Website Planning Checklist: The Best Steps to Planning Successful Websites

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planning a website

Creating a website can be an extremely daunting task. There are so many things to think about, from the design to the content to the functionality. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! In this article, we will walk you through the best steps for planning successful websites. By following these guidelines, you can avoid common pitfalls and create a website that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.

Behind every successful website is thorough planning. In the following checklist, I explain which points you should definitely plan from the beginning. The bottom line is that thorough planning results in even less work. Because there is nothing more annoying and time-consuming than when a layout or the entire project has to be completely redesigned later because it does not meet the requirements.

Here is a short look into what our website planning checklist contains:

  • Define your goals and objectives: What do you want your website to achieve? Who is your target audience? What kind of content will you offer? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you make important decisions about the design, functionality, and overall direction of your website.
  • Choose a domain name and hosting: Your domain name is your website’s address on the internet. It should be short, easy to remember, and relevant to your business or website topic. Once you’ve chosen a domain name, you’ll need to find a web hosting provider. This is where your website’s files will be stored and accessed by visitors.
  • Plan your website structure and navigation: Decide how you want your website to be organized. What pages will it have? How will visitors move from one page to another? Creating a sitemap is a helpful way to visualize your website’s structure and plan its navigation.
  • Design your website: Now it’s time to bring your website to life! If you’re not a designer, there are plenty of resources available to help you create a professional-looking website. Once you have your website design finalized, you can start adding content.
  • Test and launch your website: Before making your website live for the world to see, it’s important to test it thoroughly. Check all the links, make sure the forms are working, and test the website on different browsers and devices. Once you’re confident that everything is working properly, you can launch your website and start promoting it!

By following these steps, you can create a website that is both successful and enjoyable to work on. Planning may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it will save you time and headaches in the long run. So what are you waiting for?

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Now let’s take a deeper look into each step that will help you plan your new website

If you’re planning a new website, you shouldn’t just jump right into it. You should always plan a new website or a new project well in advance. Now I would like to show you the individual steps in detail.

Set Website Goals – What do you want to achieve?

The first thing to plan for is the purpose of the website. Once it is clear what the home page is intended to achieve, everything else is built around that goal. Possible goals for a website are the following:

  • Increase popularity
  • be contacted by interested parties
  • Generate new customers
  • Sell products
  • more newsletter subscribers

The goals should be formulated as precisely as possible and be controllable. This is how you can see whether a strategy is working or not and what may need to be changed. Be realistic when setting goals and only set goals that you can actually implement. Also, determine which goals have absolute priority and rank the goals in order of importance.

You can find out how best to define goals here.

Define target group – Who is your offer aimed at?

Who do you want your website to appeal to? Try to describe your ideal group of visitors as precisely as possible. Keep in mind that you don’t just want as many visitors as possible, but as many visitors as possible who meet your goals.

For example, if you want to sell a product on your website, you need visitors who are interested in buying your product. Try to imagine these visitors as precisely as possible. Where are you from? How old are you? What is their gender and what are their other interests or hobbies.

The texts of the homepage, the layout, and everything else will later be structured in such a way that it primarily appeals to your target group.

Structure and Navigation – How do you want to structure your content?

The next thing to think about is the basic structure of your homepage and how your navigation is set up. I prefer to use pen and paper for this and no planning tools or planning software.

First, note the titles of each page on your site. Also plan a goal for each individual page and determine which target group you want to address. For larger projects, you can also create a mind map.

Then you plan the navigation. You don’t have to worry about the layout just yet. But keep in mind that every visitor must be able to find the information they are looking for as easily and quickly as possible. In order for this to be possible, you have to think carefully about the structure of your content and how it is linked.

The main navigation should contain no more than 6-7 points. Further pages are noted as sub-navigation points. A mind map with main and secondary branches is also best suited for the visual representation of the navigation structure.

Story design – Good stories transcend time and space

When developing computer games, the first thing that is hired is a story designer. He thinks about the story of the game. And he also designs the people involved and their background. Only later do graphic designers and programmers work on the visual implementation. From my experience, I know that this approach also pays off enormously for websites.

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Imagine your website as a multimedia story and think about what you want to tell and in what way. Storytelling is as old as mankind itself and it remains the most efficient way to communicate and pass on information.

Also plan how you will present the person or team behind your website. You can also read my “About me” page, how I present myself and what is the story behind this website.

Layout and design – The website as a book

Once you have everything else, the website can be designed. That is actually the easiest part. Because all you have to do is find a suitable layout for your content and fill it with beautiful pictures or videos.

A website can be designed like a book. That means there are different pages (homepage, about me page, contact page) and each of these pages has different content.

But a website can also be designed like one big story. That means there is only one long scrollable page with different sections. This approach is particularly suitable for portfolios or “one-pager” websites.

The important thing is that the layout and design support the story you want to tell and that they appeal to your target group.

Functionality – less is more

The website should only have as much functionality as is absolutely necessary. Because every additional function costs time and money in development and maintenance. In addition, too many functions can quickly lead to confusion and frustrate visitors.

That’s why it’s best to focus on the essentials. So ask yourself the following question for each function: Is this really necessary or can I do without it?

If you are unsure, you can also ask your target group in a survey which functions they would really find useful.

Of course, there are exceptions. For example, if you want to build a social network, many functions are essential. But even in this case, you should only add new functions step by step and not all at once.

Technology – WordPress or custom development?

The website technology you choose also depends on the project requirements. If you want to build a very simple website with just a few pages, WordPress is usually the best choice. WordPress is quick to set up, easy to maintain and there are many design options.

For larger projects or if you need very specific functions, custom development is often the better choice. This gives you more freedom in design and functionality. But it also takes longer to develop and is usually more expensive.

If you’re searching for a good funnel builder for your new website, Click Here to get one of the best funnel builder tools for new websites.

Domain name & hosting – Where will the website be located?

Before your website can go online, you need a domain name and hosting. That’s where your website is located on the Internet.

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The domain name is the address of your website. For example, my domain name is “datacrypt.io”. You can usually buy a good domain name for less than $15 per year.

Hosting is the space on a server where your website is stored. You usually have to pay for this space. How much you pay depends on the size of your website and the traffic it generates. For a small website, hosting usually costs around $80 per year.

You can buy domain names and hosting from many different providers. I usually use “Bluehost” for my websites. They have good prices and great support.

Create content and text – First comes the text and then the design

Be sure to start writing the texts right from the start. When it comes to websites, the texts are always the key to success. All texts should be tailored to the target audience and guide visitors to carry out the points set as goals.

Of course, the texts do not have to be perfected at the beginning. I even advise against it. But be sure to give yourself enough time to think about what you want to say and how.

Do you find it difficult to create good texts? Then you should check out our article on content creation with Ai help. >> Click here to go to the article <<

Also, collect the images and videos that are available to you and think about which sites they go best with. I have put together a guide to finding royalty-free images from over 30 sources in this article.

Final Thoughts

When planning, however, one should also bear in mind that points almost always arise during implementation that one had not thought of before. The plan must therefore be structured in such a way that certain points can still be changed later. The planning process is always something that runs through the entire project. The plan must therefore be checked again and again and adjusted if necessary.

And of course, no project can be completed with website planning alone. One should therefore not overdo it with the conception. At some point, it is also a question of implementation. In order for this to run smoothly, however, you first have to know where exactly you want to go.

Of course, not every project has the same planning steps and every website developer proceeds differently to a certain extent. Which techniques work best for you? I would really appreciate feedback in the comments.

Founder at Datacrypt Ltd
Tim is the founder of Datacrypt.io and is an expert in web design, SEO, eCommerce, and content management. Tim loves to give you a lot of useful information in our blog about various topics.
Tim
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