If you’ve ever designed a website for your business (and I suspect you have!) by yourself or by outsourcing it to someone – you know it can be an arduous, time-consuming process. And sometimes, the results are not as you expected. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a proper process and a list of steps to do, you can have the results you want without feeling stuck and mired in muck. To help you with that, we’ve decided to give you your very own website design checklist to follow BEFORE you embark on your website design project.
Coaches, here’s your website design checklist.
The #1 item in your website design checklist is your goals
When we are approached by someone to help them design their website, the first thing we do – before even sending out a proposal – is ask them about their goals. Their goals for their business and the role they want their website to play in it. Do they want their website to:
- act as an online brochure showcasing their business and its offers?
- be an active part of their sales funnel?
- generate leads for them or make sales on autopilot?
Or is it a space to educate and inspire people with blogs? Perhaps a membership community? A mix of all? Do they want a website that grows with their business? To scale it as their business grows? And so on.
Having clarity on your website design goals will lead to planning a strategic website that’s more than a pretty asset for people to look at.
#2 Your branding and messaging
Web Psychologist, Nathalie Nahai, says “one of the biggest barriers to gaining new clients is lack of trust”. The right branding and messaging on your website can not only help you gain potential clients’ trust but also help with positioning.
For that, you need to know who you are serving and how. Plus, your offer in relation to their pain points, desires, and needs. What makes you different from the rest of your peers? Answering these questions will help you craft a clear brand + messaging for your website.
A clear brand is more than just a logo. It includes other visuals like your brand colors, the imagery, the fonts you use, and more. It also includes how you communicate with people. Everything that makes you ‘YOU’. It’s how people perceive you and your business in the market.
All the other elements of your website, including the design and copy, stem from it. You can hire messaging experts like us to work on your messaging for you, or you can do it yourself by asking the following questions.
If someone doesn’t have the right branding and messaging for their site, we have experts on our team and a very talented external collaborator we work with to provide a solid brand and messaging before we start working on item no. 3
#3 Your sitemap
A site map is a document that details all the pages of your website and their relationships with each other. It doesn’t include the copy or design elements, but it lists:
- the pages you need on your website
- the order in which they’ll appear on your menu
- the resources/media files you want to link to the pages
- how these pages and resources are interlinked with each other.
For example, a site map will show what page your audience will land on if they click a specific button on the home page. It’ll also show the pages next to the home page, and so on.
Once your website is completely built and ready for the search engines to crawl through, your sitemap can be uploaded as an XML file optimized for SEO. But that’s something for your developer to worry about.
#4 Your content outline
Once your sitemap is ready, you need a content outline that shows what information goes on each page and how the information will flow. At AOBM, we use proven strategies to determine the content outline and layout of each page for maximum conversion depending on the goals of your website. It is the foundation of your website copy.
#5 Your visuals:
Your website visuals include
- Your site logo
- Branded icons link social media icons
- Branded photos and imagery
- On-brand textures, patterns, and graphics you want to use on your website.
- Selected fonts, if any.
They’re important for many reasons, the most important one being they are how a brand is perceived in the market by its potential customers. At AOBM, we only start designing a website once the branded visuals are ready to use. Depending on the scope of the project, we create them if needed or – if provided by you – gather them in a separate file to be used by our website designer.
So far…If you’re doing the prep yourself, you can club many of these steps together. At AOBM, we have a process of doing each step separately and sending it over to the client for their input. That way, we work hand in hand with the client to ensure that their needs are being met at each step of the process. This also allows us to reconfirm the messaging and goals at each step to ensure we stay on the right path.
#6 Your copy
Your website copy is made of words that welcome and guide your visitors across your website. Good website copy ensures that people coming to your website take the action you want them to take.
Website design and copy go hand in hand. However, it’s always good to have your copy ready and then design a website around it. I hear ya asking, ‘What’s wrong with designing a website first and adding the copy later?’ Let me just ask you this, what will you do if your carefully written, strategic copy doesn’t fit in the space provided? Will you rewrite the copy? Or will you prefer to have the design fit around the copy? Think about it.
#7 The phase all the other items on your website design checklist have been leading to: your design🥳
48% of people said that web design was the number 1 way they determine the credibility of a business. – Virtual Window
Your website needs to be what your clients need. Period. Your design – besides being on-brand and aesthetically pleasing to your ideal humans – needs to be simple, clean, and easy to navigate.
Many websites leave their users lost, confused, and frustrated because they’re either too complex to navigate, have way too much information, or have too many options for the visitor to choose from. Instead, try creating a website that they enjoy the process from start to finish.
But it’s not over yet.
#8 On your website design checklist: proofreading
Poor copy can cause visitors to leave your website. And that includes grammatical errors and typos. We are all humans and make mistakes from time to time. Often, words and punctuation are lost when moved from the copy document to the website. Typos are also a common occurrence. Proofreading is a chance to rectify these mistakes. It’s also a chance to let us see if the copy flows well with the design.
#9 The final item: testing
Copy mistakes aren’t the only mistakes you need to look out for before launching your website. That’s why it’s important to test your website thoroughly before launching it.
- You can test it to see if it’s mobile-optimized. How does it look on different screen sizes?
- Check it on different browsers to see if your design is translated on each.
- Click on all the buttons and links you’ve included on your website to see if they’re working as they should.
- Check all the menu items by clicking on them.
- Test the page speed. Does it take too long to load a page or an element on the page? Figure out why and repair it.
- See if all your plugins work.
Once you’ve tested your website, it’s time to launch your baby in the world.
So there you have it coaches, your website design checklist. Let us know in the comments what you think of it and what part you’d find most easy or difficult. And if you want all of this taken off your hands while you focus on your zone of genius, get in touch! We have a team of expert copywriters and designers ready to convert your website into an effective part of your sales funnel.
Coaches: Your Website Design Checklist
December 13, 2022