The planning stage is such an important stage to get right, if your budget permits, you should get a company or professional in to do some business analysis and website planning.
Much of this stage is ultimately about your website CONTENT and will cover things like understanding the scope of the website, your audience and what you are trying to achieve with your site.What is the purpose of your content? What is the nature of all the different types of content you want to publish and update? Where is all this all this wonderful content coming from? Who will source it? Who will write it? How will it be updated and published? Who will publish it?You can start the web design and development process by writing a request for proposal document, but if this all sounds too much, then we have a document template to help you gather and give the appropriate information to get your web project started. Please contact us if you would like a link to this planning document.
Defining your businessBefore you approach a supplier for your website design and development, you also need to make sure you can describe your business fully to them to help them understand your business and its requirements. This may come in the form of a business plan, but at the least you need to have defined clearly:
- A brief summary of the business products / services
- A summary of the busienss history and future plans
- A summary of the business structure and common processes and procedures
- The different types of clients your busienss has
- Your customers, suppliers and competitors
Defining the business RequirementsRegardless of your budget, setting your business goals and objectives for the website are a must to help give a focus to your website project. After all, what is the point of spending money on a business website if it doesn’t save you time, improve performance or give you a profitable return? Try to be specific when defining your goals for the website. Examples:
- By April 2011, generate 5 new enquiries from the website per week
- Sell £5000 worth of a specific product on the website per quarter in 2012
- Increase subscription to our mailing list by 50% in the next 6 months
Planning the websiteFrom these goals, you can start to plan out the various functions and sections of your website. Perhaps start with a good old fashioned pencil and paper, sit with colleagues, friends and consultants to generate ideas and develop the scope of the website.
- Look at a range of existing business websites and try to determine what the successful ones are doing right, and what the poor ones are doing wrong
- Learn about the extensive capabilities of websites to broaden horizons
- Identify the different sections and pages of the website
- Identify facilities you need to provide for your website visitors
- Identify facilities you need to provide for web admin staff internally