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How to plan a website and save time and money

How to plan a website and save time and money

Whether you are thinking of revamping or building your own website or engaging a developer, you need a plan. By chance I came across a link to a template for a website plan. The template is published by the WA Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC), and you can download it here. Like the NSW Business Connect resources here, the SBDC has many links to business templates on this page.

Why do I need a plan to build a website?

If you have a solid plan you can ensure that you have captured all the necessary steps. So before you jump online and start building your website, or engage a web developer, write a website plan. It will provide a structure and help you save time and money in the long run.

If you use a professional web developer you can give them a copy of the completed booklet. And if you build your own website, it will help you clarify what your website needs.

What are the main sections of the plan?

The bullet points below summarise the sections in the booklet:

  1. Contact Details
    • your name
    • contact details
    • business name and website if you have one
    • business description
  2. Website Overview
    • describe the purpose of the website
    • what do you want to achieve with the website?
    • what is the subject, i.e. what are you selling, advertising, or blogging about?
    • which actions do you want website visitors to take?
    • what is the message of your website?
  3. Target audience
    • where do they live?
    • what are they like?
      • demographics (age, income, gender)
      • psychographics (attitudes, values, fears)
    • TIP: give them a name and draw or find a picture that resembles your ‘ideal customer’.
      There are many templates and samples, and here are images a search brought up
  4. What does your product or service offer?
    • describe your product(s) or service(s) and the benefit they bring to your customers
  5. List 10 keywords or phrases
  6. Research your competition and list the top 10 competitor sites with urls and notes
  7. Domain name: is your favourite one available? List three other options.
  8. What kind of features does your website need?
    • your website needs to be responsive so it looks good on desktops as well as on mobiles etc.
    • do you need a shop / ecommerce website?
      • think about the checkout experience, shopping cart, payment gateway, etc.
      • what will your shopping cart need? (this is a separate section in the booklet)
    • will you blog, have FAQs, or host forums?
    • etc.
  9. Draft a site map, plan each page, decide on the visual design (look, feel, colour scheme)
    • write down the urls of 3 sites that you like, and 3 sites that you don’t like.
  10. Think about SEO, testing and hosting options for your website.

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