Netcraft’s September 2020 Web Server Survey showed that there are well over 1 billion sites on the world wide web—1,196,298,727 to be exact on the day of the survey. And it increases every second.
Checking the Internet Live Stats at this moment, there are 1,820,660,387 and still increasing every second. Using an effective website planning process can help you realize website success in a sea of more than a billion websites. How will you do it?
Do Proper Research and Set Appropriate Goals
Before any step in the website planning process, consider conducting proper research and setting appropriate goals to give you direction for specific accomplishments. For most website planners, this stage will take about one to two weeks to complete. Questions you might want to answer during this stage are:
- What do I hope for my website to accomplish?
- Who is the audience I would like to target?
- What are the main goals of the website?
Goal setting gives direction and researching helps you determine what you want or don’t want for your website when you see your competitor’s websites. You can also include researching your target audience and their needs and how you can use your website to meet those needs.
Planning the Website
Now, you’re ready to build the skeletal frame of your site in this part of the website planning process. This is how to plan a website structure:
Create a Wireframe
This website planning tool is a simple black and white layout or visual representation that outlines these specific elements of your site:
- Sizes of page elements
- Placement of page elements
- Site features
- Conversion areas
- Navigation for your website
Create a sitemap
This important step allows you to get an outline of what your site will look like and how the pages in your site will interact with each other. In this part of the website planning process, you will have to consider how you can provide the best user experience. You should ensure that your website can be easily navigated by your users.
Designing the Layout That Will Give Your Website Character
Unravel your creativity on this step. Choose appropriate and relevant pictures, videos, and elements that will make your brand stand out from your competitors. They should leave a mark on your users when they use your site.
Remember that your site is not for you but for your target audience. Focus on them and their needs when you design your layout. Let your users interact by bringing your website to life and let them feel that your product or service can be a solution to their pain points.
Writing Engaging Content
This is one of the important parts of your website planning checklist. The success of your website and its ranking on search engines can be greatly affected by the value that your content brings to your users.
Whatever written content you will be posting on your site should help your users determine the next steps in their customer journey—that should be moving forward until they decide to buy your product or service. Your content will also impact how you draw in customers and how you keep them. Consider these tips for adding value to your content:
- Use keywords appropriately
- Use words that are not too hard to understand for the average person
- Use a voice that creates the mood that you want for your content
- Create catchy titles and headlines
- Include a well-versed call-to-action or what you want your reader to do after reading your content
Testing, Launching, and Maintenance
It’s time to test your website to make sure all of the elements you put on it works across a variety of devices. Include automated site crawlers so that you will be able to identify everything you need from user experience issues to simple broken links and make necessary adjustments before you launch.
Once your test shows that your website is working beautifully and you’re happy with your website, it’s time to launch. There will be some mishaps here and there but the website planning process is fluid and ongoing. Your website will require constant maintenance. But, don’t worry, there are a lot of website planning tools and guides that you can use to make the job easier.
Hiring a Professional to Help
The important factors that you will consider before hiring a professional to help you with your website planning process are time, cost, and expertise. If you are ambitious and you want to learn the process on your own, this can be a nice opportunity. But if you need your website to be running immediately and as effectively as possible, hiring a professional will be a wise decision.