It can feel very overwhelming when you think about planing your new website. WordPress has it’s own ‘extras’ you need to think about apart from the obvious ‘Do I have a logo? …. Check”. I want to help you create your WordPress website plan so in this post I will address what a WordPress website plan should contain so you can see the different sections and what needs to be included in your website plan.
I have also created a handy checklist that accompanies this article, grab your copy here.
Strategy (Marketing, Traffic & Conversion)
The strategy is the most important part of your website plan. You want to know who your website is for, how you will get them to your website and what you want them to do when they arrive. To make your website valuable you must make sure the goals of the user are in alignment with the goals of your business. For example. Just having ‘traffic’ is not a goal that will grow your business. Converting 20% of traffic to email subscriptions is a goal that will grow your business. Once you make that shift you will see your website as a valuable marketing tool and you will be more likely to invest in it.
Forget thinking ‘build it and they will come’. No they want. You need to be clear about what strategies and tactics you will be using to get people to your website and get them to take action.
I was working on a Google ads campaign for a client but their site was never built with the requirement that the website needed landing pages. A landing page is a specific page you drive traffic to with one specific goal. They are designed with minimum distractions and that means no busy header or footers. The client who’s site I was working on had no way to build a simple page, any new page I build had the full header and footer. This is really bad for conversions. The website was built a few years and they didn’t know they were going to want to run ads one day. They had two options. Create low quality landing pages with no way to optimise them, resulting in higher ad spend and lower conversions, or pay for an expensive third party tool such as LeadPages. They opted for the cheapest, build low quality pages.
It’s really important to have a future proofed website which can handle your online growth. That means the ability to add landing pages for when you have specific offers. If not you will pay for it in the future either by lack of results, redesigning your site or having to pay for something like LeadPages or ClickFunnels).
It is important to consider SEO at this stage. If you want to invest in SEO then you need the help of an SEO professional who can help you identify keywords and plan your content accordingly.
TIP: Be clear on your strategy and make sure your website is flexible so it can accommodate your strategy.
You need to know in advance what pages you want on your site. But not only what pages, but what the purpose of each page is and the call to action. Then you need to prepare the content for each page, including the images. Finally you need a sketch of the layout.
If you are blogging you need to know what categories you want and have a few blogs prepared.
You also need a sitemap so you know how all your pages are going to link together.
TIP: You must consider the customer journey and the buying process in your content. Creating strategic content ensures your website is valuable because it will be leading the visitor down a path to an eventual sale.
In this section you need to define the colours and typography you want to use for your site.
You can also define any extra visual aspects such as borders and backgrounds if you have been inspired.
I recommend creating a mood board to help you do this. You can do this in Canva for free.
Also, look at other websites for inspiration. Pick out the aspects you like and don’t like. Identify why you think they work or don’t work.
Use this inspiration in your sketches.
Defining the functionality of your website can feel like most complicated part. Do you need contact forms? Do you want to show events or take payments? Will you have a membership section or e-commerce?
List out all the functions you want your website to have.
Making sure you have everything in order before you start the actual build will save you a lot of time and stress.
Make sure you have sorted out your domain name and hosting. Do you know where you want the site to be built? Do you want an SSL certificate?
For WordPress, how many user accounts do you need to set up and what level of access will they have?
How will you secure, maintain and update your site?
Do you have a crisis management plan?
Have you researched and defined the theme you want to use and all the plugins you need?
Planing your website is the first and most critical part when you decide to build your own website.
Your website will only be as good as your plan. If your plan is strategic, strong and well thought then out then your website will be successful.
The problem is, you don’t know what you don’t know. It’s easy to get over confident and think you have all the details. When this happens there are two moments when you realise you should have got help with your plan.
- When you are building your site and you realise it’s taking a lot longer than you thought. This usually happens when you keep changing your mind or discovering things you didn’t know you had to do.
- Once your website is live and you realise it’s not actually doing anything for your business. No-one is visiting it and you get no new enquiries.
Some people never even realise and live in the ‘unconscious competence’ bubble, thinking everything is great. When in fact it takes just a quick look at the Google analytics to show them their website is useless.
If you want to ‘sanity check’ your plan, download this checklist to see if you have everything covered. If you realise you need some help then get in touch with me. I offer local website planning workshops and online website planning workshops too.