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7 Steps to a Great Website

Before you start work on the actual design of your website, you should have a clear idea of what message you want your design to communicate and what style of design you intend to use. Explore our 7 steps to developing a great website - it's not all about creating an attractive design!

Planning Your Look-and-Feel

You might not think the way your site looks is very important - but you'd be wrong. People's first impressions will affect their opinion of the site and your business. In fact, it takes less than a 20th of a second for people to form a lasting opinion of a website.

Before you start work on the actual design of the site, you should have a clear idea of what message you want your design to communicate and what style of design you intend to use.

First, think about the impression you want your target audience to be left with when they visit your site. Should they think of you as "trustworthy", "young" or "high-tech"? Then look at other people's sites, as well as ads in magazines and newspapers, to find a style you think would work for you. Once you find a style you like, ask a few potential customers what they think. After all, they're the people who'll be using your site.

Mood Boards

An effective way to plan your site's look-and-feel is to create a mood board.

Find objects with a style, colour or shape which reflect how you want this site to look, for example magazine ads and pieces of fabric, and then stick them to a sheet of card. This will help you establish a mood for the site when you're designing it, such as "dark and gothic" or "young and funky".

A mood board will give you a good starting point for your site's design and can help communicate your ideas to other people. It should also give you ideas for colours, images and typeface.

7 Steps to a Great Site

  1. Planning: Before you start work on your website you need to plan it thoroughly. Make sure you set a clear goal for your site and then use your knowledge of your target audience to work out how you are going to achieve it.
  2. Design: The next stage is to design your site in a graphics package, like Photoshop. It's important to finalize the design before you start to build the site, as it's much quicker and cheaper to make changes in Photoshop than it is in HTML.
  3. Writing and Content Gathering: During the planning stage, you should have decided which pages your site will contain. Now it's time to write the text and decide which pictures to use. You can often create the content at the same time as the site's being designed.
  4. Building the Site: Once you know what the site's going to look like and what it will contain, you need to turn it into an actual website. You'll use HTML and CSS to create web pages based on your Photoshop designs. You might create a database as well.
  5. Testing: Does the site work? Can people use it as you'd expected? Before launching your site you need to test it thoroughly. Check for broken links and make sure the site works on difference browsers. Also, check for spelling mistakes.
  6. Promotion: Your site's completed so now you can sit back and watch the visitors roll in - right? Not quite! Getting your website up there is just the start; now you need to get people to visit, using search engines, marketing and word of mouth.
  7. Evolution: Once your site's finished and visitors start arrivingFree Articles, you may think your work's done - but it isn't. The best sites constantly make small improvements and test new ideas.

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Daniel Gibbins is an experienced business professional who has worked within Retail, Customer Service, Audit and Operations Management. He is the Managing Director of Cortina Web Solutions, a Website Design and SEO Consultation business that provides advanced internet business solutions.

Daniel is also the Operations Manager and Senior Project Leader of The Church Website Design Project, a Christian based not-for-profit online communications service that offer church website design for Christian churches throughout the world. Daniel is also a member of the General Teaching Council of England and holds Qualified Teacher Status in the UK.

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