You might be tempted to jump in and start creating your website without any planning.
But let me say from experience that planning your website will more than make up for the time and aggravation you’ll have if you don’t plan, especially if your intentions are to make money with your website.
I didn’t plan my websites at first either. I just wanted to start creating and get my site ‘on the air‘ assuming everything would fall together on its own.
That’s exactly when you’ll look back and say “Why didn’t I plan?”
Planning your website will help you know your overall objectives and will save you a ton of time and aggravation as you move forward.
Here 6 planning tips to get you started…
Tip #1: Plan Your Monetization
How do you plan to make money online? Will you be selling tangible goods or electronic information. Will you promote other people’s items or services for a share of the profits as with affiliate marketing? Will you make money advertising? Will you consider donations? etc.
It will be these kinds of objectives that will help you determine the type of website you’ll create.
Tip #2 What Type of Website Will You Create?
For creating sites that you’ll be making money with, you’ll need to choose the best platform for your goals.
For example creating a blog or traditional html website works well if you’ll want to create an informational website and monetize the site using affiliate marketing, advertising or selling information products, but that may not be suitable for an e-commerce business.
An e-commerce website would require programming technology like shopping carts and merchant accounting software, things not s easy to obtain with a blog or many other html site builders.
For informational and interactive websites like blogs, knowing what your monetization goals are will help you determine things like whether or not you’ll have a 2 column website or 3 columns. For example, you’ll need to plan out where to put your advertisements, product promotions and opt-in boxes should you choose to use email marketing.
Tip #3 What Will You Deliver?
Keeping in tune with your monetization what types of information and products will you deliver?
Do some keyword research on the topic of your website to see what people are really looking for when it comes to your site’s topic. For example, if your topic is ‘exotic Chinese cooking’, what things interest people when they’re on the web looking for Chinese cooking?
Going to Google keyword tool, I can see that the topics with the most searches include:
- Chinese cooking utensils
- Chinese cooking knives
- Chinese cooking lessons
- Chinese cooking free Low Calories recipes
- Chinese cookbooks
Those are the things you’ll want to include in your site’s categories. You can also get some great information by researching topic related forums and posing questions on sites like ask.com.
Tip #4 Pick Your Website Colors
Picking your website colors might seem easy enough, after all you’ll be inspired to use colors you like that you think will stand out and create interest.
But keep in mind that color also has emotional and psychological meaning. So just finding colors that you like or may be what you think will help you stand may not be enough. You want a nice balance of colors that look well together, are colors that you like but also provide an emotional or psychological boost.
To demonstrate what I mean here’s a recent post I did called choosing y our website color palette. You’ll also get some ideas of where to find good color combination ideas.
Here’s an awesome resource – If you need a cool, professional looking website header, you can grab free website headers and a customization tool all for free, check it out here at 500 free website headers.
Tip#5 Choose Your Domain name
Finding the perfect domain name is what everyone wants but getting too hung up on just the perfect name can be a show stopper for some. Choosing a domain name that is easy to remember, describes your website and one that is available can be tricky.
Start by using your site’s main keywords in the domain and keep it as short as possible. Also don’t box yourself in. For example, walkingshoes.com is a great domain name but what if you want to expand to running shoes at some point.
Tip #6 Find Your Brand
What are you about? What’s your personality? What’s voice do you want to use? Do you want to be the “cool” site. Do you want to be folksy? Are you humorous? Are you about being simple and down to earth? Are you energetic?
Your brand will be the emotional and psychological connection you create with your readers, so find your voice and keep it the theme of your site.
Tip#7 Your Content
Your content can make or break your website, so you have to go into this with the intention of bringing quality, useful content to your readers.
So before getting started plan the kind of content you’ll be offering for example, here are some ideas:
- Post ‘How to’ information
- Solicit and add Guest Posts from other industry experts
- Post some Q&A on some of the most popular questions that come up, again use your keyword research tool to help you with that.
- Post occasional Industry News
- Publish Useful resources and links
Do you have to create new content every day? No, but you do want to keep your site current, interesting and useful. That’s what keeps visitors and the search search engines returning to your site.
The little bit of effort it takes to do this planning in the beginning is worth it to the success of your business.
Your site will probably take on a slightly different look and feel before it’s all over, but that’s OK, as long as you know what your goals are and plan accordingly, you’re a lot more likely to stay in tune with your objectives.