Did you know that if your business has no website or has a poorly designed website, then you are setting yourself up for failure? Consider, according to Google, 96% of online search users search for local content, making a searchable website especially important for small business owners. When you consider that Google, according to Search Engine Land, fields more than 100 billion searches every month, you can realize just how much potential for being found a website gives you.
Of course, as any inbound marketing company can tell you, having a website is not enough; you must have a great website. As The Guardian writes, the best websites make your business accessible and allow you to scale your marketing efforts without having to greatly raise your marketing budget. If you want to design a website that takes advantage of search engine optimization and other important web marketing tools, then follow our four-step website development plan.
The Four-Step Website Development Plan
- Develop a Site Map
- Determine Functionality Needs and Make Them Happen
- Consider Aesthetics
- Craft Content to Fill Your Website
As Smashing Magazine suggests, the very first step in any website development plan should be to develop your site map. Your site map should demonstrate the skeleton of your website. What pages come off of your homepage? What will the general outline of your page look like? These are all things this crucial step in the website development plan can help you flesh out.
Now that you have the skeleton of your website built, you need to work in the functionality, according to Western Washington University. Adding social media buttons, RSS feed subscription functionality, “About” pages: all of it falls under functionality. Whether you need to develop a custom eCommerce payment platform or a feed from your Twitter account, now is the time to build it into your site. This is the step where many decide to turn to a professional website development service. After all, not everyone knows how to code and build custom web applications.
While the way your site looks isn’t the most important part of the website development plan, it shouldn’t be ignored. Aesthetics, as About.com points out, includes the color scheme, layout, graphics, and any other visual component of your website. Remember, functionality has to come before aesthetics. That being said, making a great looking website that functions as it should on both mobile and traditional platforms should be your end goal.
Are you ready for a shock? No matter how beautiful your website is or how functional, none of it will matter unless you populate it with high quality content. As WebDesignerDepot writes, you need to plan for the type of content you want to write for your website. Since, according to Inbound Marketer, a well-crafted blog can increase website traffic by as much as 2,000%, you need to take your website’s written content, your content marketing, seriously.
If you were lost and wondering how to develop your own website, hopefully this four-step website development plan has given you the tools you need to get started. Remember, you may not be able to do everything yourself, but whether you contract with inbound marketing services or go it alone, developing a great website is the key to a successful business online.