So, are you wondering why so many websites start with so much potential that they failed at the end, well, I know I was some years and if you are in the same shoe as me right now just continue reading.

Thorough website planning is an important process for many businesses and organizations and in my experience, many business owners or individual fails to do this forgetting the Benjamin Franklin quote, “If you fail to plan you are planning to fail” so accurate. Many of them just want a website built and have it just for having sake.

Planning your website is just as important as planning for anything else related to your business or yourself. As you know every success begin with proper planning, and if you are in a group it’s essential ones ensure that everyone working on the project has a clear vision about the project in order to move it forward, and if not, the odds of an unhappy finished project is definitely high, this usually result into something like budget re-evaluation in which lots of don’t want to hear and also deadline extension which many developers like myself don’t like.

website planning
Planning a Website. Credit: Unsplash

Creating even the smallest basic (single page website) requires proper planning and discovery before beginning the design and development. This initial planning phase allows the design and development team to understand the needs like your entire brand information, your target audience as this will affect how the contents and information are structured and presented, which also allow the team to define the core purpose of the site for a solid lasting foundation.

So, with all that out of the way lets take a look at the key steps or discovery phase questions for a proper website project, these steps and questions allow you to answer some questions to outline the needs, problems it solves and website required functionalities;

1. The general purpose or goals of the website

It important to answer this question before starting anything, why are you creating a website? What are you trying to achieve with it? Is it to generate leads for your business or marketing, sell products, or maybe just to provide resources to promote your business and strengthen your brand awareness? So basically, it is very important the overall goal of the website is identified before beginning.

2. Who are your target audience?

This is a simple and very important question, if you don’t know who you are doing something for how would you do it better, so it’s essential to define and properly understand your audience demography, you need to outline somethings about them, things like age, habits, education etc. this ensure a perfect experience for these audiences because the information presented to are targeted and useful. So, make sure you understand the target market with proper and focused research on their interest and how they engage with content.

3. Who is or are your competitors?

This is another question that will help you a lot, 90% of the time what you are trying to achieve someone else has done it or maybe something closely related or similar. See what’s working for them and also not working and craft a better strategy to improve on it. This research will give you an idea of the options available for you and how best to position yourself properly to stand out.

4. Features required on the website

Well if you have properly defined the goal of the website listing the features is going to be a breeze, these days website can do lots of things from online booking to having a live chat or sales, therefore figuring out what features you need help the designer to create a design to accommodate these features and the developer to what platform and services to use in development.

5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

If you want your site to get picked up by search engines like Google and Bing you’ve got to plan your SEO from the start. Planning your SEO is an important part of the development process, if not planned then going back into the code to change later is not going to be a fun journey for the developer and sometimes cost you. Each page of your website must be properly structured with headings, navigation, meta tags with title and links, as SEO directly impact your online presence, performance and success in ranking above your competitions, developing an effective keywords list will improve the chances of your website ranking higher in search engine result pages (or SERPs). These keywords would be incorporated into your website content, design, and architecture.

6. Content Planning

As briefly mentioned above, content planning is also one of the main success-driven steps in website planning. A beautifully designed website without a proper planned content for the target audience is just an inspiration for designers, equivalent to “Lorem Ipsum” most designers used in their designs as placeholders. So, having a beautifully designed website is not all you need, if you don’t have a carefully planned content to back it up for the potential audience to see it and engage with, then it’s a waste.

Content is also an essential part of SEO strategy, so you need to work with your development team to develop a content strategy that uses your resources to craft a design and also develop information that your audience can understand and drive the right engagement and also accurately represent your business while also making your website readily available for platforms like the search engines.

7. BONUS POINT

Don’t underestimate the importance of website planning, make it a vital part of your marketing effort, and also remember the website is a virtual representation of your company.  When you plan it like any other important projects, it gives your project a rhythm and foundation for a successful conversion-based website.

The lists above are by no means exhaustive, there are other keys like the Sitemap and some sort of funnel design pattern, etc., just make sure to employ and work with a qualified and experienced designer and developers that will ensure a proper study and planning of your website project.

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