The following checklist contains most of the things you should consider when planning your website.

What is the primary purpose of your website?
  • Describing your products or services?
  • Completing sales transactions?
  • Offering customer service and support?
  • Communicating company identity or branding?
  • Establishing your credibility?

Who makes up your target audience?
  • Who do you want to see your site?
  • What is your target audience looking for?
  • What questions are your customers constantly asking you?
  • What can we include that would wow your customers?

How do you want your website to look?
  • Professional? Whimsical? Newsy? Simple? Complex?
Have you seen any sites that you would like to model yours after?
  • What do you like about those sites?
  • What colors do you prefer for the site?
  • How wide do you want your site design to be?
  • Do you want your pages to be easily printable?
  • Do you want to offer PDF files of information rich pages?
  • Do you want your site to use only graphics, only photos, or both?
  • Are you interested in animation files?
  • Do we need to take photos of you, your staff, your services, or your products?
  • Do you have any vendor supplied photos or graphics you are authorized to use?

What layout do you want?
  • three column - navigation, content, miscellaneous. Good for organizations
  • two column - narrow column for menu, wide column for content - good for businesses
  • splash screen - click animated graphic to access the site - not recommended
  • free form - not recommended for businesses but okay for personal sites
  • flash - interactive Shockwave Flash sites have major search engine problems

Where do you want your navigation (menu) system?
  • Horizontal menus are limited by screen width but allow you to present more content below
  • Vertical menus allow you more menu items and greater flexibility in adding menu items
  • Free form menus will not be expected by visitors so stick with the two forms above

  • Do you have a logo?
  • Do you have a digital copy of it?
  • Do you need a logo or would your company name be sufficient?
  • Do you have a tag line - a short sentence that describes your business?

  • What are your customers expecting to find at your web site
  • What questions are you often asked by customers?
  • What existing material do you have?
    • hard copy brochures?
    • client presentations?
    • customer letters?
    • information flyers?
    • case studies?
    • customer testimonial letters?
    • your resume?
  • Is this material available digitally ie. Word documents, jpeg images etc?

What menu items do you need?
  • Home?
  • Services-how many?
  • Product categories?
  • Customers?
  • Testimonials?
  • FAQs?
  • Forms?
  • Articles or other informative topics?
  • Pdf files to include?
  • Links or resources?
  • About us?
  • Contact us?
  • Others?

Search engines
  • What search terms do you expect your customers will use to find you?
  • What search engines will they be using?
  • What organizations, companies or sites can you ask to link to your site?

Technical details
  • Have you registered a domain name?
    • If so, do you have your domain access information ie. username and password?
  • Have you secured hosting?
    • If so, do you have your site access information ie. username and password?

  • How often will your site need updating?
  • What content will need updating?

  • When would you like your website completed and "live"?

  • How will you be accessing the site (connection speed and browser)?
  • What screen resolution do you have ie. 1024 pixels x 768 pixels?