Strategy & Planning

This post is going to be the first of a serious of posts intended to help those who are looking to start a web project.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

― Benjamin Franklin

Strategy & Planning is perhaps the most important part of every project.  Proper planning will drastically reduce the cost and or timeline of any project.  A well thought out plan will reduce the amount of the amount of trial and error within the project. I believe this is true with all projects but for the sake of this post, I will be only be focusing on web projects.

So before you start a web project, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Have you registered your website’s domain?
    1. .com, .net, .biz, .solutions, .co etc?
  2. Do you have a tagline, mission and or vision statement?
  3. Do you have a logo?
  4. Have you identified your primary color schemes and fonts?
  5. Who are you building the website for (audience – any specific demographic: gender, ages, occupation, financial status…)?
  6. How will users find your website?
  7. Will you do any traditional marketing via print, tv, radio, newspaper…
  8. What do you want your website to do? Goals and Objectives?
    1. What functions should it complete? Starting with the simplest of website functions:
      1. Display static content.  This is content written by a web administrator and displayed with minimal programming.
      2. Display dynamic content.  This is content that gets displayed based on a programmed logic that sorts the content in some sort of predefined manner.
      3. For example, When displaying promotions, specials, alerts, announcements, events, etc, they often need an order based of dates and or marketing priority… and often have deadlines or end dates in which they need to be removed from the web.
      4. Allow users to fill out forms that send emails to a web administrator.
      5. Allow users to comment on information on the website.
      6. Allow users to register or subscribe.
      7. Enter and display events on a calendar.
      8. Sign up to receive email alerts, notices, marketing information…
      9. Display content from 3rd party content:
        1. Google Maps
        2. Youtube or Vimeo videos
        3. Weather Feeds
        4. Social Media Feeds
    2. Will your site sell products or services?
      1. If yes, then you will need to have a payment gateway.  The simplest to integrate would be a service such as PayPal.
      2. Will you be shipping products?
        1. If so, then you will need to determine if you will charge for shipping?
          1. This might require knowing product sizes & weights as well as costs to ship to the different areas of the world…
          2. Shipping methods such as USPS, UPS, FedEx…
      3. If you are selling services online will you have repeat billing, do users get an account…?
  9. Do you understand Search Engines and Search Engine Optimization?
    1. What keywords will users most likely use to find your website?
  10. Have you signed up for a Google Analytics account?
  11. Do you know about the different types of hosting?
  12. Do you have email addresses set up for you and perhaps a general inquiry address like

This is a pretty good list, but depending on your requirements and goals, there could be several more or maybe even several less.  The point here is to really think through things and document a plan.  In the long run, it will keep you on track and save you time.  Otherwise, you might find yourself going down a “Trial and Error” path that goes on forever.