planning your headings. Headings H1 and H2 are indexed, and considered more important in some search engines.

Make your headings small descriptive phrases not single words.

Use the Website design hints as a guide

Get a host

Find a hosting company, free can be a good start until you are sure you want to carry on. It means you can take your time developing your site. Find some free hosts here

A good site discussing web hosting and similar issues is this.

For a successful site you need paid hosting with a domain name eventually.

Search engines don't like free sites and some won't index them. Contact me for the hosting provider I use if you wish.

By a domain name immediately if you are certain of your calling. They disappear fast. I recommend Registryweb.com, but there are many around.

Get it on the net

Get an FTP program to move the site onto your host. WS_ftplite is free and good.

Place a counter on the site to track visitors Find some here. Don't put your counter inside a table, it will slow down the loading of the table. Use a counter that does not show the count publicly. If you site is successful you don't need to advertise it, if its not you don't want to advertise it :-) I like this counter from webtrendslive.com

Check that other browsers can see it easily - Netscape, Opera, Firefox, etc

Get others to critique it  - Gethighforums.com is a good site. This one is great as well

Take your time to get it right, time spent here is made up later. Fiddle, fiddle fiddle.

Develop your metatags

THINK... What will people type into a web browser to find my website?

Use Jimtools.com to find what people are typing in, in his keywords section.

Find your opposition sites - the successful ones - and go View/Source to see what their keywords are.

Take some of these key words and rewrite your main page including them at least once

Take those keywords and also put them in your keyword metatags - all keywords must be in the body as well .

Write your description metatags - using a short description of around 15 words describing concisely your site.

Write your metatags with care, they will affect you for at least 6 months. Your keywords are are the words that people will type into the search engines to find your topic.

Get known on the net

Submit to search engines by hand. Use the search engine sub section at the bottom of the search page

Submit your site to message boards and newsgroups that have a similar theme. Be nice and write in your website in a non advertising, non offensive manner.

Advertise everywhere you can.

Maintenance activities

Add new content weekly

Follow your stats to see what you are doing right

Get feedback, help, suggestions from anyone. Don't be proud to make changes that make your site easier to use.

Get interactive, create a message board, for feedback and new information

Web Design pages

Search engine optimization
Website optimization example
Buying a website
Website plan
Web Design links
Webpage design hints
Affiliates and advertising
How to lose visitors
Search engine tools
Search engines
HTML Color Codes
Web Tools
Internet Tools
Addons for your website
Creating a page in Cascading Style Sheets
Why Google hates you