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How to plan for your website

Everything you need to plan for your website: a guide for small businesses.

Whether you are looking to refresh an outdated website or creating a new one, you need to plan out what you want to include (or not include).

Sometimes it is just as essential to establishing what you don’t want on your website, as much as what you want to include.

So, to save you some time before meeting with a web designer, think through a high-level website plan.

The planning process doesn’t need to be complicated or time-intensive; it’s more or less taking the time to answer some vital questions to ensure when the time comes to build your website that it not only accomplishes your goals but also means you won’t have to be going back to the drawing board in 12 months.

We are sharing with you the checklist we run through with our website clients in the first design meeting, this helps us and our clients establish clear goals and what content and assets will be needed, take a look:

Purpose of your website

Businesses and personal brands are all different, which is why all websites are unique and customised to meet their purpose.

What do you want your website to do?

  • Do you want to sell products online?
  • Do you want to tell people about your services?
  • Will you be writing a blog?
  • Will your customers be booking appointments or accommodation on your website?

By answering these questions, we can establish what functionality and what type of layout is best suited for your website.

Research other websites for inspiration

To assist your web designer and developer in understanding your vision and preferences, it is advisable that when you meet with them that you have a list of websites you do and don’t like.

Consider the feel and function of the websites. You might like/dislike the simplicity, bold colours, navigation. So set some time aside to research a few sites. We recommend you have a list of 3 to 6 websites and what you like and dislike about them.

TIP: the websites don’t need to be specific to your industry, for instance, you could sell hardware, but you may like the layout and customer online shopping of a beauty product retailer.

Prepare your content

Written and imagery content make up a large part of any website. The more written content, the better for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). For the purpose of this checklist, consider what type of content you want to include; this will assist with establishing the right headings or tabs for your website:

  • Business history
  • About your business
  • About your team or you
  • List of services
  • Product types
  • Contact information
  • Blogs, vlogs or newsletters

TIP: When it comes time consider engaging a freelance content writer. We have access to some great local freelancers who can help make your website pop!

Branding

Your business brand needs to be consistent across all aspects of your business from the shopfront signage to uniforms and of course, your digital media platforms. Your branding isn’t just about your logo and colours; it is also your other digital assets like social media.

Here is a list of assets a web designer will need from you:

  • Brand assets
    • Logo
    • Brand colours
    • Brand fonts
    • Brand summary
    • Photography – professional or stock images
    • Illustrations
  • Digital assets
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Instagram
    • YouTube
    • TikTok
    • LinkedIn
    • Google My Business
    • Email sign up

We also highly recommend using a professional photographer and we have 5 good reasons why you should – 5 minute read.

Website Wrap Up

You don’t need a detailed plan. This planning checklist is simply a list to help you prepare the foundation of your website. If you can spend an hour or two collating notes on each of the checklist items, it will not only help you clarify what you want from your site but will also help your web designer with the vital basics; the web designer can then do the rest!

If you would like to know more contact our Digital Media team.

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