Like all building anything you need to spend a lot of time on the foundations of your project.
Whether you are building the site yourself or using a professional designer, spending time in ther planing stages will save time and money.
I find it helps me tremendously to jot ideas down in a notebook as they come to me.
The first thing is to think about what you wish to achieve with your website and who are your target audience.
The look, feel, navigation and media used in your design will be depend on what you wish to achieve with your website.
Organize folders in which you add and keep information and materials for your Web site:
a physical folder with photos, brochures, company logo, written materials
a directory folder on your computer with text for your Web site, digitized photos, images, logos, and other pertinent information
Look at as many Web sites as you can that are related to yours in some way. This will not only help you see what your competition has going and an overall perspective of Web sites in general, it will also help you brainstorm for your own site.
Make note of the following:
Web sites that you like and why.
Web sites that you don't like and why not.
Navigation should create a flow for information. Make it easy for your visitors to find information quickly. There are now millions of sites on the internet and web surfers will quickly leave your site if the information they require is not easy and quick to find.
Don't forget that content is crucial. Fresh original content.
Now that your site is up and running. Maintenance is an important step to keep your content , fresh and up to date. Doing this will keep your visitors coming back.