Planning a website should be considered before you start coding
Planning is important for any project as it allows you to set out goals and methods to achieve these goals. A plan will allow you to analyse what you want to achieve and produce logical "steps" to get there. This is not only the case for web design but many other areas of life in general.
Consider the credit crunch and financial plans. If you don’t plan a course of action to achieve financial stability in hard times, you may well end up with financial troubles. Planning for anything allows one to see not only goals you want to achieve, but potential problems and barriers you may come across when try to achieve them. If you know there may be a problem, dealing with it becomes far easier.
Planning a website helps the web developer
Benefits planning web designs brings to a web developer are similar to the benefits above. Knowing everything that is required for a web site takes thinking about. Planning allows to to do this in a structured way. Setting out what the site should achieve and then producing steps to do what is required. This should all be done with and agreed about with your client, if there happens to be one.
Planning helps the client and the web designer
The benefits for a client include understanding more of about what can be achieved with a web site. To this they may have to look at their own customers. Gaining knowledge of their customers through analysis will be beneficial to them in many areas of a business. Also, it can be said, when you can see your goals, you are more likely to achieve them.
Take a client who believes their target audience is everyone in the world. Getting hold of that audience is not really realistic in the modern world, through the medium of the web or any other. If a client can see it may be more realistic to target a segmented market, then they benefited from the thought that goes into planning. Targeting a segment and then moving on to a new segment could be considered more realistic. This type of customer information should be included in your plan.
So, planning give us goals and ways to achieve those goals. It brings to light barriers and methods of getting around those barriers. Many areas of life and business can benefit from planing not just web design. Setting off on a project without a plan can just lead to chaos. Planning allows a web developer to use bring structured method and analysis to a project. Planning may well open the eyes of a client as to what is and what is not realistically achievable. After a plan has been acted upon, it may well set other plans in motion to achieve goals that were, initially, just dreams.