Creating a website or blog should be a fun learning experience. If done correctly, the entire process can be successfully completed in 24 – 48 hours. In this section we will cover the basics every new entrepreneur should know to start their very own internet business.
The first and most important thing you will need to do is plan. Plan! Plan! Before you start thinking about what to write, it is important that you create a plan, which outlines what each page will contain (or at minimum what they will link to). That way you won’t repeat yourself or forget vital information. Since we have already discussed how to find your niche, the potential costs, creating your voice, how to register a domain, purchase hosting, read about different types of sites and compared the different content management systems available – it’s now time to start planning your site.
Site Organization or Information Architecture
Organizing a refers to arranging the pages and links in an order that makes sense to the user, the most important webpages of your site should link directly from the homepage. Anything you want a user to do on your site should be easily found from the homepage.
STOP MAKING YOUR VISITORS THINK SO HARD! Every website has a different design and since it’s your website, you will want to design it YOUR WAY and that’s great. You should, but not at a visitor’s expense. To ensure your pages are user friendly visit other sites you think work well. Make a list of what you like, what you don’t like and list of features you would change on your own site.
Layout Essential Homepage Elements
Determine what layout is appropriate for your intended website and audience. Do you want typical blog style? Two columns, Three columns?
Brand. Build. Sell. has three columns – one large column on the left and two smaller columns on the right. Most sites will have at least one right or left column (or sidebar). Information in your right column should be supplemental information like store hours, advertisements, secondary navigation, newsletter signup, login area, social media (which can also be in the header or the footer.
Below is an example of a two column layout, with a main navigation and secondary menu at the top next to a search form.
What kind of information do you want to display on your homepage? Which layout style will accommodate this information and is appropriate for your audience?