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Site Development Road Maps

steps to building a site

7:10 pm on Jun 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:June 23, 2000
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Maybe we will start some more threads that get into specifics, but I think it would be good to share with beginners what steps are taken in developing a website. I know that if I had this knowledge starting out, it would save me a ton of time and confusion. My post assumes you already have a working knowledge of HTML and SEO and is skewed toward on earning money from affiliate programs.

My approach:


I. Research

  • How can I make money with the site?
  • Is there a sufficient source of free traffic?
  • What is my competition like? (number of sites, unoptimized or optimized sites? etc.)
  • Is it feasible to rank well with my current SEO knowledge and ability?
  • What keywords do I design the site around?
  • What are the primary keywords being used in relation to the site content? Secondary keywords?
  • What am I going to use for content to attract users and build confidence?

If everything checks out, I move on to stage II.

II. Design

My overriding philosophy is designing a site that caters to what the user wants in every way possible from keywords to content to small page sizes. Also, the site must be designed to rank well

  • Grab a domain name that fits what I want to do
  • Skecth out the site structure based on keywords (pyramid theme approach [webmasterworld.com])
  • Develop an easy to use site navigation system
  • Design a logo graphic and marketing tag line
  • Develop home page
  • Develop contact page, privacy policy, advertising information, and any other standard pages that will be linked from every other page
  • Develop index pages of subdirectories (if used)
  • Develop each subdirectory individually
  • Structure designed for scalability to accommodate future growth
  • Load up site
  • Use link checker
  • Optimize pages
  • Proofread

Once I feel the site is decent (maybe not perfect but workable), I feel I can launch it and start promoting

III. Promotion

My first steps are to capture as much free traffic as possible (Yahho needed for rank boost -- will pay here if confident of rank).

  • Submit site to Yahoo
  • Submit to ODP
  • Submit to Google, Wisenut, Teoma, AltaVista, Fast
  • Find topic specific directories and authority sites to link with. Try to get free links first, will reciprocate if needed or advantageous

Usually I wait at this point for the traffic to roll in. I usually don't do PPC because I feel I can get enough traffic from Yahoo fairly quickly. Other than getting more links from on topic or highly authoritative (or high traffic) sites, my initial promotion ends here.

IV. Refine

At this point I should have a decent traffic stream coming in. First I evaluate my affiliate programs:

  • Are they producing they way I thought?
  • Am I promoting them well enough?
  • Do I need to sub in some other programs?
  • Do I need to give one program more emphasis than another?

Next, my traffic stream:

  • Are my rankings what I thought they would be?
  • What can I optimize on the site to get better rankings?
  • After analyzing my traffic logs, are there some words I need to hone in on more that I missed earlier?
  • What other sites can I get traffic from?


  • What can I add to the site to help people buy or participate in my revenue generating programs? More graphics? More content? Better marketing language?
  • Does my site build rapport with the user or do I come across as unbelievable? Would I buy anything at this site or participate in the affiliate programs?

The rest of the process is going over these steps to build the site in size, add more affiliate programs or other revenue possiblities, adding content, refining, and optimizing.

I am sure I missed some steps but this is the basic idea of my site development from start to finish. Other systems welcome in this thread. Sites involving shopping carts, programming, or other elements not mentioned here are especially welcome. Let's try to keep an overall approach and dive into specifics in future threads.

7:36 pm on June 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Mar 29, 2002
votes: 0


Great Post :)

Only thing is in the USA Yahoo is PFI ($299.00 annually)if you are a commercial site.

9:54 pm on June 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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joined:Sept 1, 2000
votes: 0

Good topic JamesR.

In the research phase I take a strong look at the industry itself. What does the industry itself have to offer? This includes associations, portals, newsletters and such. What are others, not just the direct competitors, but also others in the industry doing to develop and then promote their sites? In this portion of the research I often find a great deal of linking potential and future promotional ideas.

I then look at what it will take to make my site sticky and get folks to return. I know not every site should be sticky but generally speaking I like the idea of folks returning so I like to figure out how best to do that.

The design I leave to experts although I have no problem suggesting they follow at least the basics of what Brett presented in Successful Site in 12 Months with Google Alone [webmasterworld.com] or of course my own personal version ;)

Other points based on experience:

Note that I prefer keywords and hyphens in the URL.

The code has to be clean.

Navigation and internal linking are developed by the SEO expert and not the designer. Argue that if you will but it impacts optimization more I believe than it impacts the design.

Again, a good SEO expert will more effectively develop the structure of a site than a designer. Oh yes, those may be fighting words but I believe they speak the truth. Isnít the goal to maximize every effort?

On promotion Ė client dependent of course but I find a bit of PPC goes along way to keep the client interested those first three months until the other promotional activities really kick in and start drawing traffic.

Iím also working on Ďalternativeí sources of promotion and traffic building including advertising, articles, and of course more of what Iím trying to draw out of the current discussion on ďLinking Outside the Box ď [webmasterworld.com]

The refining portion depends so much on proper log analysis tools and data. Itís especially important to see the process a visitor follows through the site, how much time spent on each page and which pages they actually visit. Am I getting them to the sale and if so whatís the best route.

Not to be undervalued is the content and the copywriting including the sales copywriting content. You can have a great site, drawing great traffic but how does it convert.

My 2 bits.