Planning the Perfect Website
Planning is everything regarding your future website. Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
If you don’t plan, the execution doesn’t matter. Make the process of building a website easy with these steps to plan and prepare.
Ask the Right Questions
Planning the perfect website doesn’t involve just the technical and creative aspects. You need to ask yourself the right questions before choosing the building blocks of your new platforms. Before you pick one template, web host, or even color, ask these five questions to start running in the winning direction:
1. Who’s Visiting?
In the same way, a writer speaks to an audience, your website should speak to the person you think will visit the most. If you try to speak to everyone, your website will end up with no one. A trick is to picture one person you know who falls into your target demographic and create the website specifically for him or her.
2. What Are Their Questions?
If you own a restaurant, your visitors will want to know the location, hours of operation, specials, and what’s on the menu. If you own a computer repair shop, they’ll want to know prices, parts, and so on. Anticipate the most frequently asked questions and start building your content there.
3. What’s the Call to Action?
What do you want your visitors to do once they arrive at your website? Is it a landing page to direct them to your store or restaurant? Should they sign up for a service or order a product? Make the primary function of your website easy and straightforward without the visitor having to think twice about it.
4. How Will They Stay Informed?
There’s a fine line between being stuck in the dark and getting overwhelmed with noise, and you want to find that sweet spot in the middle. Don’t let your site become a one-and-done resource for visitors but a reason to keep coming back—whether it’s an email list, blog, consistent updates, social media outreach, or more.
5. How Will They Get There?
An easy detail to overlook, but possibly the most important. How will your visitors reach your website? Chances are they’re not typing in your domain name manually, so plan out the paths to arrival with anything from advertising to social media. The idea here is that your website should be just one click away from several touch points.
Once you’ve figured out those five questions, you should now have a clear goal in mind with what you’d like your site to accomplish. It’s time to start planning it all out.
Search Template & Design Galleries
The best way to figure out what you want for your site is to look through as many websites as possible. Search for other companies in your industry, browse your favorite brands, and explore template directories with live demos to piece together inspiration for your creation. Don’t worry about being original or copying a good idea. The most important factor here is to use what works.
Start a Vision Board
Piece together the elements you like from different resources and pin them on a vision board. You can keep documents in a folder, but it’s helpful to print out what you like and lay the pieces out on a physical cork board to get a real idea of what your website could look like.
Build a “Business Plan”
Any business owner or entrepreneur is familiar with this concept. Just like a good business needs a plan of action before spending a dime, a website also needs a road map before construction begins. After all, that’s what planning the perfect is all about—preparation.
Start with a monthly calendar, either digital or paper, and build out the major steps for building a website leaving realistic time between each step:
- Domain purchase
- Web hosting
- Template purchase
- Setup & installation
- Images & photography
- Editorial calendar
- Content creation
Remember that these are just the major steps and that details will fall in between. Also, do not marry yourself to the dates you set as there will always be a need for flexibility (but try to stick to them as best you can).
Now that you’ve asked the right questions (and hopefully come up with the right answers), discovered your favorite websites from other companies, and planned out the steps on your calendar, it’s time to start putting together a website of your own. Read our guide on getting started with a website builder if this is for your business and look through our other resources for help along the way.