How to Plan Out a Website

It’s not just about building a Sitemap!

You have been tasked to plan out your website, but you have no idea how to do this?!? So here is how to plan your website design, like a Rockstar!

Whether you are designing your website or engaging a developer’s services, the following will set you up for a journey to success.

So let’s dive right in, shall we!

Help to Plan a Website

What is Website Planning?

The first step for website design and development is website planning. Because this creates the site’s architecture and mapping.

So this is what you need to consider:

  • Who the site is for (Your Audience)
  • The goals of the site (Your Ambitions)
  • The tone of the site (Your Voice)
  • What it will be called (Domain Name)
  • Where it will live (Website Hosting)
  • How it will look (Website Theme)
  • What it will do (Website Functions & Plug-Ins)
  • How it will be navigated (Website Mapping)
  • How visitors engage with the site (The User Experience & Customer Journey)
  • In what way will the information is presented (Website Design)
  • What information is included (The Content)
  • How people find your site and how Google views it (Search Engine Optimisation SEO)

So, this is a broad list to start creating your website plan. But now the information needs to be categorised into definitive steps. And, they must be performed in a certain order.

What are the steps in planning for a website?

There are 4 crucial steps for how to plan out your Website design. These are:

  1. Preplanning
  2. Set-Up
  3. Options & Optimisations
  4. Design

From civilisations earliest days, a well thought out plan, meant humans went from creating fire, to reaching the stars.

Understanding the Steps of Planning Out a Website

If you also follow these steps, everyone can align and be working on the same page.

Next, you will come to understand why website planning is so important.

Explaining the steps of website planning?

1. Preplanning

Based upon your business plan, this stage is crucial for defining your website’s goals. Because you need to think about who your target audience is and what you want your website to achieve.

2. Set-Up:

Next. Where will your website be hosted? (Domain Registration or Immigration). What are the primary Setting optimisations? (Page Name & Date Formats). Which website template do you want? (Theme installation). Etc…

You will gain a very good grounding by answering these questions.

3. Options & Optimisation:

Now, you choose what options your site is going to have. And how it is going to best deliver to your clients. Also, how it is going to be found, ranked, and mapped out for its performance on Search Engines?

Knowing these answers enables the selection of the necessary Plug-Ins, Page & Function additions, Keyword choices and creation of the best Search Engine Optimisation strategies.

4. Design:

Finally, this step is where your break out your creativity. You can now layout the look, attraction, message, and desire for engagement of your website.

The more information that you express here, describes accurate Theme customisation, an attractive User Experience, Copywriting enrichment and Visual engagement, etc…

Why is this important for website planning?

  1. Preplanning
  2. Set-Up
  3. Options & Optimisations
  4. Design

A website planned out from these 4 foundations, performs as desired and makes it easy for search engines to crawl & navigate. And, it gives your clients exactly what they are searching for.

And, because it makes for a User Experience that keeps your visitors on your website longer, they are more likely to complete the Customer Journey.

How cool is that!?!

So take a look at our Plan a Website Form, that our clients complete. And, next, we review the best website planning tools.

Planning Form

What are the best website planning tools?

Because we want to share the best information, here is our recommended website planning tools. And yes, we have tested and used these, for our client’s website planning and mapping:

This is a wonderful little tool that is ‘Like a website… but naked’. If there were a blueprint for a website, this is what it would look like. Navigate to every page, manage the metas and titles, and see the bones of your website plan before you push your first pixel.

Jumpchart has a FREE single project plan with limited features and storage. However, their higher pricing plans have more inclusions and are very economical.

It is a great little platform for knocking out quick to build and easy to understand website planning and site mapping. So we highly recommend it!

Now, this is a full-suite powerful website planner! Taking a project, all the way from concept to completion. Including a Site Map Builder, Diagram Maker, Content Planner & Mockup Designer, this premium-priced platform is everything you need for large scale team projects. And has the added bonus of CMS Plugins (for direct website structure & content upload), Custom API Development and App Integrations for project management.

With a 14 day Free Trial and no card lock-in, Slickplan gives you the opportunity to test their platform’s suitability, without obligation.

We definitely recommend Slickplan for professional developers and teams, however, it likely has far more functionality than the average user requires.

So, being strong on Site Mapping and User Flow, Timblee is a very solid planning platform with one of the best ‘eye-catching’ process representations. Changes and revisions can be performed lightning fast. And it has powerful feedback tools and integrations, for sharing and collaborating on projects.

Timblee has a simple and very economical pricing plan, with a 14-day no-obligation trial. So it is a wonderful middle range platform, that will visually ‘Wow’ your clients for their mapping and workflow projects. It is not ideal for content planning or upload, but if this is not on your ‘bucket list’, then you definitely can’t go wrong with Timblee.

This platform is our favourite! And, it has amazing intuitive tools to collect, organise and collaborate in UX, Strategy, Design & Development.

FlowMapp is easy to gather, manage and store requirements for the development of websites and apps using the interactive Sitemap, Customer Journey Map, Personas, Flowcharts and User Flow.

Plus, with a FREE single project user experience, a FREE trial period for larger subscriptions, and no credit card lock-in, this is a definite all-around product that will satisfy any site planning requirement.

So how do you feel about planning your website now?

Is there some insights within this article that you were not aware of?

Would you use these 4 steps to plan out your website?

Which website planning, site mapping and workflow tool, do you think, you would use?

When it is broken down like this, does your website planning journey seem as daunting as you first thought?

Please leave your comments below and share your thoughts about better website planning.

Thanks for reading.

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