Planning your Website: Crucial Steps Before Seeking an Estimate

Clients often approach web designers with vague requirements. This is a recipe for disaster that results in inaccurate cost estimates and projects that take forever to complete.

Following these steps to plan your website project will safeguard your development process and may save you a lot of money.

1. Do your Research

2. Create a Realistic Budget

Look at the sites of your competitors, noting which ones appeal to you and specifically what you like about each of them. Perhaps you will like the color scheme or layout on one and the types of articles on another. This will also give you a sense of what pages and content you need on your own website.

3. Create a Sitemap

Use a free tool like WriteMaps to create a sitemap. The software is very easy to use and a good sitemap will greatly improve your chances of getting an accurate estimate from the web designer.

4. Contact Forms

If your goal is lead generation, what information would be useful to collect from potential customers? Sketch out the fields you want in your forms.

5. Website Features

Create a wish list of features you would like on your website. Note which features are essential "must-haves" and which you would like to have implemented if affordable. 

6. Communication & Engagement

Article/Blog Comment System
Contact/Lead Generation Forms
Discussion Forum
FAQ System
RSS Syndication
Social Sharing Buttons
Social Media Integration

7. E-commerce & Special Markets

Booking/Reservation Systems
Classified/Jobs Board
Event Calendars
Event Registration
Paid Subscriptions
Product Catalog
Real Estate Listings
Searchable Directory
Shopping Cart

8. Content Presentation

Document Management
Image Rotators
Photo Galleries

9. Advertising/Affiliates

Affiliate Product Integration
Banner Ad Management
Google Ads Integration
Sponsor Display

Once you are familiar with your needs and would like to request a free no obligation Web site Design Consultation

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