How to plan a website
So you need a shiny new website, but are unsure where to start?
The weeks tick by and you’re no further into getting online. You get busy and before you know it another month has gone by and the project slips to the sidelines.
I’ve heard it all before, and by following a few simple steps we can figure out a quick and easy way to get you online as soon as possible.
Set some goals
What are your main goals for your website? What would you like to achieve? Think about your customers and target audience, look at the competition and make some decisions.
The rest of your content planning should focus on those goals. A goal might be to get more calls or leads, in which case we would create some clear call-to-actions and think about the flow of content. Another goal might be to get people to subscribe to a regular e-newsletter you are planning.
Keep it simple
The fastest way to feel overwhelmed with any project you start is to try and do too much too soon. You sit down with a pen and paper and start planning and before you know it you have a long list of amazing ideas and you might even start work on some of them before running out of steam and losing momentum.
If you have a big project in mind, it might be helpful to break it down into phases of delivery. For example:
- Stage 1 is the essential content you need to get your website online now.
- Stage 2 builds on the first stage and adds more as and when you are ready.
- Stage 3 is for when everything is ticking along smoothly and you want to add some more fancy bells and whistles to boost business now you feel confident being online. Maybe you add a regular e-newsletter at this stage, or a special offer or a forum.
Don’t fret about writing the content
Many people experience writer’s block when trying to write about themselves or their projects. We might over-think things and worry that by talking up our experiences we might come across as arrogant. It can be really hard to find that perfect balance. The best piece of advice I can give is to make your content customer focused as much as possible. Understand their needs, concerns, values and show how you can meet those needs with your wonderful skills and abilities.
Switch to bullet-points: If you are still finding it hard to write your content, then all you really need to do is write a list of bullet-points for each page of your website. The bullet points should summarise the most important details of your business goals, and information you would like the customer to know. That way your web designer or copywriter will be able to pad out the content for you and optimise it for search engines. All we need is a starting point to get going.
Quality not quantity when it comes to photography
It is better to have a few really good professional images for your website than hundreds of terrible ones and you should consider this as part of your overall marketing plan. You might need a couple of good images of yourself working or examples of your work. Ask some local photographers for their prices or I can recommend a few in the area.
For generic images your web designer will be able to source high quality stock images for around $15 per photo if you need a couple here and there, but I wouldn’t advise you to use stock images throughout the whole website.
Plan your website structure
This is where you plan how many pages of content you want on your website. Standard pages might be: Home – About – Services – News – Contact
You might be able to list all your services on one page, or if you require more details, each service might need it’s own page. You might want a blog, or you might have lots of upcoming events that need listing.
Write down your plan and remember nothing is set in stone and can be easily changed later.
I’ve created a FREE 10 page guide to Website Planning Made Simple, which you can download by subscribing to my email list below.
This guide will give you a good overview of the most important things you need to think about when planning a website such as:
- Deciding on your ideal customers
- Setting goals for your website
- Planning the navigation & structure
- Writing content
- Sourcing high quality images
- Online Marketing Techniques
- Ongoing Content Planning
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