How To Plan a New Website
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were any decent websites.
Building a great website doesn’t happen by happy accident, it takes careful planning and forethought. If you don’t put in the groundwork, you’ll end up with something that isn’t fit for purpose, leaves people confused and doesn’t convert.
But don’t fear. Here at YUMYUM, we pride ourselves on being the go-to folks for digital marketing in Northampton and we’ve compiled a comprehensive step by step guide to planning your website.
Step 1: Strategy
A website is a marketing tool and as such, it needs to be aligned with your overall business strategy. Ultimately, your marketing is there to help you achieve your business goals, whatever they might be.
Set out your business strategy and work out how your website will help fulfil it. Ask yourself how many visitors you want, who you want those visitors to be and what you want them to do on your website.
Mine your business data so you’re familiar with statistics such as the proportion of leads that convert to sales. Having this kind of insight will help you map out what your website needs to achieve for you.
Make sure the goals you set are specific so that you can measure them over time. Google Analytics is simple to set up and allows you to monitor your website traffic and what viewers do when they are on your website.
Step 2: Decide Your Budget
It’s important to know what your budget is when you start so that you know what’s possible from the outset. It’s no good planning for a fully-immersive, interactive website if you don’t have the budget for it. Shop around but don’t just focus on price. A poorly-built website will probably end up costing you in the long run.
Don’t forget to factor in additional costs, such as web hosting, domain names and content production.
Step 3: Define Roles & Responsibilities
Building a website is a project and it will involve a group of people working together. If you’re not clear on who is doing what, then tasks might fall between the cracks or not be done properly. Like any project, make sure everyone knows what they should be doing, the level of quality expected and the timeframes they’re working within.
A website project could involve:
- a designer
- a developer
- a photographer
- a copywriter
- a videographer
- a Marketing Manager
- a CEO or Senior Manager
Step 4: Plan Your Content
A content strategy is designed to get people to your website and provide value while they’re on it, with thoughtful, well-targeted content.
Use your customer personas to work out what kind of content your target audience will find useful or engaging (or both) and plan how you’re going to produce it for your website over time.
Content comes in all shapes and sizes and can include blog posts, product reviews, videos or tutorials.
Step 5: Structure
Just like a building, your website needs a structure. What pages will it have and how do you envisage people moving through the site?
It’s important to consider how your customers will experience your website; it needs to be more than just a repository of information about what you do. Think of your customers first and the questions that might be running through their mind when they’re on your site. List the top 3 questions you think they’ll have and address them early on.
Primary pages could, for example, include:
- what we do
- our top products
- where to buy
Planning your site structure means you’ll be able to start working out what information will go where and how many pages you’re going to need.
Step 6: The Mock Up
A website mock-up is known as a wireframe. It’s often created in a design program such as Photoshop and gives you an idea of what your site will look like. It lets you play around with the positioning of text and images but doesn’t go into detail. It’s an opportunity for people to see what the website will look like before the design stage begins.
If you don’t have access to a program like Photoshop, there’s nothing to stop you from creating a mock-up on a piece of paper.
Step 7: Design
Your web designer is now ready to start designing. Web design includes both aesthetics and usability, and getting both of these right is crucial. Here are some factors to consider:
- use a font type and colour that is easy to read
- keep things simple
- consider what the viewer will see when the page first loads — important information should be at the top
- make sure your website works well on mobile devices.
- make sure your website navigation is clear and obvious
- don’t use heavy images or videos that take a long time to load
- make sure text, styles and colours are consistent throughout your website
- use concise copy — research shows that people skim-read websites
- make it clear to the viewer what you want them to do by having a clear call to action
- design for the future; if a product line will be expanding, make sure your product page is designed to accommodate this
Step 8: Testing, Testing, 123
Testing is a crucial step, both for quality assurance and usability.
First, make sure your website is working as it should. Test every page and every link on each of the most common web browsers and device sizes (mobile, tablet and laptop/computer). Look for images that don’t resize properly, strange formatting or dynamic content that doesn’t work.
Once you are happy that the technical aspects of your website are working, you should organise some user testing. This will give you invaluable feedback on how easy your website is to navigate and to understand.
That’s it, you’re done.
Now you just need to maintain it, keep on top of its SEO and keep your content up to date. At Yum Yum, your experts at digital marketing in Northampton, we can help you create a website that wows so you get those all-important conversions.
Speak to us today about how our website design team can help you get the best bang for your buck.
At YUMYUM we believe we’ve hit the sweet spot in affordable websites. We’ve created three packages with totally transparent pricing so you know exactly what you are paying for and what you are going to get. We always focus on your business goals first. Then we create a totally bespoke website design that will show off your business and help you achieve your goals.