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Follow the arrows at the bottom of each page for the tutorial, "How to Design a Website".
To study a particular aspect of website design refer to this tutorial index.

Analyze Website
Developing a plan for your website

Analyze websiteAnalyzing your goals is the first, and foremost step, in designing and developing an effective website. It requires answering several questions about the website you're going to present to the public.

By conducting a thorough analysis you will provide youself with a plan to follow throughout the development your website. It is imperative that you give much thought to any proposed website before you even think about putting it online.

If you honestly answer the following questions you will have developed the framework for your new website and you will be able to begin it's construction with confidence.

Develop a comprehensive framework for your website

Now is the time to start a website journal, a means of recording the ideas and goals for your new website. Write down and answer the questions below. Give serious thought to your answers then enter this information into your website journal. As you answer each question you will automatically form a basic framework for your website that is comprehensive in scope. Use the information you gain from this analysis as the backbone of your website structure. Continue to develop this plan and refer to it often as you delve deeper into the design of your website.

Ask yourself the following questions about the website you are planning to design. Write down your answers and refer to them often as you develop your website.

  • What is your motivation or reason for creating this website?

  • What is the target audience you will be trying to reach?

  • What type of website structure will you require?

  • What type of presentation will work best for your website?

  • What type of information do you need to build your website?

  • What type of content will you provide to your visitors?

Why are you creating this website?

Your answer to this question is important. It will determine the content, design and development of your webpages as you proceed with your website construction. Do you have an important message to share? Are you selling a product or service? Do you want to exercise your imagination and display your creative talents? Maybe you have other reasons for creating a website. Whatever your reason is for creating a website think hard on this question and write down your answer.

Another way to think about this question is what is the goal of this website? Is it to entertain, instruct, inform, persuade, share, sell or display? The answer will provide you with direction and focus as you design your site and it will help you to develop a website theme.

Who will be your target audience?

What type of visitors do you want your website to attract? What are the demographics of your audience. What will be their age, sex and education? Will they search out my site because we share a special interest, do the same kind of things or are they looking for specific information?

Is my target audience the business community, stay-at-home moms, artists, or sports enthusiasts? Or is it a combination of several groups? Be as specific as you can about this. Try to pinpoint a certain type of individual then learn as much about them as you can so you can tailor your website to suit them.

What type of website structure will you need?

Now that you have defined your target audience you will need to decide on what type of website best suits your topic or website theme.
Your choice is important. Each type of website has its own unique structure and layout. Your target audience will respond to your site in a positive way if your choice of website design complements your website content.

Presenting your website

Once you know who the audience for your website will be you must decide on the best way to present your content to them? Are they looking for a fancy site with lots of user interaction? Or, are they seeking information without any frills? Design your website accordingly.

Do they want all the information on the first page? Would they prefer the content be categorized so that they can access only the website sections they want? Do I need to include an order form? Would a message board be a good way to communicate?

Communication should be the primary objective when designing your website presentation. No matter if you are selling a product or providing information to your visitors you must develop an effective method of presenting your content.


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