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Planning Your Web Site

Planning Your Site


When you begin the planning process for your web site, we would suggest starting with some organization on your computer. Create a separate folder on your computer for your web site files. It is also strongly suggested that you prepare to make backups for those files. Create a folder in your regular paper file drawer also. There will be ideas, sketches, and additional notes you will want in a central location. Don't forget to create a folder in your email software.

Put Those Ideas to Work

As you read through the preceding information, you no doubt had ideas about how you will have your web site look, the purpose of the web site, and how you will handle the maintenance and email. It is now time to start putting those ideas to work. Start with a simple paper outline of the content. Your web site should be designed so the appearance focuses on the content. Don't try to create the appearance first, and have the content stuffed into it. If your business already has a brochure, it will make an excellent starting point.

Some Do's and Don'ts

As you make the outline, there are several things you should keep in mind that will make or break a site.

Load time of your site

If you are planning on several photos of products remember that graphics files take longer to load than text. Making thumbnails of those photos with links to the full picture is one way to decrease the load time and still present a full-sized photo. Ideally a page should load in approximately 30 seconds for a 28.8 modem. One minute should be considered the maximum. Any more than that, and your visitors WILL be gone!! If necessary, break up the site into more pages. Visitors would rather click than wait. If there is some large graphic file you believe needs to be on a page, put a paragraph of text before it, so visitors can be reading while the graphic finishes loading.


The site should be organized so a visitor to your site can find what they may be looking for in no more than three 'clicks'. Visitors WILL leave your site if they can't find their way around. View your page through your visitor's eyes to know what information they will be wanting.

Colors and Text

Any combination of colors and fonts can be used on a web site, but your web site should not make your visitors dizzy. If you should choose a dark textured background (not recommended) with white text, remember that some visitors will browse with graphics turned off, and they would only see a blank web site. Not all fonts will be available to your viewers and your site will lose some of the effect if you have designed it with a particular font in mind. Stick with the basics.

External Links

Almost every web site has links to another location, including this one, but those links should serve a purpose. They should not be links to sites that you find personally interesting; they should relate to your business in some way. (For example, the links on this site are to web site building resources.) Keep in mind: Any link to an external location on your start/index page may keep your visitors from viewing all of your web site by giving them the opportunity to leave your site as soon as they arrive.

Limit the gadgets

Yes there are some very "cool" things that can be done with a web site - animated gif files, sound playing while a page loads, as well as other new enhancements. But these bells and whistles may do nothing but take away from the content of your site. You don't want your visitors enjoying the site without learning anything about your business. Be conservative with the use of these possibilities. Those files can also increase the load time greatly.


Your site should have continuity. Your choices of colors, fonts, and navigation should be the same on all pages. Again, reduce any risk of confusing your visitors. Create a personality or theme for your web site that is an extension of your business, and then use it throughout your entire web site.


We can't stress enough the importance of spelling and grammar. Proofread everything!! As a final step have someone else proof read it. Typos and poor grammar are a reflection on your business.

"Plan your work, then work your plan." Remember simple is best.

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February 20, 2018

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