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Planning your website project

Your website is an integral part of your business (as you will already know). The next version of your website doesn’t need to just better your competition’s, it should also answer your target audiences needs and be able to fit your business strategy moving forward. Sounding more complex already isn’t it?

So before you go ahead and commission a redesign it’s worth spending time planning your next digital presence. You don’t need to be a web designer to plan a truly effective digital solution,  we’ve pieced together this guide to help you plan your next website.

We’ve pieced together this guide to help you plan your next website.

A well executed website redesign can have a major impact on a company’s online marketing and bottom line. But redesigning a website requires a lot more time and planning than many anticipate, especially to do it right and get the results you want.

Jumping in without proper planning could make your website redesign efforts futile. So don’t rush through the redesign process, instead commit the time and resources needed to ensure that every aspect of your website is strategically and meticulously planned and executed.  Here are 9 steps that will help you in the process.

Brief

It’s important to clearly outline what you want to achieve, it may sound obvious but getting it down in black and white helps a business list what the objectives are. A good starting point is:

  • What are you trying to achieve?
  • Your objectives (now and moving forward)?
  • Target audience?
  • Needs assessment, what are all the things that your site needs to do?
  • Functionality of website. Create a wish list and prioritise what’s essential and what you would like. The latter can always come in phase 2.

Take a step back, understand their needs. Focus on the user experience. This website isn’t for you but for your target audience.


Content

Structure

Structure and page sections. What is important on your website? look at other websites to see what they prioritise, follow simple user ability trends, look at how modern websites structure pages, you shouldn’t have more than eight sections in your top navigation so it’s clear for your users to digest the information.

Prioritise what’s important. This helps your web team plan the sites structure (wire framing) contact information on every page, services highlighted on homepage.

People want to read a quick summary of information, bullet-pointed text. Be concise, generate interest finish your information with a call to action.

Organisation

Who is piecing together the content? If you’re working in a team do you need to set internal deadlines for delivery? Content isn’t just text anymore. Who can supply the images, videos (YouTube) PDFs etc.

Photography

Do you need to update your photography? Stock photographs from image libraries can be good but sometimes it pays to commission your own, there are lots of photographers in the Newcastle area to choose from, some may even specialise in your sector.

If you are North East based maybe try not to use generic images like the Angel of the North and other local imagery, it’s seen all the time and doesn’t help you stand out. Don’t be afraid to show the people in your company! help your user make a connection with your business. (Not glossy airbrushed stock photos). One benefit of commissioning your own photographs is you can use in your printed material too.

Analytics

You will probably have google analytics in place, tracking how many visitors your website attracts, how they find your site and what pages they visit. This data can help you shape your website structure / content to fit your users needs. Sometimes what you deem important may not be what your visitors are actually looking for.

Design

Your website should be clear and easy to use. Don’t just gauge yourself against the against your competitors. See the bigger picture.


 

Keep the homepage fresh.This involves content and your time

Social Media

Social media is here to stay and continue to grow, even if you don’t personally use it. Know what social media does for your business and it’s benefits. There’s lots of platforms not all will suit your business! it’s not all about the hard sell, but more building up your brand.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Blogs, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram are popular ones.

PC/Tablet/Mobile

The internet no longer sits on for desktop
Would your users benefit from a better experience on tablet or mobile?

Integration

Now you are planning your new website, who is going to do what?
Organise your website infrastructure.

Who is in charge of collecting website content, updating the news/content? Sends Newsletters to your database.
Who updates your social media? What channels and how often?
Who responds and logs your website contacts? Do you have a CRM.
Measures success of content by tracking website analytics, checks SEO rankings.
Identifies key search terms and sets up a (PPC) pay per click campaign.
Newsletters.
Organise your website infrastructure.

Add on services

Google analytics.
Mail Chimp.
Social Media.

SEO

Content strategy.
SEO specialist. Budgets, objectives.

Budget

Start big with your wish list. This can always be broken into phases to suit budgets. Expand your websites functionality as the company grows.

Before you start getting quotes from a web design agencies, and completing your pre project preparation (as we have mentioned before) it’s important to compile a list of exact pages.
Having a set budget will help you.
If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.

Funding

Are you eligible for 35% funding? we can help look at your options.
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) See NBSL