"Web Planning" is the first step in building a successful website. Every Web Plan has to fit the needs and situation, but a Web Plan should always have a Market Analysis, Website Strategy, Specific Development Plan, Sales Forecast, and Expense Budget.
We are ready to provide high quality consulting services to our clients in the phase of "Web Planning".
What are considered and clarified in Web Planning:
1) Market Analysis (Target Audience): Normally a Web plan will start with a market analysis (based on an executive summary), which should be a fundamental part of any business effort. Web Plans should almost always set the context in terms of the benefits offered to a specific target population. Executive Summary includes Business Objectives and Keys to Success. Market Analysis will normally include a Target Market Research and Analysis, Market Forecast, Market Segmentation, Website Demographics Summary, and Industry Analysis.
2) Website strategy: This should include the Strategic Focus, Mission and Objectives, Competitive Edge, Strategic Internet Alliances, Development Strategy, Web Marketing Strategy (Online Sales Strategy and Online Sales Forecast) and it is done based on Business Model, Site Positioning, Traffic Forecast, and Development Requirements including Front End, Back End, Resources Needed, Future Development, and Milestones.
3) Benefits (Sales) forecast: One important point on web planning is that not all websites produce sales, but all should have some business or organizational benefits, like sales. Maybe this is reduced cost, increased customer satisfaction, leads generation, or community communication. Whatever the target benefits, sales or not, they should be put into numbers and projected into the future. For practical reasons, we refer to this as sales. The plan should include enough detail to track sales month by month and follow up on plan-vs.-actual analysis. Normally a plan will also include specific benefits as sales, cost reduction, or other benefits in concrete terms, such as by product, by web section, by user type, by manager responsibilities, and other elements. The forecast alone is a bare minimum. Financial Analysis includes Break-even Analysis, Expenses and Contributions. Controls includes Organizational Implications, Risks and Assumptions, and Contingency Plan.
4) Specific Action Plans: You should also remember that planning is about the results, not the plan itself. A web plan must be measured by the results it produces. The implementation of your plan is much more important than its brilliant ideas or massive market research. You can influence implementation by building a plan full of specific measurable, and concrete plans that can be tracked and followed up. Plan-vs.-actual analysis is critical to the eventual results, and you should build it into your plan.
5) Website Structure and Functionalities: The key elements in planning a website’s structure are as follows: Site Map that could be structured like a flow chart, Defining Website Functionalities and Content such as Articles, Blog, Banner advertising, Discussion forum, Documents, E-commerce, Forms for contact, quotes or something else, Physical products (how many?), Digital content (what kind and how many?), Email newsletter, Event calendar, Event registration, Image gallery, Link management (dozens or hundreds of links, ordered by category), Incoming RSS feeds (pulled from other websites), Outgoing RSS feeds (your content syndicated to other websites), Search, Social media sharing links (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), and Staff directory. Defining Content Relationships because some of your content will relate to other content. When content is changed in one area of the website, it might need to be changed in other areas for consistency and accuracy. Separating design from content for instance for each article, there is a Title, Meta title, Meta description, Author, Date of publication, Category, Summary, and Main text.
6) Website Content: Content is very important, because the Website design is often based on its content, and not vice versa. Updating of text and other content is also very important to keep site fresh and content current. Also, it has to be determined who will write or provide the text if not already available. Some very basic contents might be: who you are, what you do, how to contact you, and list of services or products. Website Content Types include Logo, Text, Photographs or other images to enhance or illustrate the text (Photos may be from Flickr or other external sources), Documents (usually PDFs), Audio, Video (embedded from YouTube or Vimeo, or self-hosted), Adobe Flash files, Content feeds (from other websites), Social Contents (Twitter stream, Facebook “friends” list, and etc.), RSS feeds, and Meta Data that is content about content and search engines rely on meta data to index Web pages effectively.
8) Website Content Accessibility: Which website content is available to public, and which content can be only accessed by registered users who have password, depending on the access level of them.
9) E-Commerce Requirements: If the website is used for selling products or services online, secure server for processing transactions and Merchant account through banks (or alternatives) are needed. Also suitable software solutions are needed for online purchases by credit card or alternative purchases by fax or postal mail. A shopping cart software solution is also needed and usually recommended for over 10-20 products. Setting up a system that integrates easily with new or existing accounting software might be also needed.
10) Ways to bring in new visitors and repeat visitors,
11) Search engine registration and optimization (SEO): Content optimization is critical, and it is also important to register your site and follow up with search engines and directories.
12) Domain name determination and registration,
13) Web Hosting Services Provider,
14) Budget: This ought to include enough detail to track expenses month by month and follow up on plan-vs.-actual analysis. Normally a plan will also include specific Web development plans, back end, front end, tactics, programs, management responsibilities, promotion, and other elements. The expense budget is a bare minimum. For budgeting your website design, please consider Web Design Plan and Pricing section.
What our Clients need to do for Web Planning:
For Web Planning, our clients need to make an outline of their needs followed by writing all the details, organize folders in which they add and keep information and materials for their website, look at as many websites as they can that are related to them in some way. The clients need to make note of the websites that they like and why?, websites that they do not like and why not?, any websites that have elements that they like, such as colors, navigation, overall layout, the type of content and how it is presented.
Making Your Presence Known:
- Web site registration with several major search engines
- Other means of bringing in visitors
- Add Web site and email address to all correspondence, all advertising
- Consider sending announcements or commencing other advertising of your new, redesigned, or improved Web site
Web Site Maintenance and Updating:
- Keep your Web site content fresh and alive
- Provide reasons for new visitors and for them to return to your site
- Add new information as appropriate and update existing information regularly
- Check search engine rankings and tweak pages and/or meta tags if needed
- Continue to promote your Web site regularly