How to plan a website for beginners | entheosweb

Planning a website can be overwhelming; there is a lot to decide: what are you going to feature? What layout will you use? The color palette, styling, etc. We have laid out the process into four actionable steps to assist you in planning your dream website. It is important to start from the foundation and work your way up when designing, for websites this means deciding on what pages to feature.

Deciding What Pages to Include

The first step in planning your website is deciding what you’re going to put on it, starting with the pages you want to have. Most websites will contain a home, products/services, about and contact page, although it is important to consider the purpose of your website. If the purpose is to inform visitors, it may contain more pages detailing different aspects of your topic, if it’s to advertise products it may contain various product pages for different categories.

You should also consider your target audience, what would be useful to them? For example, you could include a blog detailing helpful content or a search page for users to find specific products. Compile all the pages you want to include in a list as this will need to be referenced when creating your navigation.

Planning a Website Layout

Once you have decided on the pages you are going to create you can begin designing a layout, it is important to take this step next to ensure all pages have a similar layout, making your website uniform and professional. Depending on how many pages you have it could be valuable to have a header or even a sidebar containing a simple navigation to popular pages. When determining navigation, it is beneficial to format your link hierarchy in a flat site structure, this is show below:

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This is beneficial for users as it allows them to quickly and easily find their desired page without having to navigate your website like a maze. It is also beneficial for ranking in search queries as this simplified structure makes it easier for Google’s crawlers to find and index all your pages.

When designing your front page ensure the first thing visitors see is eye-catching or interesting, this will hook them in and make them want to learn more, increasing your engagement.

The overall layout of your pages should be intuitive and logical, such that users can easily locate the information they are looking for within a page.

How to Write Content

Before you begin writing content it is important to consider SEO or Search Engine Optimization, this allows you to rank higher in Google bringing more organic traffic to your website. Through including common search terms, known as ‘keywords’ within your content you can drastically increase your likelihood of ranking for these terms. There are many tools for keyword research out there, but we have found the best premium tool to be Semrush, and the best free tool to be Google Keyword Planner. Below is an example of how to conduct keyword research for if you sold leather boots within Google Keyword Planner:

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The options in the red box display common alternate phrases related to leather boots that users also search for, if these are relevant to your brand it is wise to include them in your written content. This will inform Google what your site is about so when someone searches these terms it knows your website will be relevant.

Content should also be well formatted, people are far more likely to read content if it has headings, spacing and images rather than a wall of text, even if the amount of text is the same.

Unformatted text overwhelms readers and conveys a lack of care and therefore quality, formatting your text correctly is crucial to engaging visitors.

Another trick is to slightly increase the line-height, creating more space between your lines of text and reducing the amount of text on screen. This also makes readers feel as though they are progressing through the content faster.

Building a Brand/Identity

Building a consistent identity throughout your pages makes them recognizable as part of a larger structure that is your website, allowing the audience to connect the style with you or your business.

There are many factors that contribute to an identity, such as color, layout, typography, tone, etc. Once again consider your target audience, do you want to appear professional, modern, fun, serious, etc. Knowing your audience will help you mold your identity to maximize engagement. If you already have a logo the colors of your identity should match    this, otherwise you will have to pick colors for your identity. It is important to consider color psychology, ensure the emotions associated with your color/s evoke the correct emotion within your audience.

Next you must decide on typography and tone, consider if you want to appear professional and informed or creative and fun, this will help you decide on a group of fonts and the type of language to use within your content. Writing towards your target audience is crucial to a successful brand/identity.

 Choosing a Page Builder

  • Template Builders: These are intuitive drag-and-drop editors that allow you to quickly and with very little technical knowledge build a website. They come with pre-made templates that allow you to paste in your content and images, greatly simplifying the website creation process. The major drawback of these builders is they have very little customizability, you will struggle to create a custom layout or a unique brand identity as websites made this way are all very similar, making it very difficult to stand out.

Another drawback of this method is they offer limited SEO functionality which can be detrimental to your rankings in the search results, in conjunction with increased hosting costs compared to other methods.

The most popular template builders are Wix, and Squarespace or Shopify for an e-commerce builder.

  • WordPress: The most popular website creation tool, with over 40% of the internet being powered by WordPress. WordPress is similar to other template builders except it’s open source, meaning developers can create their own custom plugins and upload them, allowing other users to implement them into their own website. This greatly increases the customizability of WordPress websites as there is a plugin to create almost anything you can think of. With over 59,000 free plugins you can implement forms, animations, pop-ups and much more. WordPress also comes with plugins allowing you to include your own lines of code, giving you complete control over your website.
  • Professional Development: This is for people who are passionate about their online presence, especially business wanting to optimize reach and conversions. Professional development allows a developer to take care of your website so you can focus on what you do best. These sites are coded from the ground up, allowing the site to be uniquely yours and conveying a sense of professionalism you can’t get from any other method. These sites can also be built through a framework like WordPress, giving you an interface to manage your website. Although this method includes an upfront cost it can be seen as an investment that will generate more income in the future, you can find affordable custom websites here.

Through these steps you are ready to start developing or working with a developer to build your website. You’ll know the pages to include, their layout, the content, and the feel you want your website to have. This is an important first step as jumping straight into development can make you website feel disjointed, and you are likely to design something only to realize you need to change or remove it later. As you now have an actionable plan, all that’s left is to bring it to life.