How to plan a website is a BIG HUGE QUESTION! But we wrote the book back in 2009 :-)
“By failing to plan, you’re planning to fail”
It’s been attributed to Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill, and a procession of ‘business gurus’. Whoever said it first, however, this quote couldn’t be more appropriate than in the bewildering world of the web.
The Website Big Divide
Few businesses plan their websites intelligently; rather, as often as not, they commission a site simply because they “thought they ought to have one”.In turn, website designers and developers are generally more concerned with the site’s look, feel and technical functionality than its commercial application.
You need to make sure that they clearly understand your commercial and marketing objectives – and also pick a professional team that has a track record in achieving this for their clients.
Small wonder that so many sites provide little more than ‘online brochure ware’.
Properly planned, your website should contribute, directly, to your business’ development – providing a global platform on which to:
- Build brand awareness and reputation
- Expand your market reach
- Generate, qualify and convert new leads
- Showcase new services
- Slash your marketing and transactional costs;
- Communicate with potential business partners, staff, Investors, and the media
- Deliver better and more timely customer service
- Sell more products more profitably; and
- Enhance the lifetime value of your customers
How to Plan a Website: It’s all about YOU…
The onus is on you to define your requirements: to determine what is achievable (in the context of your available budget, your customers’ needs, and your own online ambitions); and to create a detailed project plan, setting down
- Your aims and objectives
- to sell?
- to generate enquiries?
- to service existing customers?
- The content that you wish to include
- The manner in which you’d like that content to be presented
and of course:
- The desired technical ‘functionality’ – which, depending on the nature of your business, could comprise anything from a simple enquiry form to a full-blown online shop.
Setting down your technical, creative and commercial objectives in a language developers understand eliminates miscommunication – enabling you to put your website out to tender, confident that you’ll receive like-for-like cost quotations, backed by realistic delivery schedules.
And there’s more good news: effective website planning is a process, which can be easily learned.
What to consider when thinking about how to plan a website
The easiest way for us to help you make a start is with a list of considerations.
- Business profile
- Business objectives
- Business brand
- Keyword research
- Domain Name
- Web Host
- Business Email Address
- Customer profiling
- Customer Journey – objectives
- Website objectives & conversion requirements
- Professional Website/Blog Theme
- Navigation & usability
- Images and graphics
- Video and audio
- Copy that Sells
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Email Marketing
- Local Promotion
- Online Promotion
- Offline Promotion
- Social Media
- Google Apps
- Website Maintenance & Management
- Web Stats & Analytics
- Backup, Backup, Backup
- A Setup-by-Step Game Plan
The above list might seem a bit daunting but please remember, these are just considerations and you may be able to eliminate a lot of them. However we would like you to consider them carefully so that you don’t miss a trick.
An integral part of planning a website at the start is also consdiering the future and marketing and promotion of your business. This will also inform what you put on your website and the functionality you want to put in place from the start. For example, we always ask about email marketing as our methods of how to plan a website always include some form of data capture for this.
It’s definitely not a one size fits all and if you get stuck we are happy for you to book some time so you can maybe get unstuck :-) – Just one hour with us can sometimes make all the difference.
FOR FURTHER HELP – Please download our Real Results Website Planner here