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December 15, 2010

Planning Your Website – Essential Prep

Before you dive off in your quest to find a website, you need to think about planning, researching and brainstorming your idea.

As you plan your shiny new website, you will understand the need to explore every avenue of your online business so that you are fully prepared. The work you do now will be reinforced along the way.

Naming Your Site

By now you’ll have an idea for your website; Your ideas may have been stewing away in your brain for many years or it may have only popped in for a visit recently and something made you pounce on it.

Before we go into planning your site, one of the first things to consider is the name. Many entrepreneurs have realized the viral effect naming can have on a business. When you go through the process of brainstorming a name, you will come up with all sorts of concoctions.

Domain Names

The most important thing about domain names is: firstly you MUST own it and secondly, find a name that you can use for viral and optimization purposes as well. My book has a lengthy section on how to find a successful domain name. It also explains the difference between a bog standard name and a descriptive, keyword-rich domain name. And it gives you a run down on international versus country domains. Pop over to Amazon if you can’t wait to find out more!


A cool tool to brainstorm is mind mapping. Buzan’s iMindMap brainy piece of software hosts a range of features designed to make you more productive and creative in the way you think.

Mindmapping is like a giant Octopus with colorful tentacles, images and icons that allow you to add notes and links to a range of files.

When brainstorming chapters for my book, I drew up an iMindMap to generate new ideas quickly and effectively and to store them in an organized way. This screenshot illustrates how it can help you to plan and record spontaneous bursts of inspiration, as well as to explore promotions for your future website.

Score Goals

If you haven’t already done so, you will need to set goals and objectives. This way you can establish the exact aim of the site or your potential business. You may have grand plans to sell this brilliant idea of yours for a cash bomb with an exit strategy after a number of years. You might want to manage a small and cozy family business over a long period. Maybe you need to run your online business while working a day job or alongside another business.

Whatever it is you want to do, you need to aspire to something in order to achieve it. Recognition of your aspirations and actually visualizing it, will lead to achievement and result in success.

Niche describes a ‘niche’ as “a place or position suitable or appropriate for a person or thing and having specific appeal.”

It’s really important to find your niche and now is the time to research it.

For example: you may be a photographer, so what’s niche about that? Well, maybe you specialize in underwater photography or newly born babies. If you’re a commercial photographer your niche may be shooting scenes such as factory equipment, food or rock concerts.

My Partner and I set up a niche job board (screenshot) that is dedicated to flexible jobs working from home. Take a peek at Remote Employment to see how we found a niche appeal to s specific audience.

Above all, you should only ‘niche’ it up if you love your chosen web concept and you know a lot about it. Don’t settle with a topic you’re unsure about just because you think it will make money. Do what you love the most, where your passion will ride waves and your energy will be unstoppable.

Testing The Market

Research is vital for any project, especially for a full throttle online business. There is a multitude of sites out there so you need to know exactly what you are getting into before you rush ahead, spending money on a fancy website, only to find there are several hundred already doing the same thing. Flip through Create A Successful Website to find a quick test on how to test the market and you’ll find a list of research examples along with loads more content.

Prepping up and setting objectives at this stage will pay off later on. Brainstorm all possible avenues of research so you get all the ‘must do’ tasks out of the way because we are now heading into some pretty exciting stuff.

Best wishes for your website!

Paula Wynne is the bestselling author of ‘Create A Successful Website‘. She offers practical workshops to help you succeed in your online business. Read more at www.paulawynne