Your website functions as your company’s front of store and reception. In other words, its job is to introduce what your company is to the client. It’s not a small job! At this top-of-the-sales-funnel level, you can either manage to push your prospective client further down the funnel or lose them all within seconds or minutes.
This means that every element on your website should be built with its very specific function in mind.
To do this, a clear strategy must be in place. Many businesses manage to define their business goals yet fail to align their website with these goals, leading to a conflict in intention and method of website design. This never translates to good results in business.
If you find yourself unable to register the kind of success you were hoping would be aided by your website when you created it, or if you’re nearly about to create a new website, then it’s time to draw up a plan on how you’re going to design or redesign your website.
Here’s why it’s important to have a plan before building your site.
1. It Helps You Clarify Your Purpose
What’s your major goal as you’re building this website? Do you want to create a list of qualified leads? Is your primary focus to provide resources through the site? Or is it to strengthen brand awareness? Your intention will determine your build.
Suppose you start generically creating a website without focusing on methods that suit your organization’s needs. In that case, you might end up with a website trying to do everything yet not really successful at any. You should be focused on what’s important, and this can only be drawn from a thorough knowledge of what you’re trying to achieve.
2. Identifies Your Audience
Another key thing is who you’re trying to speak to through the site. Different market segments require different strategies in communication. You will likely have to tailor your content according to the preferences of the different segments you want to speak to.
There are content creation tools such as Slickplan that you can use to make your content creation process much easier. You just have to find the right one for your needs.
You might even need to use different mediums. Which mediums and methods are you going to leverage over others on your website and why? This should be based on the general behavior and preferences of your target audience.
3. Helps You Identify and Learn from Your Competitors
You’re not operating in a vacuum, and you can use that fact to your advantage. Even though your competition is probably offering a similar or slightly similar product, you can analyze their website and identify areas they’re not emphasizing and leverage those in order to better market your product.
Looking at your competition will help you appreciate the options available based on how they’re positioning themselves online. What’s working? What isn’t? And why? When you’re able to answer these questions, you’re getting closer to being able to build a highly effective website.
4. It Saves You Money
If you’re hiring a team to handle your website’s building, they’re most probably going to generate a quote for you. The quote will likely include a clause that stresses that anything else you’ll need to be done for your website outside the specifications will require additional payments.
To stay ahead of clauses such as this, you should avoid giving your assigned team a loose guide for what you want for your website. Be as detailed and specific as you can. That way, you can make sure that any quote you get will reflect the project’s actual cost.
You don’t want to make a decision based on an incomplete quotation then get shocked as the figures keep ballooning along the way. Creating a plan will help you ensure that you’ll choose a website developer that you can afford.
5. It Saves You Time
Abraham Lincoln popularized that saying about being given six hours to cut a tree and spending the first four hours sharpening the ax. He was right! You must realize that in each project, you must guard your team’s enthusiasm jealously. The best way to do this is to protect their time.
Ensure that none of it is wasted by re-doing the same job just because inadequate planning was done the first time around.
Teams do get frustrated and end up producing sub-quality results. You can guard against this by having a detailed plan for your website. You need to make sure that no time and quality is lost during website development.
6. It Results in Better Designs
You should avoid asking your designers to make you something out of thin air! If you’re looking at your website as a ship, then knowing the port you want to head to will help you know which wind is good for you. Not every pretty design is going to deliver what you want. So be very specific and intentional in your design.
Your website’s design, pages, and objects function as your website’s overall goal on the site. You’ll sabotage your website’s quality if you pick a design theme before you know what you want.
7. It Helps You Avoid Disappointments
Sitting down with your web developers and giving them verbal instructions might seem adequate guidance, but it usually turns out not to be. Provide them with a map of what’s inside your head, so you don’t get surprised when your site looks nothing like you expected.
You might deflate your development team’s morale after giving them half-baked instructions. Accept a product that looks exactly like you envisioned. Give them the particulars of what you have in mind so that both sides are happy at the end of the job.
Website planning is one of the most important steps in building a website with a good investment return. It’ll take you some time to complete a comprehensive plan, but it’ll be well compensated by the time you’ll not spend redesigning the website over and over again.
Your plan will detail exactly what you want. You have to dig into why you might want that specific thing. Your website is there to actively deliver a particular set of goals, so nothing about it should be random at all.
You’re more likely to love your website if you create a comprehensive plan for it first.