Planning a Website

Here's where the fun starts! It's also where the fun can go seriously wrong. You should be excited and enthusiastic about your new online business - but rushing ahead blindly without a plan has never been a wise choice.

So, in this section, we'll look at some points to consider while you're getting ready to take your business online.

Keyword Research Strategy

You do have one, don't you? Keywords drive the web - and they should be the absolute starting point for your business website. Consider the following points as part of planning a website:

  • Have you selected the best possible niche for your business?
  • Does your business concept have enough demand to generate traffic and income?
  • How much competition does your concept have? Is there a chance of 'owning' that niche?
  • Do you know how to find keywords?
  • Do you know how to choose keywords that are just right for your niche?

Logical Site Layout - Blueprint

We may not all possess a brain like Mr Spock's, but most of us appreciate logic and order - especially online. So while planning a website use your knowledge of your subject, combined with the results from your keyword research to create a logical site blueprint.

Stick to a 3-tier layout and link all tier-2 pages from your home page and navigation bar.

Professional Look and Feel

Whether you employ a graphic designer to create the overall layout of your site, buy or download one of the many available templates, or create the look yourself, there are a few principles of effective web design that you should follow:

  • Choose a design and colour scheme that suits your business and its customers. Are you an accountant, a biker bar or an online clothes shop? Let your design reflect that.

  • A clean, uncluttered layout draws visitors in. Make sure your design has lots of white space and avoid too many different backgrounds, textures and colours.

  • Dark text on a light-coloured background is easier to read.

  • Use readable, professional looking fonts for your business website. Keep fancy fonts for images or birthday cards.

Clear Navigation

Make it easy for your visitors to navigate your site! This is fundamental and one of the most important points to consider when planning a website. Regardless of where your visitors enter, they should be able to find their way around quickly and easily. Don't let them get lost.

Consistency and simplicity are key to effective navigation. Offer the most important links at the top of each page and - again - in the footer section of each page.

Make use of both left and right columns to link to different sections of the site, but keep it consistent and clean. Don't clutter your navigation with unnecessary drop-down and fly-outs and definitely avoid special effects!

Offer breadcrumbs or site search boxes if your site is very large. And don't forget to direct your visitors to your pages on other media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.

Planning a website before you start your online business will pay dividends in the long run. Using the right keywords will help your site get found and will help you provide just the information your visitors are looking for. A logical blueprint will please not only your visitors, but will help you develop new content, blog posts and even new products and services. A professional look and feel, along with a well-designed navigation will introduce your business and show that you care.

Planning a website takes time and thought - but if you can curb your impatience, you'll soon reap the benefits.

If you need advice, training, or an extra pair of hands - please check out my services page to see how I help other businesses.