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Website Planning Guide
10 Step Website Planning Guide
[ Get the printable version of our Website Planning Guide ]
Whether you're planning a 3 page business site or a 5,000 page e-commerce site, our planning guide can help you get started. Website planning can be a daunting task for any company or organization. If you do it well, your website will achieve the goals you've mapped out for it; the impact design you're after, the features your customers will love and the functionality that reaps the ROI you've set your sights on.
Not New to the Web?
Obviously, the web is not new marketing ground... we're very familiar with website redevelopment as companies grow, gain a new focus, retool, restaff, need new technologies for communicating or selling or just plain wear out their old website design.
1. Define the Objective of your Site. It could be to...
- Generate income
- Develop name recognition or enhance company image
- Sell products to consumers or wholesalers
- Develop a national or global market for your business
2. Define Your Audience. Think expansively. You might be...
- Selling products to the public
- Providing business-to-business services
- Offering expertise to other professionals in the fieldA
- Ask...who, besides direct customers, might view or use your site? Competitors? Suppliers? Jot down scenarios in which different types of visitors come to your site and try to think about how you would address each of their needs.
3. Pinpoint Your Edge. What is your...
Will you do a better job of marketing than your competition? Can you
bring to the table special products, knowledge, contacts, and sources?
- Competitive angle: price, quality, service, and uniqueness of product or service
- Primary point of differentiation
4. Research Similar Sites. It's helpful to...
- Look at similar organizations or businesses, sites dealing with similar services, products or even your supplier's web sites.
- Make lists of content, features, and design elements you like and don't like.
5. Consider Site Features and Functionality. This could include...
See our list of ecommerce website features to help you start that list
- Special forms to gather leads, quote requests, general contact, questionnaires, etc
- Ecommerce shopping cart or order forms
- Content management package so you can update your site in-house
- Audio, video, blogs or other Social Media integration
- Dynamic navigation menus
- Special graphics, slideshows, tabbed navigation or content sliders
- Email marketing integration
6. Make a Budget for the Site.
A web site should be integrated into your existing and long-term business goals and not considered a one-time marketing expense. Budget for the initial cost of site design and development, but also keep in mind that you'll want to update your site just like you make changes and updates to your business.
7. Consider your Marketing Strategy.
Coordinate your online and print media design plans. Budget for search engine optimization, Internet marketing, email newsletters and site announcements, as well as offline marketing like newsletters, postcards or other print media.
8. Register a Domain Name.
You'll need to find a Domain Name that is available and pay the annual fee ($5 - $35 a year). Questions to keep in mind are:
9. Assemble Site Content.
- Is it easy to spell?
- Does it reflect your company name or product line?
- Does the domain name match what your customers will be searching for online? The closer, the better.
- Will it show up well when used in print advertising?
- Need help registering the domain name? We can take care of that for you at no additional charge.
Inventory the content you already have in printed brochures, flyers or newsletters. Collect graphics or photos you have for logos, signs, posters, products, staff or personnel. Get your product database or other materials you want on your web site and we'll put it together. Or, we can design graphics, compose the content, and create other material for you.
10. Set a Target Date.
Set up a schedule of when you plan to review, write or provide site content, who you have to meet with to make decisions and a target date of when you want the site to be up and running. We'll work with you to keep the development process on schedule.
Let's chat and get started. Call us at 1-888-257-2576 or by email on our free website design quote
Thinking about your new website design? Look at our website design guide that can help you get the juices flowing with a new website look, feel or functionality.