How to plan a website

Design / 17.01.13
Mark Vaesen

We’ve all heard the cliches about planning – “If you don’t know where you want to go, how do you know which route to take?“or maybe “Failing to plan is planning to fail”.

When you’re thinking about your new website, these well-worn quotes are worth paying attention to.  If you don’t take the time to plan a website, what it is for and what you are trying to achieve, there’s a really good chance of messing your website up.

8 most important questions to plan a website

When we first start talking to a client about their new website, we’ll usually ask the same sort of questions.  Here are the important things to consider:

1. What is the website for?  How will it help your business?

Do you want the website to increase sales or to reduce costs?  Decide how the website will help your business, and focus on what features offer you the best value for money.

2. Do you need to attract new leads from search engines?

At Tomango, we get the majority of our work through personal recommendation.  Our conversion rate for enquiries from our website is much lower than from a referral, so we concentrate on where we get the best results – and so should you.  You might decide that you don’t need to rely on search engine results, which could save you a few bob.

3. Who is the website aimed at?

Who are your customers? Who are your best customers? If you could choose, which type of customer do you want more of?  Plan your website around these groups and work out how to engage with them.

4. What do you want to tell people? What pages will you include?

Decide what you need to tell your visitors, and which bits are more important than others.  Work out which subjects can be grouped together and which ones need their own pages.  How will people navigate to the right areas?

5. What is your brand?  What sort of impression do you want to get across?

Someone once said “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”. So, are you warm and friendly?  Efficient and cutting edge?  Or maybe fun and quirky?  Don’t forget that a brand is more than just your logo, letterhead and website.  It’s about who you are and how you operate; it should come across consistently through all your marketing, website included.

6. What makes you different?  What’s your USP?

You might have trouble deciding what your Unique Selling Point is – perhaps you don’t consider your business to be completely unique.  But you need to think about what makes you different.  Why should someone come to you and not your competitor?  Think about how you can show this through your website.

7. What is your call to action?

Your “call to action” is the thing you want your visitor to do once they’ve decided that they want to do business with you.  Make sure this fits in with the way you prefer to do business.  If you know you can convert more sales by talking to customers on the phone, your call to action should be a telephone call.  If it is useful for you to have some basic information before calling them back, they could complete an online form.  Work out what is best for you and incorporate it into the design of the site.

8. Who will update the site?  What do you have time to do?

Yes, the best websites are the ones that are regularly updated and yes, fresh content will improve your search engines rankings.  But – realistically – how much time can you dedicate to writing content for your website?  A blog, for instance, should be updated once a fortnight __minimum. __If you can’t keep it up to date, you might be better off not having one.

Use this guide before you start talking to web design companies and you’ll be in a much stronger position to talk to them about what you need.

How Tomango can help you plan a website

Tomango builds beautiful, hard-working websites.  If you would like to talk to us about planning your next website, call us on 01273 814019 or email