It is very important that you plan your website. It is a necessary step in the build process, and one that shouldn’t be missed out or skimped over. A well thought out website can be the difference between a sale and a lost visitor or customer due to confusion.
It may sound odd, but start planning your website with pencil and paper. You need to plan the structure and content of your website before you start building it, otherwise you will end up with something that is confusing to your visitor and doesn’t flow logically. It will look like it has had extra pages tagged on to menus with no thought to the actual layout, and that feeling will come across to the visitor. The user will not be able to find what they are looking for and become disillusioned, and that will then reflect on you or your business image.
Here are some steps for planning your website:
- First, think about your visitor. Who are they? Are they old or young? What are they coming to your website for? Do they want information about your product, contact information for your business, or do they want to buy something from you? Write out a few scenarios for your visitors.
The above task will show you which are important pages of information, and these pages need to be created as main pages at the top level of the website. You can then add the extra pages you need and group the menus accordingly. At cannedSunlight we use a flow diagram to show the structure of the website, (see fig. 1 right).
- Make sure that every page is easily accessible to the visitor, and not hidden a few levels down so they have to hunt through pages to find it. Rearrange how your menus are grouped if necessary to bring important pages towards the top level.
- If necessary, write hints next to the page titles that tell you what content you plan to put on that page.
Once you have your plan and you are happy with the structure you can start building your website. You have something solid to refer back to, and your website will be easy to navigate and a pleasure for your visitor to use.
This is part nine of a twenty four part series of tips provided by cannedSunlight Web Design Costa Blanca to celebrate the run up to Christmas. You can view the other tips here: Tip 1, Tip 2, Tip 3, Tip 4, Tip 5, Tip 6, Tip 7, Tip 8. Come back tomorrow for further tips and advice on how to get a great website that works for you or your business.