In last week’s post (2 of 3), we talked about:
4. Developing your brand’s story
5. Competitor research
6. The customer-centric approach to gathering requirements
In today’s final post on what you should consider when planning a new website, we’ll be looking at
- Content Planning
- Your website’s structure (architecture, menus etc)
- We’ll touch briefly on other areas you must be aware of like SEO, security and data migration
Let’s get going!
7. Getting feedback, and planning your content
This task is important because you’ll receive honest feedback from real people about your site. Sometimes it is tough to hear criticism even if it is constructive, but keep in mind all of this data is necessary to take your website to the next level. You can interview colleagues, friends, and family.
- What problems are you aware of on your current website?
- What kind of design look and feel would you like to see on your new website?
- What do you need to do as an administrator / finance team / sales team?
- What particular problems are you aware of regarding navigation around your current website?
- Which bits of content do you think are missing, and you’d like to see on your new website?
One aspect many small businesses overlook is the amount of new content needed when creating a new website. Text for the ‘About’ page, taglines, contact details, information about products/services, marketing messages – these are all required. The designer isn’t supposed to create this content; you are. It’s necessary to include the creation of this content in the project timeline as delays may hold up the designer and the launch of your website.
Consider creating a plan of every piece of content (no matter how small) your website will need and compiling this into a document for your web designer.
8. How will your site structure work?
The sitemap is another important aspect that usually is placed on the back-burner until the very last minute. When we talk about site structure we are referring to how the site is laid out. For example, below we can see a website with four distinct categories:
- Why choose us?
This type of diagram is useful for the designer as this will allow him/her to clearly visualise how the site will be structured and how pages will link together.
9. Compiling all of your research and making a plan
The final step is to think about how you want to display your research to the web designer. From our experience, we suggest a simple Powerpoint presentation, detailing many of the things we have covered in this article along with spreadsheets that include information relating to high level requirements and more.
It’s also important to tell developers about your business requirements for the website. Even if he/she can’t provide services for SEO, or migration of content, by raising these questions at the beginning of the whole website design process, you can avoid confusion, delays and loss of money by knowing where you stand. We recommend you think about the following things at the very minimum:
- Updating the website
- Who will do it?
- How often?
- What needs to be edited?
- Will there be any sensitive data stored on your server?
- How will it be secured?
- Online payments
- What will be used and how will it be integrated with other internal systems?
- How can they ensure your website will be built on strong foundations for Search Engine Optimisation?
- Who will do the on-going optimisation and analytics as your site grows with time?
- Where will the website be hosted?
- Who will provide server support?
- How big should it be?
- What kind of server will be best for your type of website, levels of traffic, how much disk space would be necessary etc.
- Installation and support
- Who will install the website when it’s ready?
- Who will support it and under what conditions?
- Migration of content / data from your old website
- Who will do this?
- What’s required to perform this task?
- Budget and deadline for launch
We have actually published a course on Udemy, with videos and templates you can download. It takes you through all the activities you should be busy with as you prepare for your website to be designed.
It includes a template where all this important information can be inserted, and you can send this to your chosen designers/developers as their main project brief document. Useful stuff.
Good luck with your project!