Are you looking to launch or redesign a website? It can be a daunting task to launch a website with some much to think about – content, images, design, flow, links…
The most important factor when thinking about designing a new website is to plan! Planning a website is just as important as creating one. Can you imagine building a house without plans? You draw up plans to ensure you build your “dream” home that is functional and works for you!
Preparing the groundwork for your website before you dive into the build will save you a lot of time and headache and will make the whole process much quicker and easier and will help avoid costly revisions. The planning process doesn’t need to be complicated. It’s more about asking yourself the right questions to build a solid foundation to accomplish your business goals.
Follow these simple steps to start planning your website:
Know what you want to achieve:
Establish the goal of your website. You already know what your business goals are, and with that in mind, determine what your website goal is. Do you want to build brand awareness, generate new leads, sell online, drive people to a physical store, create a blog…?
Be sure to set realistic measurable goals that you can evaluate once the website is launched.
Identify your target customer:
Determine your target market. Before launching a website, be sure you know your audience.
Think about who is most likely to buy your product or service and who you want to visit your website? Age, gender, geographic location, interests….
Think about what problem you are solving for them? What can you offer them to solve this problem? What is the best way to speak to them?
Understanding you market is vital in developing a website that appeals to them.
Plan the overall look & feel:
Define the look & feel of your website. What sort of design do you have in mind for your website?
Once you determine your target audience, it is easier to design a website that will resonate with them – think about colours, images, fonts…
Also seek inspiration around you. Think about websites that you use, in your industry and beyond– why do you like them? Is it the design, the colours, the layout or because it’s easy to use? Try to incorporate these qualities in your website design. And list the websites that you dislike and the reasons why?
Determine the content and structure you need:
List the content and the sections or pages that you need on your website. What type of content do you plan on including – will it just be text and images, or do you need to include video or audio content too? Are you considering adding a blog? Good content that is relevant to your audience is critical for a successful website. It is no longer sufficient to have content there, it needs to be educational and optimized for search engines.
Think about how to present the information to your audience – building a draft sitemap will help you organize the content for your website.
Once you’re identified the content you need, consider the features you want to include – social media integration, FAQ, online sales, appointment booking, live chat, contact form …
Ready to get planning?
Once you’ve completed the above steps, you’ll have a solid base to build a functional and successful website.
If you need help or advice with your website development, don’t hesitate to contact us. Bring along your planning guide and we’ll talk through it.