If you are going to hire outside help to build your website for you, the planning stage is probably the most important part of the entire process. That’s because planning is when all the important, global decisions are made.
Even before you bring in anybody to help you build your website, you need to make the big decisions about what should or shouldn’t be included in the site, because modifying your concept later could be a relatively expensive proposition. Once the framework of the site is built, it is more difficult to add new features or alter the overall structure.
So first, you want to determine your core goals:
- What do you hope to achieve with this website?
- Who is your target audience?
- How will you know when you have achieved these objectives?
Also before you bring anybody else on board, you need a firm understanding of the exact results you want your website to produce. As you move through the website creation process, this vision will remind you of what you wanted to accomplish in the first place.
Although there will be many things that will change during the creation process – like specific design features, different applications, and your unique content – your core goals will remain constant.
Building Your Team
You are going to make the global decisions and direct your managers to implement these into action. As the head of your business, you are going to have a lot of issues that you need to resolve.
Usually, you won’t have time to deal with the thousands of details involved in your website’s creation. So you are going to need help.
Once you have settled on your website’s global core goals, it’s time to find somebody to manage your website creation for you. This project manager will then report back to you regularly with developments so you can make the biggest decisions.
It’s best to find somebody with a lot of technical experience so they can easily communicate your vision to the web designers, developers, and programmers who will actually be building your site.
Following Your Lead
The project manager will use the core goals you identified to create the first important document: the project charter. This is a concise and nontechnical document that will guide the process of creating your website.
The project charter will include critical information about goals, target audience, feature requests, and any other important information to develop your site. It’s different than your core goals in that the project charter is a constantly changing document. That’s because experienced collaborators will be offering their suggestions and ideas about how to effectively turn your ideas into reality.
Other Important Blueprint Documents
Once you approve the project charter, your project manager can meet with web designers and developers to produce blueprints for each page.
In website creation, these blueprints are known as “wireframes,” and they include such things as diagrams of complex web applications, or workflows, and technical specifications that can guide your web development team.
The next document to consider is the site map. This defines how users will navigate your website. It includes such things as a list of pages within the site, links, and a hierarchy of page organization.
Once these blueprint documents are completed, the project manager can then work with the technicians to begin building the first prototype of your website for your approval.