How to Plan a Website the Right Way

How to Plan a Website the Right Way

As a business owner, you may know that having a website is key to doing business online. But knowing the importance and designing an effective website are two different things.

The Problem with 5 Minute Websites?

I’m always shocked at the commercials I see on TV and the Internet advertising how someone can build a website in as little as five minutes.  That may sound great, but here is my question to you… You just spent weeks, maybe months maybe even years planning or building your business, why would you only spend five minutes building a website that is suppose to help showcase that same business?

It just doesn’t make sense.  Your website will be serving as the first impression that a prospective client will see about your business.  Would you really want to trust that first impression to just five minutes’ worth of work?

In Business You May Only Get One Shot

The experts say that the average website has only a few seconds to capture the attention of a visitor.  If you miss, you may never get another chance to connect. So as you can see, your website has a big job to do, and it has to do it quickly. Some say in three seconds or less.  That is why a well-planned, beautifully executed website design is a must.  If done correctly, you will have a site that:

  • Is easy to use
  • Has name recognition
  • Will position you to attract more sales opportunities
  • Enjoy increased sales (and profits)
  • Showcase your brand 24/7/365
  • Best of all, converts visitors into customers

As you can see, your website must be designed to capture and hold attention and that takes some planning.

Don’t Forget to Focus on the User

I’m amazed at how often everybody’s needs are considered when a website is created, except the most important one… the user. While this may seem like an obvious thing it is surprising how often the visitors to the site are never considered.

When planning and designing your site make sure you spend some time researching and thinking about what the user will be looking for when they arrive at your website.

Some questions you might want to consider are:

  • What will the visitor be looking for?
  • How can I make my site easy to navigate and use?
  • What information will be valuable to the visitor?

Four Steps to Planning Your Website

When it comes to planning a website there are some basic but necessary things that need to be considered. If you make sure to take time to think through these steps you will be well on your way to creating a successful website.

Now let’s review the 4 steps I have presented as questions to you, that need to be followed to ensure a successful website design:

1. What is the Overall Goal of Your Website?
2. Who Will Be Your Target Audience?
3. How Will Visitors Navigate Your Site? What Pages Will You Need?
4. What Will Be Your Call-To-Actions?

Step 1: What is the Overall Goal of Your Website?

What are you trying to accomplish with the site?  Will your website be a fully functioning digital space where your current customers or potential new customers can come and find out more about your products and services? Is this going to be the place where they can come and interact with you? Or is this website just going to serve as no more than a digital business card where only basic information can be found like your business name, address and phone number along with a quick summary of what you do?

You should spend some time deciding what it is you are trying to accomplish with your site.  If you don’t set goals you will find it difficult determining if you are successful in your business efforts.

Step 2: Who Will Be Your Target Audience?

What are they looking for?  What are their needs?  These are the types of questions you need to be asking yourself.  One of the best ways to do this is to place yourself in their shoes.  You need to give some thought about how they think and what types of problems are they trying to solve within their business or life.

You don’t want to be to general where the audience you have targeted is too large.  Remember, you can’t be everything to everybody. Nor do you want to be too specific where the audience group you are trying to reach is far too narrow and there are not enough customers to sustain your business or endeavor.

Here is a really good article from Tommy Walker of the “Daily Egg” that goes in depth about choosing the right audience and How to Find Your Target Market.

Step 3: How Will Visitors Navigate Your Site? What Pages Will You Need?

Does your navigation flow?  Navigation menus help to gently nudge the visitor in the direction you want them to go while also, helping them find solutions.  At the very least you’re going to want to make sure that your navigational menus allow the visitor to get to all of the pages on your site with the fewest amount of clicks.

Your business website should have the following pages at the very least:

  • Home
  • About
  • Products/Services
  • Contact
  • Testimonials

Step 4: What Will Be Your Call-To-Actions?

What do you want visitors to do when they land on your website?  The best way to get a visitor on your site to do what you want is to just ask. As simple as this sounds, many businesses build pages on their website and produce great content but forget one thing… They never ask the visitor to take action.

Every page on your site should be designed with a CTA (short for call-to-action).  That action could be something as simple as clicking to the next page or signing up for a newsletter or ultimately, buying your product or services.  However, nothing happens unless you ask, so ask…LOL!

Want to learn more about calls-to-action? Check out these 7 Tips for a Killer Call-to-Action.

Take-a-Ways

While it shouldn’t take forever to plan and design your site, please spend more than five minutes.  Also, please note, this article was not meant to be an exhaustive guide on how to plan a website.  The purpose was to provide you with a few pointers so that you were not guessing about what it takes to create a value added site and the importance of planning.

Take the Next Step

Check out our WordPress info section, there you can learn about WordPress and why it’s the perfect software tool to build your business website.

What is WordPress and why is it right for you?

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