Building a new website isn’t a decision that should be made lightly. There are cost implications, retraining for staff, content moving, possible bugs and it’s a time-consuming process. If you’re just looking for some added functionality or design changes then talk to your agency/designer/developer as they may have an easier solution than a new website. However, if you’ve decided on a new website, follow our 5 simple steps for planning your new site.
- What do you want?
Why do you want a new website; is the design beyond saving, is the user experience poor, do you have a new business purpose you need to fulfil, are you limited by the platform you’ve used in the past? You need to know what you do/don’t want/like about your current website (if you have one) and you need to know what your website’s purpose is (data capture, sales, information provision…).
- Who is responsible for decision-making?
Whilst there’s likely to be more than one of you reviewing designs, testing iterations and making suggestions, ensure that you appoint one key contact. This is the person who communicates with the designers and developers, gives feedback, makes small decisions independently and has overall responsibility for the project from your end. This reduces confusion for both parties and also reduces time-wasting.
- What’s essential?
A cluttered website puts people off, they want to be able to find the information they’ve come looking for easily. Who you are, what you do/offer, how people can buy/get involved with what you do/offer, contact information and relevant call-to-actions are the main information you need. Within the ‘how people can buy/get involved’ category there are lots of variations of what this might include, such as an online shop, an e-mail sign-up, a quote request etc. But essentially, these are the common sections that your website will need.
- Who are your audience?
Your website is a marketing and sales tool, and in any marketing and sales activity, you should have your target audience at the heart. If you don’t know who your audience is, do some research – use an online survey on your current website, e-mail your newsletter/customer database and use Google Analytics. Your target audience will inform design and user experience.
- Get cracking
Deliberation and over-thinking can be the cause of many a bad decision. Once you know what your website needs to do, what the essential content is, who your audience is, and who is responsible for it, make a start! Try not to be too prescriptive with your brief as the designer/developer will use their own expertise to make decisions and you should be pleasantly surprised.
If you’re thinking about building a new website and need some guidance getting started, drop us a message: firstname.lastname@example.org