There are many thoughts out there about what makes a successful website. However I’m going to tell you that there is #1 main reason for website failure and its nothing to do with technology, design or marketing.
Whether you already have a website that doesn’t actually work or if you are stuck in website DIY overwhelm for months and months there is one simple reason for why you are not seeing the website success that you have been dreaming of.
Ok…so let’s get straight into it……the #1 reason for website failure is the lack of a website plan!
Planning a website is just as important as creating one. Consider building a website to be like building a house. You must begin with a solid plan for your house before you can add the foundation, walls and roof. It’s the same when it comes to building your website. If you miss the website planning step and dive into the design stage you are definitely going to have issues with your website down the line.
There’s quite a lot that goes into creating a website for your business. Creating even a basic website involves a great deal of planning and discovery before any design or development can begin. Not having a proper understanding about what it entails results in key areas being overlooked and thus resulting in undesirable outcomes for your business website later on. To help ensure you don’t miss any crucial steps in building your website you need to start with a solid website plan.
So what is a website plan and what is included in it?
A website plan will identify all the elements that you need to consider when creating a website for your business. A website plan will help you to identify the tools you need to build your website and help you to figure out the costs, effort and support (resources) you need to get it done. A website plan is a good eye-opener and will actually help you decide if you can create your website yourself or if and where you need professional help.
Elements of a solid website plan:
- Defines the GOAL of your website – having an understanding about the purpose of the website will set the foundation for the rest of the elements of the website plan and ultimately website success for your business.
- Identifies the TARGET AUDIENCE – understanding the demographics, beliefs, values and pain points of the site’s intended visitors helps to create a website experience that appeals to your target market and this sets the stage for conversion and selling.
- Defines your businesses VALUE PROPOSITION – understanding and clearly defining “what you do”, “who you serve” and the “benefits you create” helps to build a clear message throughout your website.
- List down the desired website FUNCTIONALITY – identifying all the interactions or actions you want your ideal client to perform on the website helps to map out a clear road-map for the website visitors and thus encourages engagement and conversion.
- Plan the key CONTENT areas for the website covering aspects such as what you do and who you serve, results and benefits you create for your ideal client, service offerings, past work and testimonials, your story and experience, packages and pricing, etc. Also list down web pages and their navigation structure.
- Identify and create a business BRAND and branding elements – it’s important that your website reflects your business’s brand accurately so planning and creating a logo, colour palette, fonts and images should be done before designing your website.
- WEBSITE PLATFORM and related technical requirements – based on your current and future website goals and functionality, your budget, technical capabilities evaluate a suitable platform for your website and iron out any required technical requirements and needs.
- DOMAIN and HOSTING needs of the website – All websites need a domain and depending on your chosen website platform you would also need hosting. Identifying suitable providers and deciding on an appropriate plan is required before you can begin the website design phase.
- Website BEHIND THE SCENE – While it’s important for your website to look awesome it is also equally important to function faultlessly. So plan for website security, backups and mobile responsiveness of your website.
- SEO STRATEGY – The secret to getting free traffic to your website is SEO, so planning for SEO from the beginning is crucial for website success. Plan for keyword research, keyword optimisation and backlinks.
- INTEGRATION – Integrations coupled with automation provides the foundation for a conversion optimised website that will be a game changer for your small business. Based on your business systems plan for what integrations are viable and useful for your website. E.g. Email Marketing Systems, CRM systems, Scheduling Tools
- SALES FUNNELS – Identify lead magnets that can be used as sales funnels to attract and convert clients on your website.
- WEBSITE ANALYTICS – As with anything websites need to be measured for performance optimisation. Planning for tools to measure website parameters so that future corrective actions can be taken is also an important part of your website plan.
- WEBSITE MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT – Last but not least a website is an ongoing investment and requires ongoing work on it. So plan on how and who is going to provide ongoing support and what activities are needs to be carried out and when.
And that’s it…we have covered the essential elements you need to consider and plan for when creating a website for your small business.
Setting up a website for your small business is not an easy task and it requires a lot of initial planning to make sure you get it right. Creating a solid plan for your website is the battle half won. Even if you decide to DIY or hire a professional to build your website, having a clear roadmap will help to keep you on course and ultimately achieve website success.