Webmasterspot - Website creation and management
Exploring Web development and everything that goes together with trying to run a website!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Planning your website: Getting ideas

The planning phase is often one of the hardest. You need to consider the following:

What is this website going do be about?

Create a site about a topic you enjoy and which you are passionate about. If you know a lot about a certain topic, then you’ll enjoy creating content for the site. The more you know, the more you can write yourself. Paying content writers to write all your content for you could become very expensive in the long run. If you don’t get exclusive rights to the articles (which is normally much more expensive), then you could run into duplicate content problems later on.

Start out by creating a list of topics that interest you and about which you are knowledgeable. Search for those topics in search engines. See what sites are returned. Study how these sites look and what makes them successful or unsuccessful. Pay attention to the amount and the quality of the sites returned. If there are thousands of sites it might be hard to get your site noticed and your competition will be stiff. It might be necessary for you to break your ideas down into their core components e.g. instead of a general car site consider a site about “engine modification”

Keep searching and refining you ideas until you find a topic where you are sure you can provide a better service than your competitors and which is not over saturated with competitors. You now have your niche.

Once you have decided on a niche stick to it. There is nothing so confusing for visitors as a website that keeps jumping from one topic to the next. If you start a site about “cars” all your pages need to be about car-related topics. Don’t suddenly start mentioning and including pages about motorbikes. Remember - you can’t be everything to everyone. A site that’s dedicated to a single niche will be much easier to promote and will ultimately be more useful to your visitors.

Will people visit the site?

It’s no use finding a niche, developing a site and then discovering that nobody is interested in the topic. Digitalpoint offers a very useful keyword suggestion tool, which should give you a rough indication of how many people are searching for a certain topic. If you find that there are no or very little searches for your topic, you either need to find a new topic or break it down into core components.

What is the aim of your site?

The aim of your website will also play a huge role in the planning phase. If you want to sell a product your approach will be totally different from a content rich site that generates income from advertising. You should keep this in mind when picking your niche.

Now you are ready to start creating the content of the site. The best option is to using a normal word processor to write the content of each page. Limit each page to a single main topic. If we take the car website example you might create the following pages:
  • Introduction: Get your visitors interested in what you have to offer
  • Buying a car: Tips on choosing and buying a car
  • Car finance: Information about car finance
  • Car maintenance: Information about car maintenance

You can create as many pages as you want. Just be sure that each page has one central topic related to your site theme and that it contains relevant and unique content. The necessity for this will become apparent once you start optimizing your pages for search engines and focusing on revenue generation. Once you have enough content, you can move to the next step: Building the site.

No comments: