Checklist: create your own website

Dated Monday September 9, 2013

Tags: marketing, website

Checklist voor het maken van een eigen website

With all the online and offline tools available today, allmost everybody can create and launch a website. But creating and launching a website is not the same as havin succes with your website, what ever your goal may be. And because it so easy and quick to do, most people skip some crucial steps in making a success out of their efforts. The now following article is simply checklist you can print and use as guidiance when starting a new website:

The basics of your new website

The first and foremost question to ask yourself: "what is the goal of this website". Followed by "what sets me apart from the competition". Know what you want to achieve and what your up against. These questions are essential if you want the website to be a succesfull part of your plan. Not only the new and brave should ask these question though. Even websites that have been around for quite a while could do with a critical overhaul to match the current goals of their owners.

When your goals are set and you have studied your competition, it is time to define the target audience of the website. There is no need to limit yourself to one group, as long as every group is clearly defined. The website should be usefull, clear and meaningfull to each of your target audiences. Groups you could service with your website could be:

Try to describe each group as detailed as possible. This will help you visalize their needs when you are creating content and function to service them. A helpfull method of doing so is creating presona's. Create a fictional person for each group. Suppliers are represented by Frank Wathers, age 37, wife and kids, always time for chatter, often calls you for new deals. You can now write content for the suppliers as if you where writing to Frank. Using persona's help you to decide which content is usefull for the selected audience and what tone of voice is appropriate.

Checklist basics

  1. [   ] Goal
  2. [   ] Competition analysis
  3. [   ] Target audiences and personas
  4. [   ] List of required content for each target audience

Prepare the build and design of your website

In the previous section, you have determined what you wanted to do with the website. The next step is to figure out how you want to do it. Wether or not you are going to design / build the website yourself: you need to know how you want each part of the website. Not knowing in advance will create delays, cost overuns and tons of frustration.

Create the menu structure for the website. Make sure the structure is easy to understand for visitors without any prior knowledge. Get in the head of each persona: will he/she find what they are looking for? When the menu structure is finished you can start writing content and sketching functionalities for each page. Try to get feedback from family and friends.

After drafting up the first structure and content it is time to start looking for partners. Who is going to design the website (and logo, business cards, etc.). Who is going to build and host it? What are the criterea when selecting partners: costs, expertise, similar projects in portfolio, reliability?

You need to be actively involved during the design and build of the website. Ask for intermediate versions you can test. Ask why they designed or build the website a certain way. Find a mix between having it done your way and following up their advice they gained from experience.  And remember: there is no such thing as to much testing!

Checklist for the design and build

  1. [   ] Menu structure
  2. [   ] Writing content and sketching features
  3. [   ] Selecting partners
  4. [   ] Design and development
  5. [   ] Testing and improving

Designed and build, but that is just the start

The website is designed, build and live. A sigh of releave. But this is not the end of the journy. It is merely the start.

First of all: marketing. How are potential customers going to know about your website. You might want to hire a SEO expert or start using Google Adwords. Get your social media accounts in place. Tweet, post and join discussions on related fora. Put a link in your email signature. Start generating the buzz about your website!

Second, you need to be ably the measure your succes. This means setting up statistics. Google Analytics is a free and relative easy tool to use. But realy understanding statistics and knowing how to benefit from the knowledge you can gain from it is quit hard. Get every help you can get so you don't miss out on oppertunities or growth.

And last but not least: maintanence and improvements. Make sure you have a back-up plan. Keep the content on your website up to date. Use the feedback and complaints you receive to improve your website.

Checklist running the website

  1. [   ] Marketing plan
  2. [   ] Set up statistics
  3. [   ] Maintance and improvement plan
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