12 Feb Website Project Planning Three
By Paul Barrs
Although this area of your checklist is shorter than the others, it’s by no means any less important. In fact, if you make any errors in this stage of your ‘planning and structure’ they could hurt you down the track and probably cause you more ‘catch-up’ time than any of the others.
Here is where your outline begins to take shape… it’s the old “look before you leap” thing and “plan before you perform”.
With exception to the actual work of putting in the content for your new website, this stage, of all the ‘set-up’ stage should take the longest.
Stage Three –
* Create main index page (blank) and website structure by making multiple ‘blank’ (no content) pages for each main page of the site. If you’re using WordPress, you should still structure this out on your hard drive, or at least a sheet of paper (Just the structure that is, no need to create page when building in WordPress of course).Get the idea of what you’re site is going to look like once it’s all done.
Set title & descriptions to be unique, short and meaningful. If using WordPress, create a list of unique titles for each of these main pages and save them as a text document to later copy and paste.
The old ways of doing this were; Page Title “Company – Page Description”. The new way of doing things should be “Keyword phrase” (3 – 4 keywords) + Company.
Do / plan the same for Page Description and Page Header H1. Depending on your template, WordPress will most likely do this automatically.
Sidebar: Keep in mind here though that when I’m referring to WordPress, I’m not talking about the dynamically generated Blog section of your website, but rather the static pages that are always available for visitors to see.
Create site map (if needed – WP will do this itself).
Create help page (some FAQs may be enough here, or a full support section; depends on the site.).
Fill in home page; add copyrights and “New” topic list with release date of the site so that as the site is updated in the future all new additions are listed on the home page so repeat visitors can quickly see what has changed.
At this point you have a complete skeleton site with no broken links. All pages are empty of content and ready to fill in.
If you’re doing this work for someone else, have the customer sign off on work done so far and get ready for stage four –