Things you should know before creating your website

Thorough planning is the key to an effective website. So before you begin building your site, it’s critical to understand what you want it to achieve.

Here’s a brief checklist of some of the things you should know to help guide the design of your site. There are of course other things to consider too, but this list will get you started and help keep your website on track to reach your goals.

Your audience

• Who is your audience?
• How would you describe your audience? What are their characteristics, interests, dislikes and attitudes?
• What are your audience’s needs and drivers?


Your purpose

• What are the aims of your website? (e.g. to gain donations, build advocates, recruit volunteers, etc.). List in order of priority to see which need the most emphasis.


Your message

• What are your key messages? List in order of priority to see what needs the most emphasis.
• What impression do you want people to get from your site? What do you want them to think about your organisation?


Your content

• What content must be included? Note desired features and functions, such as:

– calendar of events
– eCommerce functionality
– social media links
– image galleries
– multimedia such as video and audio
– blog
– newsletters
– contact forms.


Your design

• What is the desired look and feel of the site? What personality would you like it to have?
• Do you have a logo or other mandatory elements that need to be included?
• If you currently have a site, what do you like/dislike about its design?
• What are other sites that you admire, and which features of these sites would you like to incorporate into your own?
• Does your organisation have specific colours, fonts or other mandatory elements that should be used?
• What is the ‘look and feel’ that would best suit the personality and objectives of your organisation – young, classic, bold, clinical, authoritative, etc.?

Want to know more about how to create an effective website?

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