Remember those 2D effects used to create depth in the early video games? Where the…
How to Plan a Website in 5 Steps
Having a plan for your website is one of the most important parts of the design process. Websites are some of the most complicated projects that can be designed – they are basically small businesses, which is why it’s important to lay down the foundations before you start working.
The success of your website is dependent on how well you plan it in advance. If you skip this step, you may miss out on gaining valuable information which could produce a more focused website.
By following these five steps, you will be able to create an effective website that meets your organisation’s needs.
Let’s get started.
Identify your target audience.
A website can be a powerful tool for helping you connect with your target audience. However, the chances of your website achieving its potential to convert visitors into clients are significantly boosted if you take into account the needs and wants of the people who visit it.
Personas are fictional representations of website visitors – specifically, those that will be most likely to use your website. They serve as an invaluable tool in the planning and design process.
They give us a glimpse into real-world scenarios and motivations and allow us to think about our website the way our most important users would. Personas help us spot where we’re getting it wrong, so we can fix problems and make our website as effective as possible.
You can start by conducting a ‘persona’ interview. This helps you to get to know your target customers by talking to them directly and learning about their attitudes, behaviours and circumstances.
Set measurable goals.
A business website, like all well-made businesses, is designed to accomplish a set of functions. If you fail to define those functions and assign distinct tasks for employees, your website—no matter how cool it looks – will almost certainly fail to accomplish your goals.
Set clear expectations and make sure all employees know what they’re expected to do and how they’re expected to do it.
Your website aims to achieve something specific. You might want users to purchase something, sign up for your newsletter, or send you inquiries through the contact form on your website. You have plenty of goals to choose from. The important thing is that these goals should be measurable.
For example, you can track the number of users who’ve purchased products on your website through Google Analytics. Armed with this data, you can determine which products in particular are selling well and make future production or marketing decisions accordingly.
Research your competition.
If you run a local business, it’s worth checking out what your competitors are doing, as well as what other businesses in the industry as a whole are up to.
When it comes to attracting potential clients online and improving search engine rankings, creating something that’s as good as what’s already out there is no longer enough. You have to create something better.
You can start by identifying your top five competitors. How are their websites structured? How many words of content do their services pages and blog posts contain? What kind of images are they using?
The answers to these questions can serve as a guiding light for your website’s design and content.
For example, you might notice that a competitor has a popular blog post about a specific topic. You can write a blog post about the same topic, adding more factual data and expanding on points that they failed to fully discuss. You can also incorporate videos or graphs in your post.
Set a budget.
Many people start planning a new website without thinking about costs. This can be a big problem once you start working on the project.
The budget is used when planning the website functionality and when determining how much time and resources can be devoted to the project. When setting a budget for a new website, don’t forget to include a contingency fund for additional expenses that usually pop up during a project.
Depending on your budget, hiring a professional web developer for your website can be a smart decision. Many business owners today look to cut costs where they can and these attempts may result in inferior sites that hurt the brand reputation of a business.
Test your site once it’s live.
The planning process doesn’t end once the site goes live.
Testing your website is an essential part of the website development process that increases the quality of your website. If you do it correctly, you can improve your website’s bounce rate, engagement, newsletter sign-ups and more.
It’s important to test your site to find subtle bugs or errors that might be present or to track whether or not people are using your site the way you intended.
If you are building a new website or redesigning an existing site, planning is the first step. It can help you save time and money while making it easier to finish the creation process.
Need help revitalising your website? Cornerstone Digital is a web development agency in Sydney that can lead your ideal customer to your website. Call us on (02) 8211 0668 or email us at [email protected]
A self-professed book and digital marketing nerd, Darlyn Herradura focuses on building trust between customers and businesses with the written word. She understands that creating valuable content is the best way to get found online and happily spends her time doing that.