Planning is the key to success in everything you do for your business, including your web design. The opposite is also true. Website projects fail when designers just throw things together. Find out why you need a website project plan, how to create one, and where to find a free guide that simplifies everything.
The Foundation for a Successful Website
If you’re reading up on how to have a successful website project, you probably fall into one of two categories:
- You’re starting a business and you need a website that will bring you traffic, sales and leads while showing off what you do or sell
- You have a website and it isn’t working
Either way, you already know getting the results you want is going to take time and cost money. Both of those things are limited resources. Having a website project plan helps you focus on the most critical aspects of website design. It’s also a tool to communicate your expectations to the web design team or web agency you ultimately work with and evaluate the end result.
What is a Website Project Plan?
A website project plan is a written document that covers the process of developing your website. It starts by identifying what you need, who your website is intended to reach, what features you require, how best to present that information and so on.
If putting something like that together sounds like a lot of work, it is.
It’s tempting to just find something you like the looks of and tell your web designer, “Make me something like this, only with my information.” But a successful website helps your business stand out.
Who Needs a Website Project Plan?
If you’re just creating a blogging website for personal use, you can possibly skip the website project plan. But it’s worth your time if you’re any of these:
- Entrepreneurs starting a new business
- Small to mid-sized businesses
- Nonprofits or other organizations
- Religious or educational institutions
- Enterprise-level business
- Web designers, marketing agencies or web development firms
Every one of those entities is made up of people already giving all they’ve got to keep up with daily tasks. Whether you’re the owner, the boss, the head administrator or the person in charge of your company’s website project, you probably already have plenty on your plate. But we’ve been doing this for years now, and we’ve seen time and again that the success of the end result is directly connected to what happens during the planning phase.
Like Building a House
Here’s what people do that gets them in trouble. They Google something like web design Dallas and get a list of DFW website developers. They call them up and say something like, “How much is a website?” Some of those agencies ask for a bunch of information they don’t feel like they have time to provide. Other website design companies or freelancers might give them a ballpark figure. So far that’s fine.
Things start to go wrong when they hire the guy (or girl, or group or whatever) with the lowest up-front cost, then say, “Build me something like this competitor, only I want to rank better on Google.” There’s no thought or planning, so they either get something thrown together or a copy and paste version of someone else’s website.
You wouldn’t call a home builder and say, “How much to build a house?” then hire the contractor who gave you the lowest number. You would expect anyone worth their pay to ask a lot of very detailed questions about what you want before they put together a quote. And, you would most likely want references and a way to look at their previous work.
It’s the same with web design. Before you get a quote for your website project, the person or agency you’re considering might be able to give you a ballpark figure, but to give you an accurate view of what where you currently are, what your goals are, and the best way to help you get there, they need information from you. If you’ve already created a plan, you have those answers at your fingertips.
How to Actually Create a Website Project Plan
“Okay,” you’re saying. “I’m convinced. I don’t want to waste time and money on website design that doesn’t work. But I don’t even know where to start.”
Every project should be a collaboration between the person or agency creating it and the business or organization the website represents. At Spade Design, we’ve worked with businesses all over the world to create websites that bring them traffic, leads, and sales, in each case starting with intensive planning.
We’ve streamlined our planning process to make it more efficient both for us and for clients. Our website planning guide explains how to create a website project plan with actionable tips you can do all at once or a little at a time. The guide is free. Get your free download here.