Planning Your Website
Like I mentioned in the Do You Need a Website post, building a website has a maze of rabbit holes that are easy to get trapped in.
- "Should I use Squarespace or WordPress?"
- "What theme should I use?"
- "What's the perfect domain name?"
- "What plugins should I use?"
It makes sense why people start there (I certainly did when I started making my first websites) – you can’t make a website without figuring those things out and I will go over those questions in later articles. The problem is that building a website has a lot of tasks that make you feel productive and busy without actually delivering real results.
The result of all these motion tasks is that you can spend weeks, months, and even years building a website without making progress towards your ultimate goal (e.g. getting sales and growing your business).
So before I get started writing out all the content and building the website, I like to start my websites by truly understanding these two questions:
- Why am I creating this website? What's the ultimate goal with it?
- Who am I creating this website for?
Why am I creating this website?
This might sound like another silly question, but it's an important one to ask. Many entrepreneurs just assume they need a website without really understanding what they want the website to accomplish. So they put up a website with some generic text about who they are and what they do, and then the website just sits there without ever really helping their business.
So what do you want out of the website?
Do you want it to generate sales, build you an audience, etc? The answer to this question should inform every decision you make in building the website.
For example, if you're creating a new blog post - you should be able to say how that blog post is going to help you get to your ultimate goal. And then after you publish that blog post, you need to figure out if it actually did help you get to your ultimate goal.
Who am I making the website for?
It’s important to truly understand your audience and who you’re making the website for. This will help with your copywriting, deciding what blog posts to write, and many other aspects of your website and business.
There are tons of resources out there for understanding your audience, but my favorite is a guide created by Fizzle called the 80/20 Copywriting Sketch Sheet. This sheet is a great resource for getting you in the mindset of your audience by asking you 9 questions about your audience including what fears your audience has, what needs your audience has, and common traps your audience falls into. If you can answer all 9 questions on this guide, your website will be much better because of it.
You can get a blank/fillable Copywriting sheet on Fizzle's article "The 80/20 Guide for Copywriting". I'll touch on the writing side more in my Writing Content article, but Fizzle goes into depth about how to answer those 9 questions to really understand the perspective about your reader.