Mapping Your Route to a Successful Site

When people opt to build a new house or commercial building, they don't just hire a contractor, bring over the concrete and tools, and say “Go for it.” Before construction even begins, they craft a carefully detailed plan that they review, edit, and approve. Your Web site should be treated the same way. The best sites aren't dreamed up by eccentric designers and thrown together quickly. Good sites require a clear road map from the people who run the business to ensure that the focus of the business is never lost.

Thinking about your Web site before you start its design is important. Start by making a list of all the functions you want to provide on your site. If you're tempted to believe that your site has just one function — to sell stuff — we encourage you to break down that function into subfunctions, by answering these questions:

  • What kinds of products do you want to sell? The number and organization of pages you have on your site depends on the makeup and complexity of your products or services. For example, you should have at least one page for each category of product.
  • How many distinct categories of products will you sell? You might need a separate page for each product category. Think about splitting up categories such as consumer electronics and computer products, for example.
  • Will customers be able to create an account on your site? If so, you need to provide a page where customers can log in, update their personal information, ...

Get Starting an Online Business All-in-One For Dummies®, 3rd Edition now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.