If you want to carry out a successful website project, this lesson will teach you the basics of website planning.
By the end of this lesson you will understand that with a bit preparation you can avoid unexpected costs and save money.
The 4 Essential Steps to Website Project Planning
By completing these four simple steps, you will have a plan that will help you with every stage of your project.
Step 1: Define the Website’s Primary Purpose
When it comes to small business there are really only four possible purposes for the website:
- Sell products or service
- Show samples and/or reviews
- Explain about services and/or business
- Provide general information
Product and service focused businesses sell something, websites for physical shops like restaurants and hairdressers show something and industry or review sites explain something.
Don’t leave anything to misinterpretation.
Changing the direction of a website halfway through production is money wasted.
Step 2: Decide on Basic Website Technology
Website technologies can be categorised according their primary purpose.
- Sell Something (physical or digital) = eCommerce
- Sell Something (service) = CMS Platform with Blog and Lead Capture
- Show Something = CMS with Image, Video and Content Slider Features
- Explain Something = CMS with Advanced Blog and Page Management
Step 3: Create a Website Sitemap
Making a website sitemap is bit like being an architect for a builder. The sitemap is the blueprint for how how all of the website pages fit together. Creating a blueprint from the start helps you in two ways:
- It is a great brainstorming process for figuring out what pages will be on the website.
- It means that there won’t be any last minute additions which drive up project costs.
There are plenty of online diagram and flowchart tools you can use. Diagram.ly is easy and you can save the sitemap as a PDF which you can then include in your final design brief.
Example Sitemap for a Website Selling a Service
Step 4: Create Website Content Before Production Begins
The biggest mistake you can make when carrying out a web design project is to submit content in dribs and drabs. The way your web design provider works to save time and money is to batch tasks. So when content changes and comes irregularly, it wastes time and costs money.
The more content you can provide upfront the more money you will save.
Using the sitemap you created, make a list of each page and start writing the content. This might be a descriptions of your services or for products to be sold online. Most web design providers have expert copywriters so this part of the process can also be outsourced, but it will increase the budget of your project.
Be Prepared and Avoid Unexpected Costs.
With these four steps completed your website project plan puts you one step ahead. The more prepared you are, the less changes you will make during production. Fewer changes = Fewer expenses.