Planning a website can be a headache for businesses and agencies alike and while a one size fits all approach rarely works, we have put together these 6 steps to help keep you on the right track. If you are wondering how to plan a website then this article is for you!
At AIMS Media we have been offering web design Glasgow loves for over 16 years. Over the years we have developed a lot of experience in managing the web design process from start to finish. Loads of companies have asked us how to plan a website. This guide will help you plan your website in under one hour!
Step 1 – Work out who the customers are
Before designing a website it is important to understand who you are designing it for. If it a redesign of an existing website and you have Google analytics installed then this is perfect.
In analytics, you can use the audience tab to explore who is visiting your site. Google Analytics also collects, via cookies, a whole host of information about your visitors. Read more about Google Analytic’s audience tab at https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2799357.
However, if you don’t have access to this data and are just starting out using common sense. Guage the essence of your product, find competitors and figure out who they are targeting. Try and not copy potential competitors, rather use them as the baseline on which your website will improve upon.
Figuring out who your customer is is extremely important. Knowing your customer will help you to design a website that fits the customer’s needs perfectly.
Step 2 – Lay down the online business goals
This step is pretty self-explanatory. However, it is crucial to outline what the website aims to achieve. Is it sales (e-commerce)? Is it to share your ideas (blog)? Is it to promote a local business?
Will the business exist to generate direct revenue via online sales, generate leads or benefit from on-site advertising or affiliate links?
These aspects heavily influence design and functionality.
Step 3 – Map out the site
This is where we start to look at how the site will look.
Think of all of the services, product and articles you want to showcase on your website. Write them out and organise them by category then map them out like below.
This process helps you identify which areas of your website need content and allows you to plan this into the timescale and workload.
Step 4 – Identify Functionality
For your website to work the way you want it to you need to sit down and think about what requirements your website should meet.
This can include simple things, for example:
– do I need a checkout?
– do I need an enquiry form?
To more advanced things, for example:
– do I need a caching system?
Identifying functionality at the beginning of a project is essential. Tons of websites are launched daily that simply don’t meet the requirements of a business. Working this out at the start helps you get the most out of your website without paying for or implementing edits.
Step 5 – Identify your budget for this project
This step will help an online agency gauge the scope of the project. Obviously setting a budget and discussing this with an agency allows you to set your expectations for the end result.
Step 6 – Assign staff responsibilities
Assigning someone for copywriting, taking images, project management and liaising with the agency is imperative. Launching a site is pretty exciting! Naturally, you want your site up as quickly as possible. Assigning staff responsibilities helps you to get everything off the ground and get information over to your web designer as quickly as possible.
Agencies can be busy designing other people’s websites and it may take some time before they get round to designing your site. Having everything on hand can speed up the whole process.
Step 7 – Get an estimate
The final stage in planning your website is to ask for an estimate. This will allow an agency to draw up a contract and get the ball properly moving.
How to plan a website in under an hour summary
- Work out who the customers are.
- Outline the businesses goals.
- Map out the site.
- Identify functionality.
- Set a budget.
- Assign staff responsibilities.
- Get an estimate.
After completing these steps and meeting to discuss the design of your website with the web agency your site should be well underway.
It is now time to consider growing the business online via digital marketing; SEO (search engine optimisation), social media marketing, email marketing, PPC (pay per click) marketing, mobile marketing and online video marketing.