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How To Plan Your First Site



4:17 am on Oct 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi all! I'm soooo happy I found this forum before I made any big mistakes! I can't believe the mass of information on this forum!

Now to my question:

My friend and I are planning to build a site where all the best resources on the subject will be gathered and sorted...

The friend will do all the programming, but I have to first tell him what I want. We used the term "site specification" to name what I have to do, but I have no idea where to start or what to include in it. He said: everything :S

The thing is... I'm not really interested in how to do something (anything code-writing related...) but I am very interested in how I should plan the interface, the database, how things are connected and simmilar...

I've searched this forum, but couldn't really find the right answers (I'm sure there are all the answers, but I can't locate them...). I'll be just as happy if someone will post a link to the thread, where this subject is being discussed, as if I get any direct answers...

Thank you!



5:52 am on Oct 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If you are starting out and you are not sure what you can do, or if you don't know what you don't know :) , then find other sites of similar structure to what you want and start with that.

You may find you don't have to start from scratch, there may be existing free systems you can start with and change.


4:47 pm on Oct 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thank you so much for your reply, netchicken1!

Unfortunately (or... on the other hand, luckily maybe :D) I haven't found a site like the one I plan...

Does anyone know of a link or a guide on how to plan a website?
I have only found general information on what I should do, like: you should first set goals for your website, what do you want to do ect...

The problem is, not one resource I found tells me, what to do, when I set my goals...

I know I'm being a total newb and asking: tell me everything!
But if there is a site designed for people like me, to get us started, could you tell me where I can find it? Unfortunately, most of the stuff on this site is still a little too technical for me...

Thank you all!


4:55 pm on Oct 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I am very interested in how I should plan the interface

We may have just the thing you are looking for:

Information Architecture for the Small Site - part 1 [webmasterworld.com]
Information Architecture for the Small Site - part 2 [webmasterworld.com]
Putting Information Architecture into Practice [webmasterworld.com]


9:18 am on Oct 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

If you are more interested in the "face" of the website, why don't you go to a decent bookshop and look for design-books that show award-winning sites' screenshots? It would help to understand at least basics of the technology behind it, but maybe your friend can help you with that.

Offline can be a good source for planning online. Good luck and happy webbing!



6:11 pm on Oct 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If what you want has not been replicated in some manner already on the web, then there might be a good reason why it hasn't, such as poor search engine indexing, or too narrow a focus.

Afterall there are millions of dreaming designing webmasters looking for the next big thing out there, and your idea may have been tried and dismissed in the past.

How do you know? you need to get specific with a good webdesigner and see if its been done.


3:10 pm on Oct 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Successful Site in 12 Months with Google Alone - [webmasterworld.com...]

This is an old thread (4 years old) but still valid. Some things have been outdated; like the submission part (not necesary to submit to SEs anymore), but overall a fantastic read for the inexperienced, and even many experienced people pick brush up a little with that thread.


3:24 pm on Oct 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

And if you decide to stick with outsourcing (ie, getting your friend to do the technology bits), make sure to define very clearly who will be responsible for what.

Then print the post that greenleaves suggested and use it as an inspiration every time you feel like loosing track.

Get some basic books for webdesign and development, even if you will be in charge with content only; forums like this one make a great place to catch up with current developments and getting in touch with people for specific problems, but books cover the topic often more systematically and extensively than online tutorials or forum posts.


3:47 pm on Oct 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Think in terms of your audience at first, but watch out, this can limit your potential. But, just as a start, create Joe User.

Joe User is how old, has how much income? He spends his time doing mostly what? He has come to this new website of yours because?

OK, there he is, at your website. Now, think in terms of Harry User, Bob User, Mary User and Skip User. Different people are going to want different things. Define your prime users.

Now, suddenly, you see why Google is such a big hit. People can search for what they want and define themselves. Wow, why didn't you think of that? OK, you didn't, but G or Y sends people to different websites and one of those is yours. Or, a page of yours, rather.

A big problem for many websites is people come to one page, find or not find what they want and leave (going back to the search engine to search again for more.) You want your users to move around your site, more than likely.

Search is one way to do this, but as the links above point out, how you present the index is also important. Can you help the person who is thinking about a round widget consider a square one, too?

Amazon is great at this. People who liked X also liked Y. So, look up your topic on Amazon, and see what they do with it. Or, just look at any topic on Amazon and look at it. (Your coder is going to have his/her work cut out for them, but it's not that hard.)

Also drill down into Yahoo. Look at Yahoo Finance, for example. Go into pages where they have something besides news.

There are some very good websites done for major corporations as well. IBM, for example. Drill down and look at how they handle subjects.

But, first, define your primary users. And, think about their other interests. If your users all read the Wall Street Journal, then they'll be happy with that kind of familiar format, even if your site is not a news/finance/biz site at all. So, one question will be, "Many of the people who use our website also go to X."


4:54 pm on Oct 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I don't have it in my flags, but I vaugely recall that a few years ago someone posted a list of all the things they thought you should have together before you launch your site... it was everything from the robots.txt to the favicon and everything inbetween.

Does anyone have this list bookmarked? He might find that helpful.


2:17 am on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

You have website, you must learn how to promote your site.
This forum help me to know many things.
Try to learn SEO.


5:33 am on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Mack's classic thread:

From concept to upload [webmasterworld.com]

The whole Library [webmasterworld.com] in that forum is full good threads on this very topic.


4:29 pm on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'm also planning my first serious site. These are very useful tips & tutorials. Thank you very much :)

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