In order to be successful you must first develop a strategic plan and design your web site accordingly.
Create A Mission Statement
Why do you want a web site and what products or services do you want to sell or promote. What items are of primary importance and what are of secondary importance? Summarize your site’s purpose. Put all the information above into a rough mission statement and keep your mission statement in clear view throughout the planning process.
Visit Your Competitors’ Sites
Visit your competitors' sites. After exploring each site define their strengths and weaknesses. Who is their audience? How are the logo’s integrated throughout the site. Identify colour schemes. What is the personality of the site, is it strictly business or a fun site. What adjectives describe your site’s personality? What colours do you think your site should be in or what are your tastes? What do you dislike? Try to determine what style of site you want. Visiting your competitors sites might give you ideas on graphics and with permission, you might be able to use some of them for your site and maybe even some of the content.
Who is your target audience?
Why will people come to your site? Specifically what will the person who visits your site expect to see. What would their tastes be? What image of your company would you like them to see? This can vary greatly depending on what service or product you want to sell. What do you want to tell them that makes you stand out? Most clients do not even think about their audiences, which is perhaps the number-one mistake made in designing sites.
Defining beforehand the user experience you seek establishes a clear, well-documented definition of your audience, and it helps in understanding how users will react to the site.
Define the sites goals.
What are the short- and long-term goals of the site? Many people might not be thinking in the long term; they may have an immediate need to get the site up and running. Looking toward the future will save you a lot of headaches in the long run, because you will be able to accommodate growth and change more effectively.
Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Before Starting
Are you selling an online product or service or are you using the site strictly for advertising your products and providing information? What changes will you need to make once the site is created?
Will you need someone to maintain the site or will you do it yourself.
How will you accept payment through your site?
How will you process your orders?
How will you deliver your products or services?
How will you collect your customers' information and store it within a database?
How will you automate portions of your business?
Do you need to hire someone or will you company out source? Will security be an issue?
A big issue is how will your business name and products will rank on the search engines when visitors want to find you? It might be a good idea to review the page on promotion to determine what business name you should use if you don’t already have one.