Starting a new Business?
Website Planning Is a critical part of Launching a business
create an amazing digital presence for your new business with our Comprehensive website planning guide.
Inside This Guide
Why is Website Planning so important?
In today’s marketplace, growing and operating a business requires a strong digital presence. Whether you own a food truck, an e-commerce store, a plumbing service, or an accounting firm, your customers will turn to the internet to locate, pre-screen, and select the business that provides the best combination of price, availability, quality and trust.
Taking the time to go through a website planning process will allow you to come out the other side with a professional website, positioning you to capture these potential customers and showcase what your business can do for them.
Creating a high-quality user experience doesn’t require a break-the bank budget or complex website. What it does require is a well-planned design with a platform that supports your business well.
While this may seem like a daunting task on top of all you do as an entrepreneur, the great news is there are many options to achieve a strong web presence without sacrificing other business needs.
How this guide can help you with your website planning
Starting a website without breaking the bank can happen! We’re here to help you get it done. We have created a guide to walk you through considerations while planning your business’s digital future.
The guide may look long, but don’t worry! Even though there are many things to consider and plan for, not all need to happen from day one (especially if you’re not running an Ecommerce site).
We want to give you all the tools up front so you can start with the plan that’s best for your business. You can start with the basics and then expand once you’re ready. If you have planned out all of those steps you can be confident everything will work together nicely.
Starting a business isn’t easy, but 8th and Palm is passionate about helping fledgling businesses get off the ground. We want to be your trusted partner in making your digital presence SHINE. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or just have questions about the process – schedule an appointment with us. In one hour, we can start you on your digital journey and give you confidence in the direction you choose.
The guide below is designed to direct you down the right digital path for your business. We hope it gives you the tools to design a successful web presence and think about your business potential from a new perspective.
To be successful with your website planning you first need to think through the primary needs of your business and then translate those needs into what that means for your web presence. For example, do you have an e-commerce store that you will run online or do you need to expand your brick-and-mortar operation to showcase your work to a larger, online audience?
Your website planning needs will be significantly different if you are an E-Commerce business compared to a freelance artist simply displaying their artwork online.
What features will the website need for your business?
There are many other website features and considerations you’ll need to consider as you plan your overall business launch. If you are starting an E-Commerce we have additional details you should pay-attention to.
- Blog – Will you have a blog to help drive new customers, or will your business be a blog
- Marketing – How much will your business need to market and how will that involve your website?
- Are you selling merchandise?
- Will you have subscriptions?
- Do you need to display specific types of data?
- How many languages will you need to deliver your site in?
- Will your website have memberships?
- Will people be able to comment or communicate in a forum?
Other important elements in the Website planning process.
- Regulatory- Do you need to factor in special regulatory needs? If you’re in a regulated field you’ll need to pay close attention to what platforms and providers you’re allowed to use. Common fields with high regulatory bars are medical or financial. You might even need to ensure you meet rules like GDPR in Europe.
- What are your growth plans? Do you expect a high level of growth quickly? This may mean you choose platforms that are capable of growth or will be easy for new employees to utilize.
- Budget – This is always a concern and will often be a factor influencing what route you take.
- Internal roles and resources- Who will interact with the website? Will it be just you as a business owner or will you have multiple employees interacting with the website? Don’t forget to consider aspects like shipping, customer service, blog writing, etc. All these areas can influence which employees will need to access the website.
If this feels overwhelming, don’t fret. All of this can be accomplished. Make sure to create a good plan so you’re much more successful.
We can help you get started with your plan or even help you create the entire plan!
Schedule a free 15 minute meeting with us to see how we can help you get started.
Selecting the Right Platform is a key part of website planning.
Picking the right platforms for your business is one of the most important decisions you’ll make while going through the website planning process. There are a lot of platforms to consider including WordPress/WooCommerce, Shopify, Square and many more.
It is hard to compare platforms apples to apples because there are so many variables. When picking platforms, we recommend going through the website planning in its entirety.
Once you’ve finished the initial review of the planning, we recommend looking at all the aspects and figure out which ones are non-negotiable. Start comparing platforms based on your must-haves, then expand as needed from there. It’s likely that no one platform contains the perfect combination of all the elements you need, but by going through the initial planning process first you’ll be able to make an informed decision.
Potential integrations to think through:
- Marketing platforms
- Email Marketing
- CRM Platforms
- Tracking Pixels
- Ad Delivery
- SEO Needs
- and many more
Website Page Creation
While going through the website planning process it is important to determine what your approach to creating webpages and blog posts will be, especially if you don’t want to pay an outside agency to create your website content. It can be daunting, but by using this guide, we can walk you through the process so you can take control of your company’s web content!
There are virtually endless different ways you can go about putting together the pages on your website. We recommend picking a platform that is well supported and integrates well with the other structure on your site or platform(s) your business will be using.
Deciding how much you will want to customize every aspect of your website is another aspect to think about. If you are alright with a mostly pre-designed website with limited customizations then you’ll be able to get away with a more simplistic approach (think through this though. It’s common for people to think they won’t need detailed customizations only to be frustrated when they are stuck with a limited platform).
How are you designing the site? Will you use templates? Wing it as you go (not recommended, but happens all the time), hire a designer and then build the pages yourself?
Integrating Page Builders with other parts of your site
What will your page builder work with? Making sure it supports everything you need on your website or as much as possible is essential to a positive experience building your website. It is very frustrating to spend hours building out your site only to realize most of the work you accomplished must be scrapped because your page builder doesn’t work with a separate key component on your site
Not Sure which page Builder to use?
Schedule a meeting with us today!
You will likely need to figure out where you are going to host your website? Certain platforms (like Shopify) provide the hosting for you whereas others you need to find your own hosting.
For those still learning web hosting is the company who actually provides the servers(computers) that physically run all of the software required for creating, processing, and delivering your website to the world.
What you need to think about when picking a hosting provider
- How much control of the hosting resources do you want?
- Will you have the ability to move hosts if you’re not happy with your current provider?
- Do you want the hosting to be as hands off as possible?
- How important is the speed of your website to you?
- Keep in mind speed is very important for E-commerce sites, websites running paid ads, and sites heavily reliant on organic traffic from google.
- How much growth will you site have?
- Will you want more control of your hosting after experiencing growth? If so, can you easily move to a new host or will you have to basically rebuild your website (more common with platforms that provide hosting as part of their service)?
- Be wary of websites listing the “best” hosting providers. They often times are affiliate links and they have never actually used the service. (note: we use affiliate links for SiteGround and select other businesses on 8th and Palm. They are the one of the few hosting providers we support because we believe they provide a superior service and we’ve interacted with it extensively. We host this site on SiteGround.)
Website planning isn't complete without a Plan for Website Maintenance
Maintaining a website over time ensures that you are always presenting the best of your business online. Think about how much time and what resources are available to your business.
Things to think through:
- Updates (also important for security)
- Will you do this or someone in your business?
- Will you hire an on-call person or agency?
- What will you do if you need something fixed right away?
- Will you be able to get someone to fix it quickly?
- Will your business be crippled if something is broken?
Need help getting Started?
We’re experts in helping business owners think through their website planning process. Book a one hour live Zoom meeting with us and you’ll be amazed at how we can help you make the plan come together.