Website planning is one of the most critical aspects of building a new website. Whether you are building a standard information website or taking your existing business online as an ecommerce website shop, you need a well-thought-out plan.
Too often, people approach us with the goal of building a website but haven’t stopped to consider all the elements that this will involve. This is why it’s so important to use a professional web designer when building your website. They work with websites and website planning and marketing all day long. They have years of experience in building websites. They know what works and what doesn’t, and what’s needed in a website.
A good website plan starts with knowing exactly what you want to achieve online.
Only once you have a clear objective for your website, can you start to work on the website plan.
Once you understand who you want to engage with, you can then decide what they like, how they are likely to act online, and what they need from your website. If you know what they need, you can give it to them.
The next step when planning your website is deciding what visitors can do on your website, vs what will happen offline. Will your website be very automated, so there’s less work for your customers and for you to do? Or will it use a more manual process, which might make more work for you as the website owner?
Example: What if you were selling shoes online but you didn’t have the budget for a full ecommerce shop yet, you could decide to display your shoes on a single page and ask visitors to email you to tell you what they want to buy. You would have to check what you have in stock, invoice them, wait for their payment to clear, get their address, and send them their shoes – or ask them to choose something else if you don’t have their selection available.
Alternatively, you could automate this process by building a full ecommerce shop. Customers would visit your shop and click the shoe they want to buy. They would choose the size and colour, and your website would tell them if it’s in stock. If so, they could add it to their cart, fill in all their contact details, pay online, and receive a confirmation email and invoice from the website. The funds would reflect immediately on your payment portal, and you could ship them their shoes.
The first of these processes is a manual approach, and more work for you and the customer. The second is much more automated, which is less work for everyone, but will be a more expensive website to setup.
This is SUCH an important step of website planning. If your website is a standard information site, then will you need a simple contact form, or a more comprehensive quote request form? Do you want to capture subscribers by offering free downloads? If so, have you chosen a suitable mailing company so you can automatically add these leads to a database and send email newsletters to them, or will you contact them manually?
Websites that target an international audience are usually far more complex than websites that target local audiences – particularly if they are ecommerce websites. Will your site be available in different languages or just English? You will also need to decide what currencies you’ll sell in, and which payment portals you can use for each currency. Do you want customers to be able to choose their currency, or do you want it to display automatically based on their location in the world? Are you prepared to receive foreign payments and cover the forex and banking fees that accompany such income?
You would also need to find a suitable courier or delivery service, check whether the shipping fees are affordable for you and your customers, and decide on your returns policy. Will you be able to ship ANYWHERE in the world (no matter how remote) or will you be limited to major centres? How will you differentiate between the two?
The questions are endless and are unique to every website out there. As professional web designers, it’s our job to help you to ask and answers these questions so we can quote accurately. We don’t want you to get a surprise down the road when you suddenly need to purchase additional software that you didn’t budget for.
Too many people forget this step of the website planning process. If you don’t have a strong marketing plan for your new website, how will anyone know it exists? How will you drive people to visit your website. There are many ways to do this, but it’s critically important that you start to work on your marketing plan before your website goes live. Once it’s live, you ideally want to make sales immediately, so a robust marketing plan is crucial to making sure your website gets traffic. You could use social media, search engine optimisation, an email marketing campaign, face to face meetings, networking events, or conferences and exhibitions to market your new website. Whichever avenue you choose, make sure you are working on building it before you even launch your new website.
Website planning is one of the most critical steps when building or revamping a website. There are many questions that must be asked and answered FULLY so no time is wasted by building the wrong thing. Good website planning will ensure that your quite is accurate, you are MUCH less likely to encounter issues as the build proceeds, and you end up with a website that functions as you wanted it to. Good website planning = great website execution!
If you need any help please book a consultation below, or contact us directly.