Plan Your Business –
Design, Build and Publish a Website



You must plan your business to succeed online. Learn HTML or hire web designers to help you reach your goal.



As in any endeavor, you should understand your environment, plan your business and work the plan to succeed if you want to build a website.




Site Plan

Start with a plan, a Site Plan that is. Define a number of elements, such as:

  • what are you trying to accomplish,
  • who are your customers,
  • what is the content of the site,
  • how much money do you want to make,
  • what is your site design,
  • what will be your schedule.

It is best to put these thoughts down on paper, so you can review and revise until you are satisfied as you plan your business.


Plan and draw a Site Map

Start with a piece of paper and draw a box for your home page. Then below it place boxes for major area you want to cover under your topic. Draw lines to connect the home page to the major boxes. Create more boxes under each major area and connect the subtopics to the appropriate major area. Draw lines to connect any pages that need to link from one to another. As you plan your business, this will give you a good visual indication if you are covering all of the subjects you want in your website.


Determine the Look and Feel

The visual impact of your site is an important tool to capture your visitor. The color scheme and feel of the site sends a message to your visitor about who you are and what message you are trying to convey. You should spend time evaluating numerous alternatives to come up with the design that best suites your message. Be careful not to add to much flash, strong color and fancy technical options on your site, especially on the home page.

The home page is critical to your site. It is the building block from which you first capture your visitors then lead them to all of the great content that you have available. Work it hard to find the best one for you.



Learn HTML

It is best to research and learn at least the basic elements of HTML. Some web hosts provide processes and templates that reduce the amount of HTML expertise one must have to develop and publish a website. The more one understands how a page is developed and presented, the more options you have open to you to communicate your content. You can find many free classes online and numerous publications available for sale to learn HTML.


Design Software

Software is available for developing your own unique designs, if you do not want to use the basic template building block methods that are usually provided by many web hosts. There are many available in the market, but investigate and be sure to go with something reputable like Dreamweaver. Most are easily integrated into the packages of the web hosts.



Web Designers

You may want to hire a web designer to help you in your website. That can be a good approach as long as you fully evaluate the designer. There are many that want to help you. You can find assistance by checking out guru.com and elance.com. Define the job you want them to do and they will bid on providing their services to you. Friends and acquaintances are good sources for finding designers. They do not have to be the most experienced, but you should review the previous work of the web designers and understand what their technical capabilities are.


Publish

Once the design is set and content written, it is time to place the content into your design page and review for presentation. To then build a website, you should be able to click a button to “publish” the page to your website. Note that your material will not show up on the net until it is published. You can always go back to any page and revise it and publish the revised page again. The webmaster should always monitor the page content, revise and republish periodically to keep your website up to date.

One of the many important elements in page development is to ensure that you do not have any incomplete links on your site. That is, you should not have language on your site that says here is a link, but the link does not go anywhere. It just frustrates your visitors, so spend the time on detailed review of each of your pages.


Grow Over Time

It is important to start small and build a few pages. As you proceed, your confidence grows and you become more proficient. You should learn to add graphics, tables and video too, as they can help you tell your story in a manner that is pleasing to your visitor.



Plan your business, consider the overall design, cover the details, take your time to do it right and for the benefit of your visitor and you will benefit yourself too.


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