Preparing a Website Development Plan

Planning New Website? Write A Development Plan!


Website Design Building A Successful Website


Preparing a Website Development Plan – You just had a great idea for a new website. So what’s next? Write a plan! You must prepare a summary with detailed requirements for your new website.

A written web development plan will help you find the best company that meets all your needs and budget. One of the most critical aspects of your Website Development Plan is to help you determine the development cost.

Without a well-defined plan and knowing key questions to ask, you fall into the trap of having your web vendor over-promise and under-deliver. Here are some steps you can take to create a solid Website Development Plan and ensure your web designer has a clear picture of what to do.

Summarize Your Website Concept

Describe what purpose your website serves.
1. Is it an eCommerce site, social networking site, web directory, music website, Blog, or another type of website?
2. Summarize your idea/ For example: ‘This will be a new eCommerce website design that will provide designer umbrellas. My demographic will be women 20 to 40 years of age.

Before you get too carried away, create a MUST-HAVE LIST of website items and a WISH LIST. Your ‘must-have list’ should contain the basic requirements for your new website.

Your ‘wish list’ will be all the bells and whistles you want as your budget allows or your website scales.

Describe How Your Website Works

Describe how your website works. Outline the functions of your website from a user’s perspective. Describe the flow as if someone is visiting your website for the first time. See some sample descriptions below.

Ecommerce Web Site Development
Shoppers will browse our website’s single main category for umbrellas. Initially, there will be ten different designer patterns. We will provide photos for each.

For the detailed product page, users may select different sizes and designs. A typical details page will contain the following:
(Main photo and gallery photos)
Product Name:
Size and Designer Pattern:
Comment Area

Coupon Web site Design

Explain how the website will work in detail.
1. Is it a digital coupon website?
2. Can the coupons be printed?
3. Who creates the coupon art?
4. Can you or the client change the coupon value?
5. When does the coupon expire?
6. Who uploads the coupon?
7. How is your website categorized for the coupons?
8. What cities, regions, or states will you serve?

Video-Sharing Site Design

Explain how the website will work in detail.
1. Who can upload a video?
2. What is your maximum file size allowed?
3. Will you display videos on your website?
4. Can people comment on videos?
5. Can members upload or embed videos from 3rd party websites such as YouTube?

Real Estate Website Design
Explain how the website will work in detail. List out all the things you want to incorporate.
1. Do you want to have an advanced search function for properties?
2. Will you want to show Google Maps or other maps?
3. Will you want a BlackBerry, iPhone, or Android application that sends listing alerts to subscriber users?
4. Do you want to integrate your local MLS feed?
5. Do you have the developer information for your MLS data feed?

Association Web site Design

Explain how the website will work in detail. List out all the things you want to incorporate.
1. Do you want to have an advanced planning calendar?
2. Do you want to share, post, and notification features for your calendar?
3. Will you want to have event sign-ups?
4. Will you take payments for events?
5. Do you want to post surveys or online tests for certifications?
6. Can a user stop in the middle of the testing application, log back in, and resume where they are left off?
7. Will you want to track testing results?
8. Will you offer any printable certificates if they complete the testing?

NOTE: It would be helpful for you to create a box diagram or PowerPoint for each of your website pages to outline your website in detail.

Website Navigation

Think about the other pages you want on your website and provide a rough outline for these—for example, Our Company, Customer Inquiries, Shipping & Returns, and Terms of Use.

Look at other websites for ideas for pages or navigation that you might want to include in your new website. If you have sub-pages or sub-navigation that is part of your global or main navigation, then create a bulleted list as follows:

Our Company
Meet the Executive Team
Our Core Values
Professional Certifications
Our Associates

E-commerce, Advertising, and Other Monetary Concerns

If you have an eCommerce website, you will profit from the products sold. But it would help if you also asked yourself these questions:
1. Will you advertise or display other ads, such as Google Ad Words?
2. If you have advertising, will you manage the advertising sign-ups manually, or will you want to automate this process?
3. If you automate advertising sign-up, how in-depth a sign-up and management process will you want to offer?

NOTE: For any website processing credit card information or collecting sensitive personal information, such as a loan application website, ensure your web hosting offers an SSL (Secure Socket Layer or HTTPS).

Processing Credit Cards Online

The secure online systems that process credit cards, e-checks, and the like are called merchant gateways. Two popular merchant gateways are and Pay Pal Merchant. There are many others as well.

The average cost for a merchant gateway is about $30.00 per month, whatever the current percentage cost agreement is with the major credit card companies. Pay Pal offers a no-monthly cut-and-paste eCommerce solution for simple eCommerce websites for online product purchases.

Email Replies and Online Communication

Think through the complete process of any sign-up or purchase feature in your planning. Does a customer or member get any confirmation emails?

Think about how your emails will look to your customers. If you have an advertising module, will you want to email advertisers 30 days, 15 days, or five days before their ads expire? Will you offer auto-renewal billed to their credit card?

Webmaster Administrative Control

The administration part of your website is where you manage the different parts of your website. If you are allowing comments, not everyone plays nicely with others.

Will you want to reserve the right to remove inappropriate language? Think about these types of functionalities you require as the top-level administrator of your website.

Search Engine Optimization

You will want to create a list of SEO search phrases for your website. If you had a website selling extra-large cowboy boots for men, you might create a search phrase or ‘keyword list’ as follows:

– Extra-large cowboy boots for men
– X Large cowboy boots for men
– Big-size cowboy boots for men
– Cowboy boots for big men and so on.

If you were selling cakes locally, then you might create a keyword to include your state and city/county as follows:
– Wedding cakes, bridal cakes Reno, NV
– Wedding shower cakes, Las Vegas, NV, and so on…

Logo, Domain Name, and Over-all Design Concept

1. Do you have a logo?
2. Have you decided on a website domain name?
3. Have you decided on the look and feel of your new website?
4. It helps you browse the web and send any websites you like to your designer so they have a creative ‘jumping-off point.

Web Copy, Photography, and Video

Do you have a website copy, photos, or video? The most important of these is your website copy. Yes, people read content on websites. And if your copy reads like an 8th-grade summer report, it will reflect poorly on your business.

Even if you have mastered comma punctuation with conjunctive adverbs in simple sentences, you may not be able to capture the breadth and scope of your business as much as a professional copywriter can.

A good copywriter who understands websites can write informative copy and find you in search engines. Photos and videos are just as important.

Nothing looked worse than a biography photo shot in the office, which looked more like a mug shot. The same goes for video. Most do-it-yourself videos have that grainy ‘bank security look.’

Buyer Beware

Your contractor should educate you on existing applications customized to fit your needs. These include Dot Net Nuke, Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, and Magento.

Sometimes, using these 3rd party software applications in your website development makes perfect sense versus custom programming written from scratch. 3rd party applications help to keep costs down depending on your programming needs.

Doing Your Homework Pays Off

NOTE: Ask your web designer if they have experience programming multiple applications. If they sell you on one particular software, ask if they have the programming experience to modify or customize the software to fit your specific needs—case in point.

Joomla software has one super admin login. Let’s assume you are a business owner selling computers on your website. You want to give your employees login access to website customer inquiries but not the entire website.

Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More

Even the best technical plan is going to miss some points. Our web developers will help with your requirements questions to help you fine-tune your planning tightly. Now, you can move forward with the confidence you have performed your digital due diligence!


VISIONEFX  is a professional web design agency that strives for excellence. Our best-in-class web development team crafts complete online branding and a unique digital experience for your custom website. Also, we integrate online marking tools and optimize your website for success.

We are a ‘full-service web design Virginia Beach web agency. VISIONEFX. And we can take your website to a whole new level of excellence.

Please be sure to read our Google Reviews. See what our customers have to say about VISIONEFX.

For more information about our website services, you may contact us at 757-619-6456 or online.

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