DIY Web: A Website Build Plan saves time and pain
Creating a Website Build Plan
It makes good sense to have a Website Build Plan. I’m writing this from the sun soaked back yard of a friend. They live in Hamburg, Germany and I made the journey yesterday. I’m here for an international music event I am involved in with my Reggae DJ hat on. And just like a website, both my journey and our radio station’s annual get together benefited from some degree of planning. You would simply be asking for trouble if you tried to travel between distant countries without knowing where you were going and the steps you need to make to get there. Without a set date and vision of the shape an event will take, the event would never take place. If you consider you want to build your own website, let me save you a whole bunch of stress, re-design and duplication. In this post you will learn how website building projects benefit from understanding the reasons for building the site and the basic elements required for it to fulfil its purpose, sketched out in a Website Build Plan.
Put pencil before mouse
Give the kicking start to one’s creative process on paper frees in fact your imagination, allowing you to work in a more spontaneous and stimulating way.
This is what I do and what I recommend.
Big questions – Why are we here?
So with a pencil at the ready, re-assured by a handy eraser nearby, start by answering the big questions for your business.
What is it there for?
What does it do?
Remember to answer as if a customer were asking not a bank manager. The Website Build Plan helps you focus on the needs of website visitors. Think more in line with that short, snappy one-liner you’d give to someone you meet for the first time. Also consider that, answers to those questions from a whole business point of view may differ from the website point of view. Your website might be focussed on providing information and inviting contact or it may be enabling customers to order your products at any time day or night.
With these answers clear in your mind, you can sketch out the whole site. Using a family tree structure is quite appropriate as many elements of web design are considered in terms of parents, children and siblings. Whether vertically with Home page at the top or radially with Home at the centre, give each page a title (terms and conditions, privacy, etc.), some groups of pages are needed to perform the purpose and function of the website (products, checkout, FAQs, contact etc.). It will soon become clear what size your website building project is. At this point it might be sensible to contact a professional.
Making sense for the customer
Without considering too deeply the ‘how’ and with the freedom to make mistakes, put down all the main services or products you provide. Grouping and sectioning must make sense to the customer rather someone with an in-depth knowledge of your industry.
In addition to the essential functionality needed to sell a good widget or offer the best widget maintenance service, there will be pages that serve to demonstrate good practice, reassure visitors and others that may be required in order to comply with legislation.
The process of ensuring your website build plan make sense on paper, enforces a holistic approach which helps to uncover things at an early stage that might cause severe headaches if discovered during the build.
So before getting stuck in to build your own website, spend some time sketching a Website Build Plan. If you’d like some professional feedback on your plan get in touch.
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