On the surface, this tip might seem a bit silly, but knowing what your goals are will go a long way toward helping you decide what kind of site you want to build, how you want to build it, and how much you want to invest in it. A site can be created to support a simple hobby, help earn you some extra spending money, or even as the focus of a full career with virtually unlimited potential.
Of course, like anything else, the more you want from it, the more you have to plan to put into it. A site that's meant to be small can usually be built fairly quickly, with minimal investment. In contrast, a site that you're anticipating making a career out of will likely take more time, more planning, and far more investment dollars.
Websites can be far more complex than most people understand. Here are a few reasons why:
And of course, one of the biggest issues will be whether you can manage the site on your own from the comfort of your home (or whichever coffee house you decide to take your laptop to) or if you need an office and staff to keep up with everything.
Most importantly, having a plan at the outset could save you significant amounts of time and money later on. It's not always easy to transition a small site with limited amounts of traffic into a larger site with higher levels of traffic. But the transition can be far less costly if growth is anticipated or planned out beforehand. In that case, the site can be built for expansion at the outset rather than built with the expectation of being small and staying small, only to realize later that it needs to accommodate more content and a larger audience. Without the right goal in place, growth could require a complete over-haul of the basic site structure—how it's programmed, and so on. Indeed, practically everything may need to be redone from scratch—a huge headache that could be easily avoided with proper planning!