The Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Plan Your Website First
A lot of people who decide they need a website follow this pattern. They jump straight into a DIY website builder. Pick a theme or template. Get a bit flustered and annoyed with it. Leave it for a while. Come back to it. Write who they are and what they do on a couple of pages. Pop in a photo of them and a photo of what they sell. Chuck their contact details at the top and then wonder why it does nothing for them. Don’t let that be you! Take time to properly plan your website and you will find it sets you apart from your competition and means your time has been well used and not wasted.
Reason 1: To Stop You Feeling Overwhelmed
Creating a website for your business is a big job. It is also an important job. You want to make sure you get it right so that you stand out against the competition and attract your ideal customer. If you don’t your business is probably going to struggle. Already that’s quite an overwhelming prospect but add to that the fact you don’t know what you have to include on your website and what’s just nice to have or how to go about building it once you have worked that out, you might feel like giving up and sticking to Facebook. You definitely don’t want to do that! Gillian Duncan explains why you don’t want to just rely on social media beautifully in a guest post she wrote for us.
If you start at the beginning and break it down into sections, guided by a website planning tool or course then I promise you the process isn’t as daunting as it seems. It’s actually achievable in quite a short space of time and definitely worth it once you have created a website that is converting clients.
Reason 2: To Make Sure You Are Talking to Your Ideal Client
Taking the example at the start of the post, if you just write who you are and what you do on your website you aren’t talking to your ideal client. To make sure you are appealing to them, first you need to think about who they are, what problems they have that you can solve and what it is that they want to achieve with your help. Identifying your ideal client should be the first step in your website planning process.
Once you have identified your ideal client then this will inform the copy you write for your website, the images you use and the general feel of the design. All of these should show your ideal client that you understand their problems and frustrations, you have the skills and experience to be able to solve those and that working with you or buying your products will improve things for them. A great book to help with this is Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller. When I read it so many things just clicked into place.
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Reason 3: To Make Sure Your Website is Easy to Navigate
Once you have got your ideal customer to your website it needs to be easy for them to find what they are looking for. If you keep thinking of pages to include and add things here and there without much thought it will soon look and feel cluttered and it probably won’t be obvious where people can find things. If this is the case website visitors soon get frustrated and switch off from engaging with you. They will leave your website and go and look elsewhere.
If you have planned your website well, considered all the pages at the start and planned what will be on each page then the user experience will be much greater. This way it should be clear what can be found on each page. It shouldn’t take many clicks for your website visitor to get to what they are looking for and it will be easier for you to guide them to take the action that you want them to take, whether that’s to buy from you, book a call, join your mailing list etc.
Reason 4: To Make Sure Your Website Works on Mobile
All to often I visit a website that doesn’t work properly on a mobile device. It might be that headings vanish off the side of a screen so only half of them can be read. If this is the case people can’t see the key messages the website is trying to convey. It might be that contact forms don’t work properly and content can’t be entered. This means the website owner is missing out on connecting with people who are actually interested in what they do and losing business. And the most irritating of all in my eyes, that a pop up comes up on the screen, it’s too big and the cross to close it again is off the screen and then you are stuck looking at that pop up and you can’t get to anywhere else on the website. Then the person just leaves.
You may be wondering whether this is really a problem. As long as it works on a computer, surely you’re probably capturing most of the people who come to your website. Unfortunately that’s not right. Research shows that over 50% of web browsing is done on a mobile device now. If your website doesn’t work well on a mobile device you are losing 50% of your potential clients.
It tends to be the case that if your website is well planned, created thoughtfully and tested before launching that any problems with how it works on mobile will be noticed and rectified. It’s when business owners take the approach I mentioned above of adding in things here and there and not thinking about testing how those things have affected the website overall that problems happen. When testing goes out of the window these things get missed.
Reason 5: To Make Sure Your Website Looks Professional
The aim of your website is to set you apart from your competition and to attract your ideal customer. If you plan your website well and avoid all of the mistakes that I’ve outlined above then it should be easy to achieve this.
For more detailed guidance and support on how to plan your website take a look at our courses. These courses will support you to plan your perfect website, take away any confusion and stop you from feeling overwhelmed, so that you can create a website that will help you grow your business and make you stand out online.