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: