“Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it's really how it works.” — Steve Jobs
Whether you’re DIYing or working with a designer, the secret to building a kick ass website quickly and with the least amount of roadblocks, is in how well you plan it.
Choosing a website template or approaching a designer without understanding what you are trying to achieve is likely to lead to a really frustrating, long-winded and frankly, painful design experience.
Your website is simply a tool, and (unless you're my Dad), you're probably not popping into Bunnings for a sausage and a few tools unless you know what you're building, who needs to use it, why it's being built, and how you plan on using the end product. So, before you start dreaming up colour palettes and choosing imagery, you need to understand how you want your website to work and what it needs to do.
This article will help you to plan the pages, features and integrations you'll need on your website by exploring four essential questions.
If you are simply building a website just to have a website it will just be another business expense. But, if you would like to see a return on your website investment (in leads and/or sales), it has to be created with a bigger marketing and sales funnel in mind.
Setting some clear goals for your website will help you to hone in on the specific features, pages or integrations needed to achieve them. Your goals will also help you to determine the value of a website to your business and therefore what you can afford to pay for it.
It’s really easy to get caught up in the features you like or what looks good to you when building a website. While it’s important to love your website and find it easy to use and update, if you are going to deliver any sort of value to your customers, then they should also be considered when you’re making decisions about how your website looks and works.
What types of features, content or imagery will—
What types of actions do you want your customers to take on your website? For many businesses, the obvious answer is filling in an enquiry form or making a purchase. These are primary or macro conversion goals— they are your end goal, and usually either represent a sale or high probability of a sale.
In reality, many of your website visitors won't be ready to buy or enquire when they first land on your website. So, in addition to having macro conversion goals, it's important to take stock of other, smaller actions that might indicate a website visitor is interested in your product or service. These are secondary or micro conversions. These might include subscribing to an email list, visiting certain pages, watching a video, downloading a resource, reading or sharing an article, signing up for a free trial or adding a product to a wishlist.
Once you know which website visitors have shown interest in your offerings, you can find ways to stay top of mind and provide value to these people so that if and when they are ready to buy it's easy for them to take the next step in your sales process.
For example, this might be achieved by—
In addition to being a fantastic marketing tool, your website can and should be considered as a tool for streamlining your internal processes as well. What could you include on your website to help streamline your processes and enhance your customer experience?
For example, you might want to integrate your website with a company intranet, create a list of FAQs or build forms for reviews or briefs. These might save both your time and your customers' time.
Our website has been a huge investment of time, but it is the #1 tool we use everyday to build brand awareness, make sales and connect us with new customers. This hasn't happened through sheer luck, our website only works because we sat down and thoughtfully planned our website with our processes, ideal customers and business goals in mind.
Now it's your turn—answering these questions will help you to build out a list of features and pages you'll need to kick some marketing and business goals and see an ROI on your website.
To make your planning process easier, we've made a free website planner for you. Think of this as your website order form or wishlist. It lists out tonnes of popular website pages, features and integrations that you can select and add to. Get your free website planner here.
Armed with this list, you'll be able to brief your web designer or select the right DIY solution that not only looks great, but works to support your business goals.
If you liked this article or know someone who could benefit from some website planning, please share it with them! And, if you have any tips or questions about planning a website please leave us a comment below, we'd love to hear from you.
Maximise your website ROI, choose the right platform and design by planning your website's features, pages and integrations BEFORE you build. Download our FREE website planner.
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