Whether you're planning to launch a completely new website, or want to debut a re-launch of your old site, you likely have questions about how to design a site that's intuitively functional, optimised for search engines... ..
Here, we're offering up the top 10 tips for website planning so you can get off on the right foot.
Website Planning Tip 1: Create a clear plan with achievable goals
We all love to dream big, but if you're creating or relaunching your website, make sure both your initial design and your growth strategies match your current phase of business.Start by clearly outlining three specific goals you want your website to achieve. Instead of saying, "I want to let people know about my business," narrow that focus to "I want to get 100 subscribers to my e-newsletter over the course of 1 month."Throughout the planning and implementation phase, refer back to these goals and ask if the task you're currently working on is in line with them.
Website Planning Tip 2: Find a site host that fits your requirements
Finding the right web host is an enormously important part of planning a successful website - and the reality is that it's just not an area where you should shop by price.Web hosting can affect various aspects of your site including speed and security, so it’s definitely worth the investment. A good hosting provider should also provide backups of your website and be readily available should you need to make contact.
Website Planning Tip 3: Optimise your site for lead generation
What good is your website if it is doing nothing for you? Right from the start you need to consider how your site captures leads. What will users do once they’ve landed on your site, and how will you leave them wanting more from your brand?Include strong call-to-actions, compelling content upgrades and, where appropriate, give them plenty of opportunity to leave their details with you by implementing booking forms, product designers, review forms and email newsletter signups.
Website Planning Tip 4: Make sure your site's security strategy is in place
30,000 websites are hacked every day - is yours next? If you haven't decided on a security strategy for your website, it might be time.Depending on your biggest security concerns, the type of cyber security you may need will likely vary. Do your research - nothing is worth losing your customer's trust, or having your reputation ruined because private information has been leaked.Use the planning stage as a preventative step against hacking. Because by the time it's too late, you'll really wish you had.
Website Planning Tip 5: Get your web tracking plan in place
You want to see how much time your visitors spend on your site, the number of hits you're getting, where your users are coming from, when they're leaving your site, your most popular landing pages, and everything in between.You won't have access to any of this information, which is an invaluable part of growing your business, without a visitor tracking plan in place.
Website Planning Tip 6: Create a backlog of content
Just because you're launching or relaunching your website doesn't mean it's OK to present users with a blank page.Start drafting blog posts now so that when your new site launches, users will spend more time on your website (helping to improve your search engine rankings), engage with you on social media, and bookmark your site.Brainstorm topics with your team, hire a content writer if you're stuck, and create a schedule for the future so you're not tempted to let your content fall by the wayside when things pick up.
Website Planning Tip 7: Select stellar photos for your site
It's not just written content that matters – both in terms of rankings and user experience.Hire a photographer to take pictures for your website or look into buying high quality stock photography.To help users really connect with your brand, consider having photos of your employees and bios up on your site too – show that you're "real people."
Website Planning Tip 8: Create a style guide for your website’s design
Whether you've taken a DIY approach to your branding or you have called upon an agency to help, make sure your site's design is consistent with your brand's image.Think about things like typography and font size, line spacing, what colours will represent you best and how repeated elements like buttons will look.
Website Planning Tip 9: Clearly define the pages on your site
Nobody has the time to wade through walls of text on a website to find what they need, and if forced to do so, users will likely bounce from your site onto your competitor's.Deciding on the specifics of your internal pages and defining a concise, easy to understand menu will help to ease the navigation on your site.Make sure you're including keywords in your page headers and URLs as this can help boost your website rankings.
Website Planning Tip 10: Set up your social media accounts
No matter how annoying you think your friends' Facebook posts are, when it comes to your business you're going to have to create social media accounts.Doing this in the planning stage of your website is crucial not just because you'll want to feature links to all your accounts on your website.It really matters because connecting with people you think might use your products or services will help to collect valuable consumer insights and define your target market.This all matters when deciding which social media platforms to develop the most, plus it can help you optimise your site for your ideal client.
Planning is important
As you can see, website planning is a vital part of creating a successful website. Hopefully these ten tips now give you a clearer picture of how to formulate a strategic plan for your website which will lead to increased traffic and conversions.Planning in the first stages will also get some of the difficult decisions out of the way early, freeing up more time for you to concentrate on what you do best.If you do need any further assistance with planning your website, we'd love to hear from you.