Working with web designers and developers to create your business’s website can be a stressful process. Previous disappointments, uncertain outcomes, little opportunity for collaboration, and a limited ‘big picture’ understanding of Internet technologies are among the factors that can conspire to make the process stressful and unpleasant. It doesn’t have to be that way! Learning how to plan your website can help.
We believe the most important part of web design and development is customer service. Web professionals have a duty of care to work closely with their clients and to involve them in every step of the process. For optimal results, clients should look to articulate their goals and requirements for their website clearly. One way to do that is by using a shared vocabulary and you can check out our posts on WordPress vocabulary, website vocabulary, and web development vocabulary. In addition to sharing a language with your web developers, it is important that you come to the project with a solid understanding of your requirements, or what you hope to achieve with your website.
How to Plan Your Website: Requirements versus Implementation Details
Before interviewing web developers to create your website, you should first have a well defined set of requirements for your site. For example:
- I want my site to have excellent search rankings for ‘Parisian poodle grooming’
- My site should clearly communicate my business’s expertise in poodle beauty services
- The site must generate leads for my business
As in the example above, ‘requirements’ are the goals you have for your website, or what you want your website to do for your business. Given a set of requirements, your web developers can offer you technological solutions to meet these requirements, these are the implementation details. For example, given the above requirements you might be offered the following implementation options:
- WordPress or other CMS with excellent support for search optimised content creation
- Integrate a blog into your site for search rankings and for demonstrating authority in canine grooming
- Lead capture tools embedded in the design such as newsletter subscriptions or quick contact forms
By offering your web developer a set of requirements rather than a set of implementation ideas, you allow your developers the freedom to use their expert understanding of technology to offer you implementation options that meet your requirements, or the goals of your website for your business.
How to Plan Your Website: Define Your Site’s Goals
So, when beginning a conversation with a web design and development agency, the most important information you can supply is a well defined set of goals for your website, ranked by priority for your business. For instance, for many businesses the main goals are:
- Generate leads
- Communicate what you can do for your customers
- Build your brand
In addition, you may have secondary goals such as:
- Demonstrate authority in your industry
- Integrate with your business’s social media sites
- Advertise your latest goods and services
These represent some of the general principles that drive most businesses to establish strong online presences. From this starting point it is possible to delve into the more particular goals of an individual organisation. Once you’ve clearly established what the site is for, you can bring this to your developers who can offer technical solutions to meet your business’s needs.
Want to discuss your goals for growing your business online? We’d love to hear from you!