Free website planning guide.  This guide is designed to help you visualize the purpose, look and feel of your web site and get it on paper to communicate your vision to your website designer.

Organization or Website Name: __________________________

1. Purpose of Web site

Give the most important purpose a "1", next most important a "2". Leave those blank which do not interest you at all.
__ To gain a favorable impression of the company or organization.
__ To develop a qualified list of prospects
__ To sell products directly taking credit card information over the Internet
__ To encourage potential customers to contact us by phone or mail to consummate a sale.
__ To make available product information and price lists to distributors.
__ To make available product information and price lists to customers.
__ To strengthen brand identification.
__ Other _______________________________________________________

2. Typical Site Organization

Think about how your site will be navigated.

Total number of pages, this will usually change over time as new content is added or new products and services developed. ________________

3. Site and Domain Names

Site Name on Logo: ____________________________________

Domain Name. Contrary to popular belief a domain name is not something that you actually own. Instead it is a name you rent for a specific period of time from a domain name Registrar. The length of time for which you rent it depends on the service you purchased. It must also be renewed periodically according to the terms of your “rental agreement”

It must be registered, if not done already we can do this for you.
Domain name __ ____________________________ Desired ___ Already Registered

4. Logos, Graphics, Colors, Video, Animations and Typeface

Great care and thought is needed here and overlooked by many designers and people desiring a web site. Not every Web Browser, Computer System, Operating System or Device will render a color or fonts in the same manner. For example a Linux operating system straight out of the box usually does not have "Times New Roman" font, a standard font in all MS operating systems. (most Linux user install these though). So if that is the type font you choose for your web site, the font may not look exactly the same on that machine. If you have a specific font that is not publically available that you would like to use we will ned a copy of that font and can embed that font into your website, if not the font will be rendered with the closest available match the users computer has. Different Operating systems also render colors slightly different, especially reds, greens and blues. So choose background colors carefully and consider readability and contrast. Though your company colors may be pink and red, for readability these may not be the best choices.

See the web safe color list here.  Though this is not as important as it used to be.  But some slightly older mobile devices may render a fewer number of colors.

For the most part, we recommend a simple white background for best readability and contrast, with a band of color or a pattern running down the left, right or both margins of the web page. It’s really your preference:

With the adaptation of the new HTML5 standard Flash video is quickly becoming obsolete in web sites. Though video is still used, it is being displayed in a different manner. A large number of videos on a page can decrease page load time. Also consider not auto playing video. Some consumers may find that bothersome as well as it decreases load time and may consume bandwidth on a mobile data plan.

The same can apply to graphics. A lot of graphics on a page can seem cluttered, if there is not a specific need for them only put a couple on each page such as logos, a single simple banner or some other simple graphics.  This will also help decrease load time. Also consider instead showing smaller thumbnail images and allowing the viewer to click on an image to enlarge it.

5. Navigation System

How is your viewer going to get around your site? You want to make this as clear and easy as possible for the viewer. Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to navigate a web site easily.
There are several options for this. Please look at some of our sample sites to get an idea of which you prefer.

Image maps used to be used extensively and can still be usefull and atractive. An image map is simply a graphic that contains a link to a specific area or page of your web site. We use server side image maps to make it easy to expand the site at a later time without having to change the entire coding on each page of the site.
Left-or right side Menus with text links are especially useful on larger sites. They can allow more detail than an 8-item top or bottom navigation, and can enable visitors to see from any page how to get to any other. These may be white or light-colored over a dark left-side color or pattern, or black or dark over a light left-side color or pattern, almost anything is possible.

Frames System are typically where a scrolling menu remains on the left side to provide navigation. We do not recommend frames in practically any situation, since they are usually a design disaster. They do not always print out, cannot be bookmarked easily, and often make the page design look "tacky" and are not search engine friendly. In a very few rare cases, they are useful: (1) to display large databases of information, (2) purposely hide URL's of content pages, (3) send visitors to other sites while making it easy for them to remain on your site.
Search Engine is useful on larger sites to help visitors quickly find what they're looking for.

6. Basic Page Elements

These are the important items which appear on nearly every web page on your site.
Page titles which show at top of Web browser only
Top-of-page graphic based on the design of the Logo graphic
Page Title in larger type. Heading Font Style:
Text. Body Font Style:
Image Map by Image Map bar or other navigation system
E-mail response link to the company email address
Copyright and trademark information in small print at the bottom of every page.
We also include a "favicon" for your site

7. Photos, Graphics, Sound, and Video

Clipart tends to look a bit tacky on web sites. We recommend photos or custom graphics for a more professional look and feel.
Stock photos can be obtained from ClipArt.com and other stock photo sites for a small fee.
Your web site can also include sound, video animated GIF images. We make animations for an extra charge, Shockwave Animations, Flash Animations.  Video, keep in mind these make for a longer page load.

8. Response Forms

What is the purpose of your response form?

__ Guest book for visitors to record comments
__ Request for information
__ Survey of customer preferences

Note: We do not set up sites that use the response form as an order form, but we can provide an E-commerce solution if needed.

We recommend to our clients using our web hosting services since we can tailor it to your specific needs and assist you if you have additional needs; however this is not a requirement. We have worked with dozens of hosting services. However if we are not hosting your site we require FTP and / or Telnet access to your site in order to complete the installation and set up of your web site.

9. Registering and Advertising Your Web site.

We submit your information and website to the top Web search engines to "register" your website., we work with you to get 50 to 100 keywords and a carefully constructed sentence that contain the most important keywords.  We use SEO so that your site is easily “crawlable” by search engines as well as provide a site map page and sitemap.xml file at no extra charge.

10. Statistics

We also provide you with comprehensive statistics and information about the number of visitors to your website, which site they came from or were referred from, how they found you, what pages they were viewing and more. This can be valuable information to help tweak your search engine optimization as well as learn what your customers are interested in.
We do not usually include page counters on our Standard Website. Packages as they look tacky but will provide you with one if you desire.

11.  Social Presence

We can incorporate your social media presence with your website as well.  Twitter feeds, Google+, Google Hangouts, Facebook etc…

11. Maintenance

All of our prices include minor updating over the first three 3 months of the contract. This covers minor price changes, product changes, etc. It does not include major changes, such as changing newsletter content, new layouts or new graphic designs.

12. Some Other Considerations:

Give customers a good reason to come back to your site by offering them something, daily or weekly specials, news tips or other useful information that changes periodically, web only offers or discounts..
Finding industry-wide linking pages and negotiating reciprocal links to and from their Web Pages.
Purchasing Web advertising
Becoming active in several of the thousands of Internet news groups and mailing lists
Developing a "signature" mini-ad attached to all your e-mail messages
Making your web site. part of one or more of the many "malls."
Including your e-mail and Web addresses on all your company's print literature, stationery, and display advertising
Periodic Op-in E-mail newsletters

Please provide by email or other media the content in an editable form i.e. MS Word etc… for the pages you desire.  We will help you with this if you do not already have these.

Content Description

File Name for Text

Photos or Graphics

Home

About the Company

Contact Form

Services

Products

News Release

Investor Relations

FAQ

Newsletter

Other

Other

Other

Web Safe Colors?

Some years ago, when computers supported only 256 colors, a list of "Web Safe Colors" was suggested as a Web standard, reserving some fixed system colors giving you 216 web safe colors. Though this is not an issue for today's modern computers it may be an issue for some lower end mobile phones and mobile devices.

This is not as important now, since most computers can display millions of different colors, but for the best cross browser and device compatibility it is wise to consider sticking with these, the choice is left to you.

The cross-browser compatible color palette was created to ensure that all computers and web browsers would display the colors correctly.

Website Planning Guide:  You can dowload the MS Word File or a PDF version