Are you in the beginning stages of planning the design or redesign of your company’s website? It is a daunting task for sure. There are so many details and so many pieces!
How the site should flow and navigate will heavily influence the design. Likewise the number of pages and the content that will appear on those pages will also affect the overall site structure.
So before you begin to design or visualize your site, get organized! Prepare the groundwork by making a checklist of tasks that need to be completed before any site design. The more preparation you can do ahead of time, the less time-consuming and costly revisions will happen later.
Here is a high-level website planning checklist to get you started.
1. Purchase Your Domain Name
If this is your first website, determining your domain name, or internet address, is critical and needs to be researched. If you have a domain name, such as your company name (eg, LeinickeGroup.com), but would like to be found by a product or service search too, purchase the domain name that describes your product or service best (eg, StLouisWebDesign.com).
2. Develop a Site Map
Create and finalize a site map that lists all the pages and sub-pages for the site. This will serve as a roadmap for the project. This site map will help determine your marketing messaging and SEO focus.
3. Select a Host
Shop around for a DNS host that will store your site on its server. Prices and levels of hosting services vary.
4. Work Offline
Arrange for space on a development server, probably with your host, where the site can be developed offline and not visible to the world.
5. Team Briefing
Be sure to include your web developers in an initial briefing. They will need to understand the direction and goals for the site to possibly avoid major problems down the road.
6. Gather Copy Content
Gather all the copy for each page of the website and organize it according to the site map. This would be a great time to have copy proofread to avoid delays later. Remember good content is critical for website success.
7. Gather Image Content
Assemble and categorize all images and graphics that will appear on the site. Locating quality images can be time-consuming, so start this process early.
Complete this Website Planning Checklist before diving headlong into your website design. Once completed, you will be better prepared to discuss important details, such as SEO and marketing messaging, with your team.