A site plan will help you create a business website that meets your needs and the needs of your customers. By taking the time at the beginning to draft a plan, you can avoid pitfalls and make sure you have the content needed to get your site off the ground.
Your site plan should include:
- The Site Purpose
What is the point of this website? And how is it going to fulfill that purpose better than any other site on the Web?
- The Site Goals
SMART goals can help you take a mediocre site and make it great. Once you know the goals of the site, you can plan around them.
- The Customers
Who is going to read this website? Try to be as specific as you can regarding your target audience. Include details like: age, hobbies, income, job title(s), and so on. You might envision different people coming to different parts of your site - that's fine. But know who the audience is that you want to attract. And if your site is already live, you should include data on the audience that you currently have.
- The Content
What will be on the site? Will the content change regularly? Will you focus on selling products with product pages or focus on providing information through articles? Is your content going to be mostly text or images or multimedia? Do you have the content already created or do you still need to get it?
- The Design
What colors will your site be? Remember that design aesthetic varies across different demographics. So if you're planning a website for cutting edge designers, it will have a different look than one designed for stay-at-home dads (except maybe those stay-at-home dads that are also cutting edge designers...). The design includes things like graphic elements, colors, fonts, and typography. The more you plan ahead of time, the easier the design phase will be.
- The Timeline
Once you have the rest of the pieces of the plan together, you should decide on a schedule. Don't forget to include time for testing, revision, and user feedback.
Write Down Your Plan
I find that when I start planning a project, it can get very messy very quickly, so if you plan on having lots of ways to capture your ideas you'll be in better shape. Planning sessions can quickly become brainstorming sessions as well. This is good, but don't let the brainstorming get in the way of getting a solid plan in place for the site. If you find you still want to brainstorm more, then put that into the plan.