Whether you are planning to
launch a new web site or re-designing an existing one, start
a brain storm session; Allocate Resources, Define
Objectives, Identify Your Audience, Define Site Structure,
Create Content and Establish Timeline
What are the specific short-term goals for the web site?
List specific long-term goals for the web site (in the first
1 to 3 years). List the major purposes for the web site, the
reasons for building one (in order of importance, i.e. name
branding, e-commerce, because that's what everyone else is
How often during the year do you anticipate updates to
the web site?
What types of information will be updated? Employment opportunities,
monthly specials, contests, new products, updated news all
should be updated periodically. The less frequent a site will
be updated, the more general a site should be.
Determine audience demographics.
Who you want to reach and how this will be accomplished. Be
as specific as possible (age range, profession, interests,
etc.) In order for your site to appeal to your primary audience,
what style or "voice" will you use (conservative,
hip and trendy, etc.)? Choose a primary color scheme for the
background, text and graphics. Be mindful of visitors with
poor eyesight or color blindness when choosing text, background
colors and graphics. Many of the most successful sites follow
a simple scheme such as this.
Choose types of web components to include other than still
photos and text.
E-commerce, affiliate programs,interactive images, Java
applets, back end database integration, survey forms, feedback
forms, opt-in newsletter management, referral forms, etc.).
List a series of web site URL's with designs or schemes that
appeal to you and give reasons why. Which of our portfolio
of sites is most appealing? List some of competitor web site
What is your budget for the completion of the web site
and yearly maintenance?
What is your budget for marketing the web site and how do
you intend to market both on and off the Internet? You should
conservatively plan for at least half of your budget to be
for marketing. Simply putting up a web site and submitting
to search engines is not marketing. It is only one small tactic
in an overall campaign.
Do you have any custom photography or image needs?
Still photography, product shots, stock photography or video?
Will you supply all of the images required or will the developer
be responsible for creating and acquiring images, graphics,
Targeting search engines.
Are there any search engines, directories or sites you would
like to submit to besides the industry standard top 10 that
are specific to your business or industry? (Local, regional,
state, federal, industry specific, international)
Do you need domain registration and/or an ISP to host the
What level of hosting will be required (this may need to be
determined during the design)? Do you need a higher end service?
Will you be hosting and managing your own web servers? Are
there any special needs or components required that are not
Describe your vision for this site?
How will visitors interact with it? Provide sketches,
other mockups or sample URL's if possible.
Return on Investment (ROI)
Define the criteria you will use to determine the web site's
success (i.e. Internet orders of a certain volume, web site
traffic of a certain volume (this should not be used as the
sole definition of success), X amount of sales as a percentage
of hits, decrease in customer service costs, increase in productivity).
There should be a traceable method to determine success.
If you do not already have a domain name (i.e. visionefx.net)
choose 5 names.
You're choices may already be taken. You can check www.networksolutions.com
or www.registry.com for availability. Consider registering
a few general and specific variations including .net and .org
domains. Your domain name should be easily identifiable, easy
to explain over the phone and print on a business card. Most
short names are usually taken; long names can be good if they
click in someone's mind.
Try out your ideas on several people. Test, test and test
Ask them in a few days if they remember how to spell it. Try
out the name on the phone to see if it is easily remembered
and spelled by others. Resorting to lengthy explanations or
spelling means problems. How long (in years) will your domain
be registered? List e-mail addresses you want associated with
your domain name (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,
List any problems experienced with your existing web site.
Poor performance, graphics, load time, design, etc. Should
you choose another web host?
Describe the navigation system of your typical page.
Typically major topics are in a horizontal graphic at the
top. Sub page menus are positioned on a vertical menu bar
on the left side. Typically there is a text-based trailer
navigation bar at the bottom of each page. If we are not creating
artwork for your site, please supply any artwork required
for creating graphic navigation bars.
Is the site dated (for a single event)? If so what is the
Write a 25 word description of your business to be displayed
and used in search engine submissions. Describe what your
business offers, to whom it if offered and a succinct reason
your business should be considered. Write a 50 word description
of your business to be displayed and used in search engine
submissions. Describe what your business offers, to whom it
if offered and a succinct reason your business should be considered.
Launching, testing and linking your web site.
Testing is typically done using the top 2 web browsers
(Internet Explorer and Netscape) for the Windows 98 and Mac
OS 9 operating systems. List other client platforms you would
require for testing and support. List any existing web sites
you want linked in your site. These should be sites that are
related to your site and not direct competitors. Sites should
by those whose services you use or that provide service or
information useful to your target audience. Sites that cross-link
with each other may increase both businesses targeted traffic.
Please list and gather any existing materials and information
(including but not limited to):
· Photos (prints, slides, negatives) / Text / Brochures
/ Business cards / Flyers / Product shots-samples / Press
releases / Price-part lists
· Frequently Asked Questions / Shipping and handling charges
policy / Guarantees
· True - believable testimonials
· Endorsements from known sources / Credits / Bios / History
/ Education / Certifications / Awards / Case studies / Photos
of yourself, staff and location / Photos of interest and entertainment
(historical images, projects in progress, events or celebrations)
· Transcripts of interviews / Industry recognition (Certifications,
Seals, Awards) Map and directions from major airports, recommended
places to stay nearby (if people visit your location) / Printer
friendly pages for maps, forms and articles.
· Power point presentations / Radio or TV jingle-SFX in audio
form / Video, digital animation or Flash animation files
What are all the different ways visitors can contact you?
For example, name, address, phone, fax, 1-800, e-mail addresses,
international offices. List hours of operation, time zone
(PST, EST) and days closed. List 30 words or phrases that
describe your business. Pick words/phrases relevant to your
business. List all keywords that would link search engines
to your web site. Phrases should be both specific and general.
Are you a local, regional, national or international business?
What areas do you want to specifically target?
List 6 to 8 major topics for your site.
(I.e. Products, Services, Information, How to Contact us,
Galleries, etc.). Base these topics on the visitor's view
of the division of information on your site. Major topics
will be broken into sub topics (i.e. Information may be broken
down into Links, Frequently Asked Questions, Tips, etc.).
From the list below, mark major sub-topics of interest. This
sample list can be reorganized as needed. Add topics relevant
to your site as needed. Too many choices is confusing. Trying
to scan major portal pages and choose from 100 links is time
consuming and confusing. 7 or 8 links is the maximum amount
a visitor should confront. A site with hundreds of pages can
easily be created using 7 or 8 general topics. Adding a few
additional general topics (e.g., "Information" or
"Products" will allow room for expansion under those
Splash pages / Home / Products and/or Services / Menus / Catalogs
(Static or Rich Media) / Prices / Testimonials / Purchasing
/ Shopping Cart / Downloadable Products Product Overview /
Specifications / Demos / Product Features & Benefits /
Warranty & Return Policy / Licensing / Customer Service
/ Training /Contracting & Consulting / Stock List / Capabilities
/ Portfolio / Parts List / Dealer List / Assembly Instructions
/ Schematics / Classified Ads / Credits / Samples / Tear sheets
/ Resume / Bookstore / Competitive Matrix / Contact Us / Jobs
/ Overview / Job Postings / Recruiting / Resume Submissions
/ Benefits /Customer Login / Database Searching / Information
/ Links / About Us / Reviews / Credits / Copyrights / Privacy
Policy / Our Team / Case Studies / Awards / News and Events
/ Newsletter / Press Releases / Media Coverage / Frequently
Asked Questions / Alliance Partners / Legal Notices / About
our Industry / Glossary of Terms · Regional Information /
Tech Notes / Tips and Tricks / Interesting Facts / Articles
/ Who's Who / Site Map / Help / Site Quick Guide / Galleries
/ Intranet / Human Resources / Document Storage / Internal
News / Finance / Project Tracking / Web site reports / Free
Stuff / Downloadable Screen savers / Utilities / Computer
Wallpaper / Contests / Brochures / Power point Presentations
/ White paper / PDF / Software downloads / Audio Samplings
/ Video and Flash Presentations / Calculators
If you currently have a web site, how many visitors do
you receive each month?
What is the expectation for future traffic and is there a
plan and a budget for scaling the web hosting if traffic increases
beyond its capabilities? Will you have the capability to handle
increased monthly costs for service? Have you planned and
accounted for possible additional costs?
What is your current level of on-line business and what are
the expectations for future on-line sales? List other contacts
to interview regarding the design of the site. What positions
of responsibility do they hold?
How does your business and products benefit your target
Please specify a clear list of bullet items of benefits. What
can your business offer your visitors, what's in it for them,
how can you help them? What problems do your prospects have
that your business solves? List features of your products
and/or services? Please specify a clear list of bullet items.
What does your company do? Who do you do it for?
Is interfacing with other systems (both on-line and off-line)
Complicated interface requirements will require detailed process
and analysis. Describe the systems you will require.
What requirements are needed when using development tools
to create your web site and interfaces?
Are there any compatibility issues? For example, can it be
developed with Macromedia Dreamweaver or Microsoft Front Page?
List any requirements for the host platform and cross compatibility
(NT or Unix)? List requirements to support types of web pages.
For example, static web pages, Active Server Pages or dynamically
generated CGI pages?
Who will maintain the site?
If another business will do site maintenance, will they
have the skills and tools to support it? Will training be
How will on-line and off-line orders be managed if your site
is an e-commerce site? Are the ordering systems able to generate
unique distinguishable order numbers? Do you require an all
web-based order system that integrates both on-line and off-line
How can you ensure information downloaded from web sites
against hardware failure?
Information gathered should reside in multiple places. Opt-in
lists, affiliate data, order data, etc. from the web site
needs to be backed up periodically and stored off-site. Copy
files to a disk or CD-ROM and put it in a safe deposit box.
Will you need a backup system to ensure safety of downloaded
information? What are the needs your business satisfies for
your customers? What words or images will impart those needs?
It is important to paint a mental picture for customers using
words, colors and images. What analogies can be used to explain
offers in simple, understandable terms?
What process will be used to integrate the web site into
the business on a daily, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis?
Who will manage each aspect of the web site once it is complete
(i.e. e-mail management, system maintenance, new content,
testing forms periodically, marketing, etc.)? What security
is required for the web site - Is protection of sensitive
files an issue (order data, back end database access, etc.)?
Do back end computers access the Internet through permanent
connections? Are personal computer hard drives password protected
or behind a firewall?