Things can easily get out of control or overwhelming when it comes to websites. You may start off small or think you don’t have a lot of content to include, but once you get into it, you’ll probably realize there’s more to it than you thought.
Web design is meant to combine form and function in a way that makes a website enjoyable, navigable, interesting and usable. So whether you’re redesigning your website or launching a new one from scratch, you need to plan and prepare before jumping into design and development.
This process starts with your information architecture, which includes drafting your site map, ideal conversion paths and web page key takeaways. After that, you or a designer build wireframes, which dictate what the content structure will look like in order to support your content and overall goals.
So let’s talk about some key steps to take when planning your soon-to-be kick ass site.
1. Revisit your brand foundation
Before beginning any work on your site, you need to review your business, brand, and target audience. Revisit your brand foundation for clarity, as it’s what will essentially guide your website flow and content.
2. Determine your website goals and purpose
All websites have a purpose. And while the bottom line of most websites is to make sales in one way or another, your website is an interactive tool for you to engage with your audience on their time, without you needing to be there. Let your website do some of the heavy lifting so you can focus on other things in your business.
3. Map out the behavior flow
As people scroll through your website, your visitors want to know that they’re in the right place and be kindly guided on what to do and where to go next. A behavior flow serves as a guide for just that, illustrating how you plan to walk people through your website.
4. Complete The Buyer Journey
The buyer’s journey describes a buyer’s path to purchase. In other words, buyers don’t wake up and decide to buy on a whim. They go through a process to become aware of, consider and evaluate, and decide to purchase a new product or service.
- The awareness stage takes place when the consumer has realized that they have a challenge or opportunity.
- During the consideration phase, the consumer has defined their issue or opportunity and they are looking for solutions or options for solving the problem or taking advantage of the new opportunity.
- The decision stage is the last step in the buyer’s journey. At this point, the consumer will decide on a solution, strategy, approach, or method to solve their challenge or take advantage of a new opportunity
5. Identify your Lead Magnets and offers
After you go through the buyer journey, you’re able to identify your lead magnets as they will inspire landing and website pages and support your content strategy.
You will need to select offers that will attract your ideal customer from the beginning. To convert leads into customers, you will need highly enticing offers that relate directly to your product or service will suffice. From there, you can decide on every call-to-action and conversion points that will move your customer from page to page.
6. Determine the navigation and sitemap
Now that you know the main purpose, goals, and flow of your site, you can ensure that the information you need is included and organized to maximize its potential. You can look at it with a big picture perspective and add, move, or delete pages easily before getting too far into the process.
A sitemap provides a definite structure to the website and maps everything out before proceeding to the actual creation of the website. It ensures that all parts of the structure reinforce the website’s purpose. The website outline will be the sure path to building an effective website of your own.
Taking a systematic approach is the key to great website designs.
By planning and outlining your site’s goal, purpose, flow, and content ahead of time, you (and the designer) will be more prepared, leading to a better design outcome so you can start killing it online!
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After you’ve mapped out the strategy for your website, move to the copy. With these foundational pieces in place, you can start creating website content that will attract readers and search engines, earn sales, and make sure each page is doing all it can to help you grow your business.