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How to plan making a website: Everything you need to know before hiring a designer (or even making your own)

Updated on January 20, 2013
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Why is important to plan?

Planning gives you a direction and keeps you moving forwards. It could save you time and money. Before you hire a web designer you need to know exactly what you want but also the things you are open to changing. Web designer's usually charge in these two ways: a fixed hourly rate or one overall price, if you don't know what you want they'll charge you more because they have to spend more time discussing it with you rather than them actually designing it.

Knowing what you want...

The most vital step of planning a website is having a clear idea of what you want. Web designers hate it when their clients keep changing their minds. A web designer needs you to set out exactly what you want from the start. To save money you need to have a clear idea about every aspect of your site. Often changes during the process result in the designer having to redesign the whole site, wasting time and costing you money. Below are the aspects you need to consider before even approaching a web designer. Having these planned will hopefully help you to get the site that you want and lead to an effective site in receiving customers and retaining your customers’ attention.

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Identifying your target market

Your web designer needs to know who the site is aimed. You don’t want to say “a website to sell books” because then you’re targeting at a large number of people are are more likely to fail. You’d want to specify and say something on the lines of “a website aimed at middle aged adults who often read out of pleasure and to sell adult drama books”. This immediately shortens the number out of the 1.3 billion on the web, making it easier to target and a manageable size.

Factors to consider
Why?
Age
Are they typically internet savvy or not?
Hobbies
What are they interested in that you could use to attract them as well offer a service related to that hobby?
Location
Are they in the country you’re based in? Do you deliver worldwide?
Gender
What are the typical interests of the gender(s) of which you can target?
Education
What level of language and vocabulary can you use?
Experience
Are they experts in your field so can handle jargon?
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Creating a budget

Websites don't always have to cost a fortune however only if you've done your research. There are thousands of web designers out there (freelance and companies) do you're spoilt for choice. Nonetheless you must consider whether they'll provide you with a good service. You also need to consider how much money you can spend based on how much revenue you can expect to make from having a website. If you're offering the ability to purchase online then you're going to have to pay more than just an information site, of course. For a simple information page about your business you should aim to spend less than £900 but for an e-commerce site you can't really give a generic judgement. But something that is often a generic rule is that freelancers often charge less than web design companies, understandable since they need to drive in more business individually.

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Website pages

By knowing what pages you actually really need you'll be saving more money and time. Often most designers factor in the number of pages you ask for into the cost. Why not pay £x for one contact page that includes a map of where you're based rather than £2x for a contact page and another page showing the map. Typically all websites have these pages:

  • Homepage
  • About
  • Services
  • Contact
  • Terms and Conditions (not required if you're not an online business)

These are just to 5 most basic pages but depending on your business and preferences you may want to include: why choose us; privacy policy; portfolio or a testimonial page.

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Choosing the right colours for your site

Colours are the first things your customer’s eyes will register. As soon as they visit your site they’ll ever be repulsed or attracted. Colour has a language of its own and that language should be understood by anyone who expects to use it to its best effect. Many good website designs or product covers have been spoiled because the colours used said one thing but the words and illustrations another. Colour has three dimensions: hue, intensity, and value.

Each of these has its part in the message of colour, but the message of hue is most universally understood. For example, red suggests heat; yellow suggests light; blue suggests cold and purple suggests darkness. Of course, these examples are just that…examples…because colour can have multiple meanings. For instance, red can also mean “stop”.

Intensity of colour is measured by its brightness or dullness. The usual danger that can occur is using colours that are too bright. Generally, it may be said that a full intensity colour should never be used for backgrounds or for large spaces. Dull or neutralized colours are better for these purposes. The primary reason for this is that having a large area of bright colour can be distractive. Your eye doesn't know where to land because of the huge area of yellow, for example. It’s always best to have all images on your site to contrast with the background so that that is what people focus on.

The value of colour is measured by its lightness or darkness. The lighter values should be used for backgrounds because they are less distractive and not the focus; the darker values are for the images which are to be emphasized. Of course, there are exceptions to this from a stylistic design perspective.

Summary

So now you should have a pretty good idea of how you're going to plan your website and what's needed. My next hub will be about how to deal with designers and choose the right one so please follow and stay tuned for more.

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    • Ernest Hemingway3 profile image

      Ernest Hemingway III 4 years ago from The World

      Good hub-useful information.

    • AlarmingMonkey profile image
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      AlarmingMonkey 4 years ago from London

      Thanks Bob, I found you articles extremely interesting :)

    • Bob Zermop profile image

      Bob Zermop 4 years ago from California, USA

      A very nice article, full of helpful information and suggestions! Great start, and welcome to Hubpages.

    • AlarmingMonkey profile image
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      AlarmingMonkey 4 years ago from London

      Thanks :)

    • joanveronica profile image

      Joan Veronica Robertson 4 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

      Hi there, welcome to Hubpages! This was a good read, voted up and interesting!

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