When it comes to website planning, it often seems like a hefty task. Many people think, "I don't have any technical knowledge!" But, the truth is, nowadays, it's an approachable feat for all of us. There are numerous platforms out there that make it as easy as dropping and dragging your favorite photos and drafting your catchiest content. Still, a website design plan is paramount because there are a lot of moving pieces. Each piece is totally doable, but you want to come to the table with a smart strategy. Since we like to approach the process systematically, we thought we'd share our website planning guide with you. In four steps, you can lasso the moon and create the website of your dreams.
1. Define Your Goals
We know the goal is to sell products and services, duh! But, don't take this first step lightly. Defining your goals allows you to do several things:
- Pinpoint your audience. You can base this on age, interests, occupation, income, and more.
- Prioritize the information you need to share. What's the first thing you want customers to know about you when they visit your homepage?
- Figure out what your audience is looking for. What questions do you need to answer?
- Decide how you will call them to action. Will you offer consumer education materials, post customer reviews, share videos, and/or build a robust social media community?
2. Draft Your Content
Once you've etched out a few goals and defined your target audience, it's time to focus on content. There's a cliché web designers in Denver and all across the globe hear: content is king. The thing about clichés is that they're often repeated because they're often true.
Content will make or break your website. First, what you write needs to offer something, whether that's knowledge, information, entertainment, or a means to an end (i.e., making a purchase). Content is also where you'll insert keywords and add links. In essence, content drives the entire site.
Here are a few of the golden rules when it comes to website content:
Keep your paragraphs short. People love to scan. So, keep your paragraphs short; we're talking two to three sentences.
- Make your sentences simple. No matter your audience, you want to present your information in clear, non-head-scratching ways.
- Write in the active voice. That is, keep things in the present tense, using simple verbs.
- Avoid jargon. Unless you're in a super techy arena, or something to that effect, avoid jargon that people will have to go look up before they can continue reading.
- Mix in images and videos where possible. This adds color and variety to your words.
3. Secure Your SEO Stance
Although we just advised you to avoid jargon, there's one term in the web design world that can't be ignored: Search Engine Optimization (SEO). That's a highfalutin way of saying, "Google, notice us!" Let's say you're starting a company that sells essential oils. That's wonderful! However, you're probably entering into a market that's saturated with several other essential oil sellers. How are you going to stand out? By landing on the first page of a Google search result for "best essential oils." SEO will help you land on that page. Here's a sample platter of what SEO involves:
- Keyword research
- Link building strategies
- Free offerings (e.g., webinars, eBooks, and newsletters)
- Imagery with alt text
- Short, well-produced videos
- Mobile optimization
- Social media
That's enough to make your head spin, right? Fear not. It sounds like a lot, but each element can be quite enjoyable to produce.
Link Building Strategy
As you keep your keywords in mind (and be mindful that you don't over-stuff your site with the right keywords), you also want to think about the links you create within your site. Throughout each web page, you want to make sure you're linking to other pertinent pages. This includes internal pages and external pages.
So, if you're writing a product description for your lavender essential oil, you can also include an internal link to your blog post that describes the benefits of lavender. Then, throughout your blog post on the benefits of lavender, you also want to include links.
A good rule of thumb is two to three internal links per 1,000-word article and two to three external links per 1,000-word article. So, throughout your article, you might link internally to your lavender essential oil and your newest diffuser.
Then, you might link externally to Better Homes and Garden's article on how to grow lavender. External links sound bad. Why would you want to direct the user away from your site? But, they're actually a great way to show your authority on the subject and offer your some of your sources of information.
We'd be remiss if we didn't include social media in your SEO strategy. The best web design in Denver and throughout the world includes an invitation to join their social media community. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are where you catch people's eyes with new product launches, helpful tutorials, and up-to-date sales.
If you're wondering how to find a web design company, then secure one that knows how to rock the social media game. Many of the heavy-hitters in the industry can help you set up your profile, secure hundreds of followers, and curate posts that will have powerful insights (traffic) to, ultimately, help you boost sales. We must accept it: social media runs the world.
4. Invest and Re-Invest In Your Site
Once you've published a beautiful site with all the right themes, images, videos, and content, then maintenance becomes your bosom buddy. You can keep the overall theme of your site, but be sure to keep your content fresh, your product descriptions current, and your images/video offerings splashy.
It's wise to start a company blog to post informative, current posts that talk about your industry. This illustrates your knowledge and provides a plethora of ways for Google to give you the thumbs up. You can talk about your new products and, hopefully, be featured as a snippet on Google someday.
Web designers often refer to this as website maintenance. Google changes its algorithm like we change our socks, so it's important to keep up with all the right SEO trends and remain competitive.
For example, not too long ago, Google said companies who post images on their site with alt text will rank higher. Then, they said company sites that are optimized to be viewed on mobile phones will rank higher. So, there are numerous "demands" that must be met in order to ace the SEO game and website maintenance is where all this sprucing up happens.
Website Planning for the Stars
That is, website planning for stars like you! With the right mindset, you can design a company site that will leap straight to the top of Google's search results. Your website is your storefront. So, it's important to start with a careful brainstorming session before you advance onto content creation and SEO formulas.
Here at SiteWired Web Solutions, we spend our days creating affordable sites for small businesses. We serve all industries, from B2B, to education, to non-profits, to startups, and more. Together, we can bring targeted traffic to your site, develop the best SEO strategies to meet your needs, implement modern and clean web development, and even knock your social media socks off!
Kick things off with a free mockup today. Together with your quote, we can show you a little foretaste of your future storefront. One of our digital experts will chat with you in person and help you establish the business you've been dreaming about for years.