Looking to create a website for your business or personal use? Excellent idea! In this day in age, every business needs a website. Without one, you’re going to miss out on valuable new clients and sales. We live in the age of technology - if you can’t find what you’re looking for quickly and easily, you move onto something else. So, now that we know owning a website is more important than ever, how do we go about designing it the right way? That’s where a website plan comes in. Before you start creating content, take the time to make sure you outline and plan carefully. To come up with your own website plan, there are four easy steps to follow. Let’s take a look.
What is a Website Plan?
You’ve probably heard of the term “site plan” when it comes to managing a construction project. This is the part of the process that involves creating a bird’s eye view sketch of what the project will look like. It’s a detailed plan of exactly what goes where, starting from the framework down to the smallest details, such as the placement of a tree. A website plan isn’t much different.
When putting together a website design, you want to make the major decisions so, moving forward, you know exactly what you’re doing and the difficult parts are behind you. You don’t need to figure out every tiny detail with a website plan, such as which image you’re going to have where and what size they’re going to be. A website plan is essentially the structure that holds up the rest of the building.
Website Plan in 4 Easy Steps
While there are various ways to plan your website, we’re going to show you four easy steps to creating a solid outline to set you up for success.
1. Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm
We’re assuming you already know the purpose of your website or you probably wouldn’t be looking to create one in the first place. Once you have a clear idea of what you want to do, you can start brainstorming the details, like what content you want to create. Start by doing research. What are other similar brands or companies doing? What do you like about what they’re putting out there and what would you do differently? Make a list of what you like and dislike and any other thoughts you have on the content you would like to create.
Your company may just be a one-man show and you may not have anyone else to bounce ideas off, and that’s okay! Or, you might work with quite a few people which means that the design of the website and its success affect the whole team. In that case, have a brainstorming sesh with everyone to get their ideas and input. Have everyone write down their ideas on index cards or have one person keep track on a whiteboard while everyone shouts out ideas. Whether you’re doing it as a group or on your own, the goal is to have a solid list of ideas compiled in one place.
2. Organize your ideas into themes and pages
Now that you have all of your ideas written down, it’s time to organize them according to theme. Each theme can then represent a page on your website, whether that be the main page or a subpage. For example, a contact form, brief employee profiles, and an introductory YouTube video to the company may all be grouped into a contact page. Or, you can make employee profiles a subpage. Either way, take elements that have something in common and group them together into themes that become the main and subpages of your website.
If you can’t find a space for some of the ideas that your group has come up with, you need to think about whether they’re absolutely necessary or if they need to have a page of their own.
3. Create your page outlines
Now that you’ve organized your ideas into pages, you need to plan out these pages in more detail. In addition to your homepage, you should include a maximum of seven main pages. These main pages can have subpages but it’s important to keep the number of pages your website contains to a minimum for easy digestibility. A good example of this is including “Services” as the main page but potentially having each service you offer as a subpage if they’re unrelated to each other.
It’s important that readers don’t have to click more than three links to find what they are searching for – with so much available on the internet, finding the information they need should be as easy and as efficient as possible.
4. Add details
Now that you have your website’s general architecture and an outline in place, it’s safe to go into specifics. Make detailed lists under each main page and subpage of exactly what you want to include there, like text, photos, videos, a blog, and anything else you know for sure you want to add.
This is your chance to fill the blanks so get as specific as you want with this step. The more details you provide in your website plan, the more confident you will be while going creating your website. Now that you know the four crucial steps to create a website outline, get to planning! A website plan helps you come up with the best architecture to get your website off the ground and ready to go by helping you feel organized right off the bat.