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Achieving Website Development Success – Part 1 – Initial Planning

Many people become frustrated with website development projects. For others, the process might be smooth, but the result doesn’t live up to expectations. These situations occur when you fail to properly plan for a new website design project.

Now, before going on, you might be thinking it is up to the website designer to plan the project for you. Of course, they need a plan too, but there are also things you need to do, think about, and/or be aware of. By doing these things, you will end up with a better and more successful website.

Three Important Things to Remember Before You Start

  1. Your website is about users, not you – try not to design the website for you or from the perspective of your business. Instead, make it about the users by focusing on why they will want to visit your website and what they want to achieve by doing so.
  2. The website you get at the end of the development process is not static. In fact, you should never consider your website as being finished. A good website should be a dynamic tool that changes and adapts according to the needs of your business.
  3. The value of your website should not be underestimated. After all, it is one of the first experiences people will have with your company.

Understand that Website Development is a Marketing Function

Website development is often mistaken as being a technical task, but it’s not. Instead, website development is a marketing function. After all, your website is a marketing tool, so the process of getting a new website developed should be led by your marketing team.

Decide on the Website’s Main Objectives

What do you want your business to achieve by getting a new website? This could be any one or a combination of the following common objectives:

  • Enhance the profile of your brand
  • Make sales directly on the website (if it’s an eCommerce website)
  • Generate leads
  • Get potential customers to phone or email your business
  • Encourage people to visit your physical location
  • Register
  • Click on ads

Being clear about the objectives of your website is essential before you can move on.

What Do You Want the Website to Do?

You should also decide on the functionality you want the website to have. You don’t have to make a final list at this stage as the website developer you choose can help you with this part of the process. If there are things you want, however, list them out.

Remember as well, you might not be able to get all the functionality on your wish list. After all, you probably have a set budget that you must stay within, which may restrict the features you can have.

Two Additional Points to Consider at this Stage

  • Brand – many small businesses don’t have a brand when they decide to get a new website. If this applies in your situation, you will need to get a brand either as part of the website development process (if the developer has designers with branding and logo creation skills) or separate to it. You should factor this into your budget.
  • Domain name – if you don’t already have one, you will also need a domain name.

The Next Stages

In part 2 of this series, we’ll look at the process of selecting and beginning work with a developer.