Your 9-Step Guide to Website Planning
Planning and designing a web page is like constructing a building. You need to have the right kind of blueprints in place otherwise the whole construction goes bad. It’s like the popular saying “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”, it’s as simple as that. You’ll notice that without any kind of plan in place everything starts to go wrong, from things ending up in the wrong place to certain features being overlooked to just a lack of any kind of communication. With the help of planning out your website, things will be clear in everyone’s head, when things are due to which feature goes where.
The aim of this article is to help you plan out your web design in a few clear steps. It will act as a guide and show you how to plan a website. It will make sure that you come out the other side with a successful website.
1. Make sure your goals and purpose is clear
The first thing is to not confuse the meaning of purpose and goal with each other. The purpose is the intent you have with the website. Whether you want it simply for brand awareness and to gain publicity or is it to sell inventory? It could even be in place to gather support for a cause. You need to have these factors clear in your head. This will help you in the way you design your website but also help you target your audience properly.
The next is to establish your goals. Depending on the purpose of the website you can set certain goals for it. How many visitors do you want to receive? How much do you expect from sales? Things like this must be clear from the start so that you can then work towards that. Once you have set your goals you can start to analyze where you fall short or if you do achieve your goal then how can you repeat such an act. There are various tools online that can help in this matter.
2. Set a budget
This point is to be considered irrespective of whether you are a big-sized company or startup. Everyone has a certain budget that you cannot go over. Set your budget from the start and then work around that. Don’t think you will see how things go and pay later on. Do your research and see what are the various options out there. What falls within your budget and whether they have the capabilities to bring forth the best result for you within that budget. But don’t just go for the cheapest option. The money you save by going for the cheapest option might haunt you later when you have to pay for reworks.
3. Demarkation of the roles and assignments
Your team must be aware from the start of what their role is. The must be no confusion on this matter. They must know what is entitled in the job and what the timeline is for it. This will help in making sure that everything gets done and also that it is finished on time. The following are certain roles that are to be filled while developing a website:
- Web developer
- Company stakeholders
- HTML/CSS professionals
- Content writer/editors
- Graphic/ Web designers
4. Have a content strategy in place
When you are clear on the purpose of your website you can then focus on the content for your website. Depending on your content you can see what kind of content you want to provide to your visitors. Your strategy for your content is how you plan on presenting it over a period of time. This could include whether you want to have three blog posts a week or upload your quarterly report so that your visitors can download it. In case you lack expertise in writing then you can think of hiring outside help in this matter. Look for an experienced content writer in your particular field. The beauty of this is that it is not even important for them to be working in the same city as you, they could probably just send over the material via email. Here are a few different types of content that are normally included in websites:
- Blog posts
- An embedded social media feed
The layout of your website is very important. Once a person views your website they should not get lost. They should also not feel disconnected from the content of the message you are trying to put across. Make a plan as to where you want certain pages and what features are to be included. Another thing a lot of websites also have is the contact us page and the about page. The basic principle to follow is that the web pages should meet the need of your business.
6. Make a mock-up
Make a wireframe for your website with the initial design. This can act as the first draft of your website. This typically does not have to include too many details and is there to give you an idea of how the layout of the whole website will be. If you cant make the wireframes then even a simple pen and paper design can work!
7. Start the designing process
There are many elements in place for a good website. They need to be both aesthetically and in usability. The design elements have to be well-balanced. You need to have something in place which is easy to navigate and easy to read while also looking the best. For that, the fonts have to be the right size and the color should also not hit the eye too much.
For any kind of project, testing is important. While testing you will be able to figure out if there are any kinds of bugs or if you have missed any details. Test the website on all the platforms you aim for it to work on, desktop, mobile, or tablets.
9. Maintaining the website
Last but not least, once the website is live it’s not like your job ends there, you have to now maintain it. IT is an ongoing entity that will need your attention. You will also have to keep an eye on the metrics that are available like the bounce rate and unique visitors. Maintaining the site also includes posting blogs and other kinds of content. You will need to assign someone to look over these matters. And let’s not forget about site security. All these items come in once the website goes live.
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