What Do I Need to Start a Website Design

By on 05/13/2011

Starting a website project can seem like a daunting task, which could overwhelm you into insanity if you look at it as a whole.  But if you break the major pieces into smaller task, you’ll see as you get started, your website will pretty much plan itself.  So here is what you need to get started:

1. The Outline: So this piece will probably change, but it’s good to get your thoughts down on paper.  If you don’t know where to start on an outine, we have a free website design questionnaire to get the juices flowing.  The things you want to outline here are who is the audience, where are they, what do you want to tell them, what do they want to know, and what’s going to sell your business or service?

2. The Sitemap: Ok, so now you have an idea of where you are going, lets see how your going to get there.  Start putting together a sitemap of how pages are falling in the navigation tree.  This is a pretty important step, you want to put some thought into how users will see items, and how they will click on them.  If you can imagine a users coming into your website, whats the logical path you want to take them down.  A professional web design firm can help tremendously with this step.

3. Content Outline: Almost there, one more big step, although we have made it much easier.  We have where we want to go using the questionnaire, how we plan to get there using the sitemap, now lets put together a content outline.  If you have a current website, all you have to do is use the sitemap to match pages you currently have and figure out pages you dont have.  If you don’t have current site, you are starting fresh.  Start a word doc (or whatever you use), listing out the page titles from the sitemap.  Then bullet the main topics under each title, and write a descriptive paragraph about each. Now do yourself a favor and turn the outline over to a copywriter.  Have them touch it up and fill the content.  You’ll pat yourself on the back for letting a professional do it.  Your web design firm can most likely help you with this.

Images: One of the last task would be choosing images. Sometimes, you’ll have product images or shots you can use, but sometimes you will not.  One thing to remember is don’t take images from the web.  Someone owns them and will likely come looking for money from you.  If you don’t have images to use, go to a online stock photography source like iStock and pay the 5 bucks for the rights to use the images you pick.

So there you have it, a few simple steps to starting a web design project.  There is much more involved in the website development process, but these steps will provide a great starting point.

If your a client using a professional website design firm, these steps will help you be more involved and will get your own ideas injected into the project.  If your a web design firm, these steps will make the project easier and flow more smoothly.

Do you have an idea or step I missed?  Have a step you think needs to be added?  Post it in the comments below.

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3 responses to “What Do I Need to Start a Website Design”

  1. Aneel kumar says:

    Really great ideas, I appreciate your quality and content is very nice well worth reading..
    Well done.

  2. Really great ideas, I appreciate your quality and content is very nice well worth reading..
    Well done.

  3. Thanks for the great tips! I do have a question however that I think you could probably answer.
    I was wondering, Which field should I choose for part-time
    freelancing: graphic design, web development or web design? Is
    one the best in your opinion? Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

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