If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

– Benjamin Franklin

Have you ever heard of buildings going into construction without blueprints? Well building a website is a lot like building a business: you need a plan.

Without a plan, your website might end up in a wrong place: features might get overlooked, bugs may leave undetected etc. Planning a website before any action will give you a clear direction which way to lead with your website.

If you are planning to go online with your business, then this 7-step guide will help you lay the foundation of a rockstar website.

#1. Goals

Before starting your website, there is one thing that you must ask yourself: What is the purpose of your website?

Having a clear image of what you want to accomplish is the stepping stone to a successful website. It can be anything from gaining publicity for your business to selling your inventory. These goals will help you identify your website’s purpose for the business along with your target audience. Long story short: Set measurable goals that are also in line with your marketing goals.

Start by defining the goals for your business like how many visitors do you expect over a set period of time, or how many do you expect to sign up for your email subscription. Perhaps the number of sales you expect to make within a period of time. Established goals give you a launching off point.

Incorporate analytics tools like Google Analytics to monitor your website’s performance over time.

#2. Budget

A website costs money. Whether you’re a big organization, a mid-sized company, or even a fledgling start-up, always sketch out a budget for your website expenses.

Your website budget must include funds for:

  • The web design
  • Development and programming
  • Web hosting
  • Social integration
  • Marketing and SEO
  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing

But before zeroing in on a web development company, do thorough research on your niche market or consult the professionals to select the apt agency for your website.

Don’t let yourself be driven by the quotes alone. Do some background research on each shortlisted agency to know more about the quality of their work and find an agency that fits your needs.

#3. Wireframe

A wireframe, also known as a page mockup, is an outline of your website or in other words, the first draft of your website’s design. A wireframe is created to give everyone an idea of what your website will look like.

Wireframing can be done at various stages of testing as well. For example, if you are building a mobile-friendly, responsive website, then you can start by wireframing it for the lowest resolution screens. This type of mock will give you plenty of time to consider what the most important things on a page are or which object to remove to fit the content on the mobile screen.

#4. Content Strategy

Content is the king. This phrase can hold true for your website too.

A content strategy is a part of your website planning. The strategy is actually a plan that will present how your website’s content will be played out over time. The content can be anything that can provide your website’s visitors or your customers the information they are seeking.

You content strategy probably includes, but is not limited to these types of content:

  • Blog posts
  • Visual content like Videos, images, and pictures
  • Slideshows
  • E-books
  • White papers
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts

#5. Designing and Development

The importance of good designing can’t be described in words, just as the importance of strategizing your web design beforehand can’t be stressed enough.

A good web design includes both usability and good aesthetics. If your site isn’t aesthetically pleasing, then it won’t attract visitors just as fif your website isn’t easy to navigate through then it won’t hold many visitors.

Thus, planning how to balance out the ratio of design and development will help you in the long run.

#6. Testing

Testing your website holds importance at many stages of your website development. Testing, for one, will help you find out what will work for your website and what your visitors like on your website and what they don’t.

Secondly, testing is necessary for finding bugs in the system and to find out what you might have left initially. For example, testing can help you know whether your website is compatible with all the most commonly used browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, IE etc.

If you have a mobile-friendly website, testing it on different types of mobile devices can help you know whether your content is getting displayed properly or if your website is consistent in appearance over all these devices.

#7. Maintenance

Even if your website is launched, your work doesn’t end!

A website is a never ending process which has to change with the change in your brand’s reputation. Thus, maintenance of the website is equally important and should be a part of your planning and budget.

Plan beforehand who will check the feedback, post new content or look after the site’s security. Have analytics tools working for you to keep an eye on your site’s performance.

Final Verdict

A good roadmap can make a drive easier. A plan of attack can win a war. A game plan can…well…win you the game. Having a solid plan for your website will lead you to a responsive, attractive, and inviting site for your viewers, and that’s the goal of a good site.

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