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Before you begin learning how to create a website it is important that you plan what you are going to create. Not only is this part important, but depending on the purpose of your site it might also be very time consuming. In the end, however, it is worth it. It actually makes the design part a lot easier.
The Purpose – What is your website about? Are creating a website to talk about your family? Do you want to “talk” about your family vacations? Are you selling services and/or a product? Do you want to provide information? Do you want to showcase your poems or stories? No matter what your actual reason is for creating a website, just make sure that it is absolutely clear. Without having a clear reason for designing your site it would be a bit difficult to put the rest of site together. This includes what colors to use, how your menu will be created, and what content you will add to attract visitors.
Define Your Audience – It makes absolutely no sense to create a website and have no idea who will be visiting. You need to find out who your target audience will be so that the content you create is relevant. If you are creating a business website, then you need to do some research. It is imperative that you know who you are building your self for or your business website will not survive. Or you will not get the results you are looking for.
Don’t forget the theme – Creating a theme is one of the most important steps in designing a website. Your theme should reflect the purpose of your website and provide a continuity of design elements throughout your site. In other words a theme should help you to convey your message and impart a consistent look that runs throughout your website
What will be your Content? - What will you talk about to your audience? What do you want them to know about you? If you have brochures for your business, use them to get an idea of what to add to your website. Gather your family information and photos. Research the subject you want to talk about.
What features will you need – It is important ahead of time that you know what you will need to add to your website besides content. Think about if you will need to add a chat room, message board, a shopping cart, a members area, etc. Knowing this ahead time could help you plan your next step: the layout. If you need a database, this is very important to your layout because you have to design your layout around the database so that it works properly.
The Layout - Go even further with how you would like the pages to look. Do you want one, two or three columns? Do you want the page to be centered or across the entire page?
Your Navigation – Ease of navigation on a website is a very important part of design. If people visit a page on your site and then don't see a link back to the main page or other pages on your site then they are very likely to leave it completely. They should be able to access every page on your website easily from your menu without having to use even a search box.