When it comes to creating a website having a website planning template can be a life saver. So may people tell me that they are ready to get a website but have no clue what they want that website for or what they want it to do. This then leads to not only total confusion, but not making the website work for you in your business – it’s just basically sat there doing nothing as the information on there is pointless to anyone!
How to create a website planning template
So just how do you create a website planning template for your business? If you are anything like me I hate planning! But Ieven I can see the difference an hour or two of planning can make in the long run – hours worth of time (and money!) saved and a goal to work towards.
When I run my website planning masterclasses we go through 5 steps to creating a website planning template:
Step 1: Get clear on your business
If you are not clear on your business or your reasoning behind wanting a website then your website visitors won’t be either. Have you ever been on those websites and as soon as you land on them you have no clue what they are about, what they even do or more importantly what they want YOU to do? So what do you do? Click off and find another website, which is one thing we don’t want people to do on your site!
Which is why if you are in the early stages of your business I sometimes don’t even recommend you have a website, as 6 months to a year down the line your business could have evolved into something completely different. During that time you will also not only have refined your services and who you want to work with but you may have also discovered the personality in your business and created a whole new brand.
So things you need are:
- Who you are and what you do (keep this to one main sentence and a short paragraph)
- What you offer (products and services)
- Who you work with (ideal client)
- Branding (your business personality, logo, fonts and colours)
Step 2: Your website mission
Why do you want a website and what do you want people to do on it? This will reflect in your website so it’s something that you need to get really clear on when creating your website planning template.
So firstly why do you want a website? Having a website for having a website sake won’t do much for your business, you need to figure out where it sits in your overall business and marketing plan. What do you need it to do for you?
- Make sales
- Build trust
- Grow relationships
- Offer information
- Run online courses
Or it could be something totally different!
Then you can start to put together what you want people to do on your website – what is your website mission? To figure out your website mission think about the process in how people buy from you currently. Do they book a call, do they just buy from your shop, do you need to nurture them on your mailing list first?
Knowing this you can then transfer this onto your website so that they go through the same process.
Step 3: The customer journey
So once you are clear about your business, why you need a website and what your website mission is then you want people to achieve that when they land on your website.
This is the journey you take your visitors through from the moment they land on your website right through to achieving your website mission.
You need to keep asking yourself what do they need to know now and what they need to know next and then give them that! It’s a lot of second guessing, which is why you need to be really clear on your ideal client.
So when creating your website planning template you need to straight away offer them your website mission, so a call to action to book a call, visit your shop etc. Now if they’ve only just come across you then it’s highly unlikely they are going to straight away want to book a call in with you, they may want to know a bit more about your business, about you, what services you offer, view a few testimonials or sign up to a mailing list.
So this is the order you would lay out your pages, anticipating what they would want to know or do next before they feel ready to achieve your website mission.
Step 4: Research, research, research
As well as reasearching all the above to create your website planning template you will also need to research other websites and layouts.
If you were to get married or do home improvements one of the things you would do is look for inspiration! It’s the same with websites. To find out what you like and don’t like you need to see what’s already out there.
So put your website critic hat on and start looking at other websites and making notes. Whether that’s website in a similar industry to you or totally different.
- What pages do they have?
- How are their pages laid out?
- What’s included on their pages – portfolios, galleries etc.?
- What attracts you to certain sites?
- How easy are they to use and how?
- What do you really like and dislike?
- What could you do better?
Step 5: Website structure
Now it’s time to put it all together to complete your website planning template. To structure out your website you need:
- A list of the pages you want on the site and how people will get to them (main menu, footer, from other pages)
- What you want on those pages (images, text, layout ideas)
- Also make a note of what functionality you will need on the website (such as ecommerce or booking calendars)
I’d suggest creating a folder on your computer entitled with your website name, then within that folders for each page. In each of these folders put not only documents of text and content, but images you like, as well as basic drawings of how each page will be laid out)
TOP TIP: You can create your design of your pages in Canva (I wouldn’t recommend publishing with them as their sites are quite basic) but when it comes to creating your website or getting someone else to do it for you, you have your complete website planning template and a Canva file of your website vision!
But that’s not it! If you want more help creating your website planning template then I have a free website planning course, that also includes a workbok that covers all the steps above!