You may be on your first website. But more likely you're faced with redesigning a website that isn't functioning as well as it should. I see 12 vital decisions involved with developing a website, and I want to explain them with you in mind:
You're the owner or marketing director of a small business and know that getting your website to pull its share of the load is vital for success. But your budget is severely limited!
You've just been assigned the task of redoing your company's website. Congratulations, now you can be blamed if things don't work well. smile
You've volunteered to take on your church or organization website and make some sense out of it -- without offending the person who built it in the first place.
This time around you've decided to outsource the job, but you have no idea of how to supervise a design company to make sure it does what you need. Good luck!

I want to help. When I built my first website in 1995 at the very beginning of the commercial Web, I didn't have a clue how to proceed. In those days there was no one to guide me. I've made every mistake you can think of -- some more than once, I hate to admit.

Since then I've built and assisted with dozens of online stores and hundreds of websites for all kinds of businesses and organizations, from mom and pops to major corporations and international organizations. I don't design websites for others these days, but I actively develop and maintain my own site.

There are twelve critical places in building a website where you must make the right decision, or you'll have to repeat this task again and again until you get it right. I won't be talking about how to write HTML; I want to help you with the mindset, the basic approach. I want to take you by the hand and lead you through the critical decisions. The better you grasp these essential points, the better your website will work and the happier camper you'll be.

Okay, let's roll up our sleeves and get started. By the way, why don't you print out this document and then mark it up with your thoughts and ideas as you read. It's designed to serve as a worksheet to clarify your thinking and provide direction at various stages of the project. If you decide to outsource the project, you'll want to share a copy of your marked-up copy of this document with your website designer. Print it out!