The Planning Phase is one of the most crucial and frequently time-consuming responsibilities of building a website. Regardless of the business you work for or the industry you are in, it is an essential component of website creation. You can build a website that achieves your objectives, improves customer retention, and boosts brand recognition by creating a thorough strategy. The likelihood of a poorly executed project increases if you don’t plan a project carefully.
It’s crucial to work together and guarantee that everyone is on the same page before beginning any project. The best way to avoid scope creep, which could later impact deadlines and budgets, is to have a clear plan in place and spot any potential red flags. Let’s get more into the definition of website planning, why it matters, and the steps involved in the planning phase.
What Is Website Planning?
The process of developing a website begins with website planning. This collection of ideas determines a website’s purpose, visual aesthetic, functional capabilities, and associated costs.
This procedure seeks to specify in great detail each step required to accomplish a key objective. Planning a website may give some elements more weight than others depending on your business or industry, such as user engagement, colour scheme, navigational efficiency, profile registration, or brand representation.
For instance, if you design an e-commerce website for a business that sells flowers to display its selection of floral arrangements, the website’s objective is to make sales. To make ordering simpler so that customers can choose items and complete their purchases with ease, you may give higher priority to the user interface and navigational features.
Another example would be if you worked for a news organisation and the website’s main function was to provide the news. Since visitors can search and read news stories without unneeded stylistic distractions, your strategy may stress colour schemes and straightforward aesthetics.
Why is Website Planning Important?
Planning a website is crucial because it enables you to create a clearly defined strategy that considers every step of the development process. Websites are extremely adaptable tools with various programming-based and aesthetically pleasing functional components that work together to achieve a certain objective. You may manage your team more effectively by defining the duties and responsibilities of each team member, defining more specific procedures to be followed, and avoiding any unforeseen difficulties or delays by arranging your plan of action.
Planning your website ahead of time will help you cut expenses and save time whether you hire an internal team or a third party. The more specific your strategy or directive, the less tension or difficulties your team might experience when developing it. It’s advantageous to devote time and money to planning a website to get high-quality outcomes that support the company’s goals.
What Are the Main Components of a Website?
Every website contains assets, features, and content, even if businesses may prioritise various stylistic layouts or target audiences when building one. These three key elements make a website more effective and guarantee that users can easily navigate it. Understanding each element’s purpose can help you integrate it into your strategy effectively.
The three primary components of a website are summarised as follows:
The stylistic decisions made by your design team are a website’s assets. These assets include colour schemes, images, logos, taglines, fonts, social media icons, summary statements, and illustrations. It is advantageous to identify and prepare a list of assets during the planning phase to ensure that your website’s look or theme is consistent with the company’s brand and objectives.
The structural components of a website’s features define a user’s journey and experience. When designing a website, considering the user’s journey will help you decide which navigational tools to utilise to offer a secure, simple, and intuitive experience. Menus, widgets, social networking links, online chat, a sitemap, in-page links, and interactive elements like comment and share buttons are a few of these features.
They also add internal features such as SEO infrastructure and automatic backups to build a functional website.
The information you provide to website visitors is referred to as content, which can take the form of text or multimedia. The main objective of your website is represented by its content, which draws and grows an audience. The type of content you feature on a website depends on your company’s objectives, your industry, and your target market.
Videographers, for instance, focus on showcasing their video work, news organisations prefer text-based content for breaking news, and interior designers might select a mix of text and multimedia content to educate customers and attract clients.
10 Steps of Website Planning
Building a successful website that achieves your goals and enhances a company’s brand requires careful planning. While objectives may vary by industry, using this list as a general guide will help you keep focused and organised. The nine steps of website planning are as follows:
1. Establish the Objectives for Your Website
Establishing your goals is the first step in planning the creation of your website. If you’re developing or revamping a website, consider meeting your team or managers to lay down the precise goals you want to achieve. All other planning-phase decisions are based on this purpose. Increasing online sales and customer satisfaction, generating leads, and growing the number of subscribers are a few examples of objectives.
2. Define Your Target Audience
You can identify your target audience by researching your customers’ behaviours, competitors, and market trends. It is crucial to collect as much information as possible about them to provide an experience that meets and exceeds the expectations of your potential consumers. Integrating audience input gives you more understanding of the features or content you can create to boost lead generation and customer retention.
3. Create a Strategy and Set a Budget
Making a strategy or plan of action is the next step after deciding your business goals and target audience. Consider giving thorough explanations at each stage of development, clarifying aesthetic preferences and practical aspects to cut expenses and save time. In order to create a budget that works with your resources and timeframes, you can seek professional guidance for design or logistical issues.
4. Create a Team and Delegate the Tasks
You can streamline the development process by knowing how to assign work to your team, whether it be an internal or a third-party team. Each team member may collaborate more effectively, fulfill deadlines, and produce the desired outcomes when they know their roles. Spending enough time putting together your team of web developers, graphic designers, coding experts, and user experience architects is something to think about.
5. Don’t Forget to Implement SEO
Since SEO directly impacts your online success and performance, it is best always to practise keeping it in mind. There is no better time to concentrate on SEO than when you create your website because it will ultimately help you save a lot of time. If you know what keywords you want to rank for, it will be easier to include them in your site architecture and design. Google Keyword Planner is a useful tool for creating a list of strong keywords.
Additionally, a mobile-friendly or responsive website is crucial because Google gives them a higher ranking.
6. Prepare a Content Strategy
You need to provide content that appeals to your target audience. You must ensure that the content is fresh, up-to-date, informative, engaging, and optimised for search engines. A website can be attractively constructed and designed, but if the content is lacking to support it and no one is visiting it, it is a waste of time.
You must also specify the types of content you intend to put on your website. Do you want to start a blog? Would you like to include a video? All of these should be taken into account when developing your website.
7. Create a Sitemap to Help Determine the Structure of Your Website
Create a sitemap to help determine the website’s structure. A sitemap is often a flowchart that begins with your homepage and breaks down the many routes a user can take to access the other parts of the site, such as contact information, the checkout page, and customer service. You may define the user’s journey through this approach, and you can then put designs into practice to lead customers in your desired direction.
8. Create an Aesthetic Guideline
Brand awareness is essential for customer retention whether you work for a new or established business. Making an aesthetic or style guideline for your design team to follow is a useful way to emphasise a brand. Each asset’s aesthetic should include fonts, colour schemes, graphics, website transitions, and sound. The more specific your guidelines are, the simpler it will be for the design team to execute your vision and provide a look that elevates the brand.
9. Build a Mock-up
The next stage is to build a mock-up once all the crucial components of your website have been identified. You can better understand the structure and appearance of your site by using a mock-up. It’s an effective way to represent the user experience and gives you information about potential adjustments you can make to enhance features and functionality.
10. Test Your Website and Keep It Up-to-date
Launch your website and test it using different browsers and gadgets, like a smartphone or tablet. Using this process, you can ensure the website performs as you intended and maintains a unified aesthetic. Before the website is live, you can address any bugs or inconsistencies.
It’s critical to maintain the site over its lifetime. You can evaluate its effectiveness, compile user feedback, and ensure the content quality is consistently excellent.
Start the Planning with Digital Rescue!
Your website serves as the online representation of your business and is an essential component of your marketing strategy. Because of this, the planning stage of any web project is extremely important. It establishes the framework and tone for a website’s success.
Working with a reliable web design agency in Melbourne, like Digital Rescue, is the best option for you. Don’t underestimate the importance of website planning. Working with the best in the industry is the way to achieve optimal success in the digital world.
Combining our web design expertise with leading SEO strategy by TopRankings, we can help you be positioned to experience unparalleled growth. Let’s do this! Book a FREE chemistry call today!