Step 2: Plan
Research and planning will help clarify your objectives for the website and guide your design, so it is good to spend a generous amount of time in this stage of the process. Just like the saying, “measure twice, cut once,” spending time on website planning is a good investment that will ultimately save you time and even money in the long-run.
During the planning phase, you’ll want to review or create an SEO strategy for the website.
The planning phase of website design includes 3 basic tasks:
A. Review or Create an SEO Strategy
• Consult with the client on search terms for their business/industry
• Research and review keyword volumes
• Create a spreadsheet of keywords/keyphrases
• Audit existing content for SEO focus
• Make a list of SEO content needs to fill gaps
• Map keywords/keyphrases to existing or needed content
B. Create the Website Sitemap
Planning the sitemap prior to working on any website design has several benefits since you can build your design around the most important pages, plan the website navigation more efficiently, and get an overall idea of the content that still needs to be written.
• Using your SEO Strategy, build a sitemap with appropriate page hierarchies and content list.
• Create an actual document for your sitemap/site outline. The sitemap is used as a checklist to guide the project.
• Include basic website pages (About, Contact, etc.) plus additional keyword/keyphrase pages.
C. Content Review & Development
The last part of the website planning process includes an in-depth review of the website content. You’ll need to take an audit of existing content (if the client has a website already) and make a plan for producing new content.
• Review existing web content
• Ask for non-web content such as brochures, business cards or flyers
• Hire or assign writers for content needs
• Put deadlines on content completion