Time spent at the planning stage of the project can result in a website which is logical, intuitive and easy to navigate. Alternatively, at the other end of the spectrum there is the dysfunctional, confusing and poorly structured site which leads to user frustration and a quick exit from the domain.
Deciding on the objectives for the site might help in its planning. Will it sell online? Will users be able to find the web pages and information they are looking for? Will they see any benefit in providing their email address?
These are some simple planning questions which, depending of the type of business and what it wishes to achieve through its site, might dictate the manner in which the site is laid out, the information it contains and the messages that occupy the primary positions.
Another important planning point is that of defining subject areas; deciding what the site will cover and what, if any, relationship individual sections will have with one another.
When planning the structure of a website it might be useful for drawings to be employed to show sections, linkages and the route a user would be encouraged to take to lead to some predefined goal for the business.
Items can then be moved, deleted and added without any significant expenditure being incurred. Seeing a graphical depiction of the site might also serve as a check on the focus it will have and the volume and weighting of each section.
By planning a website in this way and gaining a clear understanding of the structure, it increases the likeihood of providing the relevant content in the right place.