When starting to create a website I help companies devising the websites strategy.
The website represents a company, so it’s good to know the companies core values. How can the company be described in one sentence? This will be important for the websites message, tone of voice and the design. Since you can’t say it all you have to make choices, which makes this task harder than it looks. Common pitfalls are trying to say to much or using hollow phrases.
To create an effective website it is important to know what your websites goals are, who the target audience is and why they visit your website. Combined they determine the websites message. Try to make the goals concrete and measurable, and be specific in your audience. The clearer the goals, the more effective the website.
The websites message has to be converted into content. Decide which pages the website needs to have and how they will be organized. Always keeping in mind the different audiences and goals. This will be the starting point for the websites design.