How to Use the Information From the Site Plan
From this exercise, we’ve gathered a lot of information. You have uncovered information that suggests the layout and design your site. If you know your target audience consists of urban hipsters under the age of 25, you will probably want to design something that appeals to that demographic. That look could range from wild colors and crazy graphics to dark Gothic tones and edgy type treatments. If you are providing factual information about a serious subject, then you will probably want a more conservative look where the information is more important than a lot of pop and flash.
You probably already have a design idea in mind, or you may want to replicate the color scheme of your existing marketing material. It is a good practice to take a moment and use your demographic information and the purpose of your site to reconsider your design plan.
As you crafted your site’s mission statement and purpose, you probably uncovered the possible categories for your site. The topics and subjects you will be addressing in your blog and website are listed in your purpose statement. Let’s say your purpose statement said,
“The website will be dedicated to providing news and information on computers, web pages, and the Internet and cover the topics of computer tips, web page design, and Internet news.”
Your topics are your categories. Write your categories down below your purpose paragraph and notes about your web page design.
Now, what subcategories might be under these topics? Under Computer Tips, you might want to segregate them by Windows, Linux, and Mac. Or maybe Software and Hardware. You can have sub-sub-categories, but let’s stop with subcategories for right now. Write these down.
Remember the question about why you are doing this? Is it because you have valuable and timely information or knowledge to share; or you want to talk about a subject that interests you or, you just think it will be fun to explore a topic?
Understanding the timeliness of the information you want to present on your site helps you organize the information on your website. Your website is organized by several different methods. If the date of when you posted the information is critical to the success of the page, then having links to your posts referenced by date is important. If the information itself is more important and timeless, then having your posts referenced by category is the best choice.
Right about now, you should be looking at your scratch paper and realize that you have painlessly started laying out your website’s information structure. As you lay out your website on paper, consider whether you want both categories and dates, or just one of them in your sidebar. What information you have and how you want to help the user access that information is critical to your website design.