Website Planning Guide


I can help you organize everything, whether you’re planning a Single landing page, a 6 page business site, Portfolio or a 3,000 page e-commerce site, my 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 look and features your customers will love and the functionality that reaps the rewards you’ve set your sights on.

 

Not New to the Web?
Obviously, the web is not new marketing ground… I’m very familiar with website redevelopment as companies grow, gain a new focus, retool, restaff, need new technologies for communicating or selling or just plain need to update their old outdated website design.

 

Planning: Here we will think about how we are going to structure things. What content is important, What is not, What needs to be on every page. Depending on the scale of the project…

for large projects a visual sitemap will be created for you.

site-map

 

1. Define the Objective of your Site. It could be to…

 

  • Display a Portfolio

  • 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 or services to the public

  • Providing business-to-business services

  • Offering expertise to other professionals in the field

  • Ask… 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…

 

  • Competitive angle: price, quality, service, and uniqueness of product or service

  • Primary point of differentiation

  • Unique look

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.

  • How the navigation is laid out …Simpler is always better

5. Consider Site Features and Functionality. This could include…

 

  • Special forms to gather leads, quote requests, general contact, questionnaires, etc

  • E commerce shopping cart, order forms or simple “Buy Now” button links (like: paypal or iTunes)

  • Content management package so you can update your site from any computer.

  • Audio, video, blogs or other Social Media integration

  • Dynamic navigation menus

  • Special graphics, slideshows, tabbed navigation or content sliders

  • Email marketing

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, although many sites once set up require little to no maintenance, when budgeting for the initial cost of site design and development… also keep in mind that you’ll want to update your site as you make changes and updates to your business down the road.

 

7. Consider your Marketing Strategy. Coordinate your online and print media design plans. Budget for 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. Questions to keep in mind are:

  • 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.

  • Need help picking or registering the domain name? I can help take care of that for you.

9. Assemble Site Content. Inventory the content you already have, Collect graphics or photos you have,  logos, signs, posters, products, staff or personnel. Get your product or other content you want on your website and we’ll put it together. Or I can design new graphics, organize 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, when you want the site to be up and running. I’ll work with you to keep the development process on schedule.

To get started. email or Call 323-304-1365

 

Look at My Website Design Guide below that can help you get the juices flowing for a new look, feel or functionality.

Click here to learn more

Define the Mood of Your Site:

  • Do you want the “mood” of your site to be fun? classy? suit and tie? simple and clean? flashy?
  • Consider your current print materials.
  • How will your site continue to reflect your desired company image?

Think about Layout & Navigation:

  • Consider your web site from the perspective of your audience; not your organization.
  • How will visitors want to explore your site? Will they want to see a list of services? a catalog of products? see examples of your work? or get a quote?
  • How do you want your customers to contact you? email? online contact form? phone?

Grab Them on the Home Page:

  • What are the top 5 questions people ask you about your products or services? The answers to those should be on your site and easily accessible on or from your home page.
  • Write a short paragraph or bulleted list that emphasizes your “unique concept or benefit” that makes buying or using your products or services a must. Will your motto work well on the site?

Consider Colors & Graphics:

  • Simple color schemes and fewer graphical elements are easier to read.
  • We can repeat your printed material’s look throughout your site or come up with a color scheme for you.
  • We can use your existing logo or create one for you.
  • Keep in mind that more graphics and photos increase load time.

Define Work Process & Schedule:

  • What is the best way for us to keep in contact?
  • How should we collect site materials?
  • What is your target date for completion?

Additional Considerations for Shopping Cart Sites:

  • How many products do you want to sell online?
  • Can the products be grouped into logical categories?
  • Do you have product descriptions and good photos?
  • What kind of order method (s) do you need?
    • Browse catalog to order
    • Product drop down menu options
  • Will there be quantity pricing or bulk items?
  • What is your return or exchange policy for customers?
  • What will your shipping charges or special order considerations be?

Additional Considerations for Content Management Sites:

  • Define what type and how much content you want to manage. Will it be lists? newsletters? articles? a calendar?
  • If you update a piece of content, say an event calendar, at least once a month, it’s a good candidate for inclusion.
  • Consider who will be managing the content or if you will give the data to me to update your site.
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