You need a website planning guide whether you are planning a small business website with only a few pages or an online store with thousands of products.
Your main priority should be to consider how that website is going to be found by your customers, but before you can get that far you have to make solid plans.
This planning guide will help you get started. Website planning can be a daunting task. If you do it properly, your website will achieve the goals you want for it; the style you're after and the functionality that reaps the ROI you hope for.
New to Website Planning?
Don't be embarrased! The internet is not new marketing ground but it continuously evolves and unless you live and breathe web development and internet marketing you can definitely be forgiven for knowing little beyond basics and hearsay.
Professional developers are very familiar with building effective websites or redeveloping them as necessary. As companies grow and gain new focus, they may need new technologies for communicating or selling. Perhaps your old website design is not performing, or has lost momentum.
Read through these steps, jot down all the headings and list the points under those headings which apply to you or your business.
This will help you to get started, and will assist your web developer to quote accurately on your project.
Define the Objective of your Website.
- Do you wish to generate income from a service or products - or both?
- Do you need to develop name recognition or enhance your company image?
- Are you developing a national or a local market for your business? (Will you want to attract customers from a global market; nationally, by state, by city, or by area?)
Define Your Website Audience.
- Are you selling products to the public, or to other businesses - or both?
- Will you be offering business-to-business (B2B) services or products?
- Do you want to offer expertise to other professionals in the field?
- Who, besides direct customers, might view or use your site? Competitors? Suppliers? Jot down scenarios in which different types of visitors come to your site and try to think about how you would address each of their needs.
Pinpoint Your Edge. What is your Niche?
- Is it a competitive angle: price, quality, service, and uniqueness of product or service?
- What is the primary point of differentiation?
- Will you want to do a better job of marketing than your competition? Can you bring to the table special products, knowledge, contacts, and sources?
Research Similar Websites.
- Look at similar organisations or businesses; websites dealing with similar services, products or even your supplier's websites.
- Make a list of websites you like and next to each link list what pages, functions, features, and design elements you like or don't like. This will help your web developer understand your style preferences, and the functions you consider most necessary. It will also help them to quote on your project accurately.
Consider Website Features and Functionality.
- Do you have a logo? Brand colours? You may need these to be designed if you are a start up company, or re-designed if your branding is looking tired and out of date.
- Special forms to gather leads, quote requests, general contact, questionnaires, etc
- Ecommerce shopping cart, or order forms?
- Do you want a content management package so you can update your site in-house? Do you have the staff or expertise to support that?
- Will you need video, audio, blog article?
- Which Social Media integrations will you require? Are your social media accounts set up, or will you require assistance with that?
- Have you considered what your navigation menu/s will contain? Will you need advice for this or do you have a clear idea?
- What special graphics, slideshows, tabbed navigation or content sliders might you need?
- Will you require email marketing integration? Do you have an account already or do you require advice and setting up?
Make a Budget for the Website.
A web site should be integrated into your existing and long-term business goals and not considered a one-time marketing expense.
Budget for the initial cost of site design and development, but do keep in mind that a stagnant website which is not properly marketed to your target audience will achieve very little new traffic.
Consider your Marketing Strategy.
- Coordinate your online and print media design plans.
Budget for search engine optimisation (SEO), Internet marketing, email newsletters and site announcements, as well as offline marketing like newsletters, postcards or other print media.
- Who will be achieving these goals for you? If you have no-one to do this, we will be more than happy to assist.
Register a Domain Name.
You'll need to find a Domain Name that is available and pay the annual fee.
- Questions to keep in mind are: Is it easy to spell?
- Does it reflect your company name or product line?
- Does the domain name match what your customers will be searching for online? The closer, the better.
- Will it show up well when used in print advertising?
Need help registering the domain name? We can take care of that for you at no additional charge.
Where will your Website be Hosted?
Server hosting is much more important than you might think.
- If you already have a website, is the host and the website speed optimised?
- Do you have an SSL Certificate?
- Do you have or need a CDN?
Assemble Site Content.
- Inventory the content you already have in printed brochures, flyers or newsletters.
- Collect graphics or photos you have for logos, signs, posters, products, staff or personnel.
- Get your product database or other materials you want on your web site and we'll put it together. Or, we can design graphics, compose the content, and create other material for you.
Set a Target Date.
Set up a schedule of when you plan to review, write or provide site content, who you have to meet with to make decisions, and a target date of when you want the site to be up and running.
We will be happy to work with you to help keep the development process on schedule.
Let's chat and get started. Call us at 0418 723 886 or contact us by email and we will call you.