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Planning for your new small business website

If you don’t create a plan for your new small business website, you’re planning to fail.

Benjamin Franklin might not have been around for the internet, but if he were here, he would likely agree with the above statement.

You need to create a plan for your new website. How else are you going to know what to do to create a website that’s going to help your business grow?

For example, if your business’ goal right now is to just get the word out about the business, you don’t necessarily need to add the stress of creating an online store to go with the website. You just need something simple.

Likewise, if your goal is to grow sales for your business and you figure out you have the capacity to sell online, you need to know that you need to create an online store.

So let’s go through all of the steps for how to create a plan for your new website so that you can set yourself up for success right now. And while it might seem like a daunting task right now, you’ll soon see that this is easier than you think.

Why create a plan for your website

So first things first: why should you create a plan for your new website?

While websites might seem like simple things at first (after all, the ads for Wix and Squarespace say that it’s easy), the truth is that a website that’s going to help your business grow is more complicated than that.

And you need to create a plan for this website so that you know what you’re doing and that the website ends up being a success.

If you start without a plan, you’re going to end up failing. You won’t know what you really need for your website to help your business be successful.

This plan is going to tell you what the goal for the website is going to be and how you can create the website so that it accomplishes this goal. For example, if you decide that the goal of your website is to sell products online, you know that you need to create an online store.

And even if you’re just starting out with a simple, online brochure type website, it’s a good idea to create a plan for how the site is going to help people discover that your business exists.

Plus, it can really give you a near exact roadmap for how you should build this new website.

This can make it all so much easier for you and whoever you hire (if you hire an agency or developer) to create that perfect website since they’ll have a much better idea of what you want and need for this website.

Trust me, as someone in that position, it’s great to work with clients that have a really good idea for what they need for their website. It makes every other part of the process so much easier.

And don’t worry about needing to create the perfect plan that covers absolutely everything, especially if it feels daunting right now. There are some things you just don’t know right now, and that’s okay. If you hire an agency or developer, they can help you finish creating that plan for the website.

But creating a plan can give you a clear path towards creating a website that will help your business grow.

How to create a plan for your website

So now you’re probably wondering just how do you create a plan for your new website?

Well, the good news is that it can be as simple or as complex as you want. And there’s no one right answer — only what works best for you and your business. Which may or may not be a comforting fact.

But the first thing you can do is to ask questions of yourself and your business.

Where is your business currently? Are things looking good or bleak? And where do you want your business to be in the next year, next five years, etc.?

What can you afford to spend on this website? How quickly do you need this website? Could you build it yourself?

Those are the sorts of questions you should be asking yourself (and your partners in the business, if you have any).

And then from those answers, you can create the plan for the website.

For example, if you said that you want to grow your business in the next year or so and reach a wider audience, you’re probably going to be planning for an online store. Or if you need this website really quickly, you probably aren’t going to be planning for a completely custom website (since those take months to complete).

And if you’re still a little bit confused or worried, don’t worry. We’re about to take a deeper dive into creating this plan for your new website.

Figure out where your business is

One thing you should also do right now is to take stock of where your business is right now and where you want it to be in the future. This can be a big help in planning for your new small business website.

So take some time to figure out where your business is. Are you just starting out or are you an established business in the community or somewhere in between?

Are you doing pretty well and want to make it even better or are you in dire need of something to get back on track? We’ll talk about this in a second, but can you afford something fancier or do you need something quick and relatively cheap?

Finally, do you feel good about where your business is?

Figuring out these things now can help you for the next section when we really dive into your business and your wants and needs for this new website.

Questions you should ask yourself for the website plan

Okay, now comes the hard part of this process: asking questions of yourself and your business and answering them honestly. It can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you don’t feel the business is where it can be. But being as honest as possible can help you create a plan for your website that’s going to work.

So first off, do you need a new website? In some cases, all you actually need is a few smaller changes to your existing website and not a completely new one. You can use a blog post I wrote on this exact thing to help you come to an answer.

Next, what are the goals for your business? Are you looking for more leads or to sell more products? Are you at a stage where you just need to raise awareness that your business exists? Figuring out your business goals will help with the next question.

And that is how is your website going to help you reach those goals? If you’re looking to sell more products, should you sell those products on your website? Should your website have lead generation forms if you want more leads for your service? And what information should be on your website if you just need an online brochure?

Finally, we have three more quicker questions that hopefully should be a bit easier to answer.

First, what is your budget for the website? Can you spend a bit more for a bigger site or do you need something simpler?

Second, when do you need the website to be live? Is it a quick turnaround or can you take your time on it.

And finally, what experience do you have with websites? The answer to this question can help you figure out if you should create the website yourself or if you should hire someone to do it for you.

Once you have the answers to these questions, it’s time to create the plan for your small business website.

Turning those questions into a plan

So now you need to turn those questions into an actual plan that you can follow to create your small business website.

And if you’re worried that this plan should be super fancy and look legal and all of that, don’t worry. How it looks doesn’t matter. You could use a basic text editor or Google Docs.

What really matters is the substance of the plan itself. And to make sure that you write it down so that you don’t forget it.

So what should the plan include?

Well based off your answers from the previous section, the plan needs to include the following:

  • Whether you’re looking at creating an entirely new website or just making changes to your current site.
  • What the end goal of the website is going to be. Will this website just be to raise awareness that your business exists or will it need to sell products or generate leads for your services? Those sort of things.
    • You should also take note of how this website is going to help your business’ goals.
  • The type of website that you’re going to build. It could be a simple online brochure, online store, one-page website, etc.
  • The budget you have to spend on the website.
  • When you need the website to be ready by.
  • Whether you’re going to hire an agency or web developer to build the website or if you’re going to build it yourself.
  • And anything else that you can think of that’s important for this website.

And that’s it. Once you have all of those things covered, you have yourself a great plan for your small business website. See, it wasn’t that hard.

Now it’s time to take action with that plan.

What to do with your plan

Okay, so you’ve created this plan for your new small business website. Now what do you do?

Well, now you use this plan as a road map to create the new website.

If you decide to hire an agency or a developer to create the website for you, this plan can help them get in your mindset for what you want with your website. This will make the discovery step in the process — when they learn more about your business and what you want and need for the website — go a whole lot smoother.

As I mentioned before, having a client that has a plan ready to go is a big help for me in quickly designing and creating a website that’s going to meet their needs. So taking the time now to create the plan will make a lot of future steps so much easier for everyone involved.

I do want to note though that you should also listen to the advice of the developer or agency. If they suggest something a bit different from your plan, don’t dismiss it. Have an open mind and think about it. They’ve done this before with other businesses, so they might be suggesting something that has worked for a similar business that could help your website.

Finally, if you’re building the website yourself, this plan is how you’re going to check what you’re doing to make sure you’re going down the right path. From what content you need on your website to what images you should have on the website, it’ll keep you on track with creating a website your business needs to be successful.

So take the time now to think about what you want and need for your website and create that plan that’s going to make your life (and other’s) so much easier in the long run.

Get started on your new website with a Small Business Website Starter Kit today!

Are you ready to start creating your business’ new website today? Are looking to get the website up quickly and for a price that will fit your budget? Then you’ll want to take a look at the Small Business Website Starter Kit.

This service will give you a WordPress website with a design that will match your plan for your business’ website. The website will also come with solid SEO under the hood, security, accessibility and more. Plus, there are add ons like an online store, forums, advanced forms integrations and so much more.

Your business will get a great digital foundation to help it grow in today’s online world. And your website will be up and running in less than two weeks for under $1,000. So check out the website starter kits and start making your new website a reality today!

Keep Learning with the Small Business Websites Newsletter

There’s a lot to learn when it comes to websites. How do you build a website that’s going to help your business grow? How do you manage a website to help your business grow? What’s the latest website news that you should know about? What are some websites you can look to for inspiration?

The Small Business Websites Newsletter helps you answer each of these questions. The biweekly newsletter will take a deep dive into some website-related topic, like SEO, WordPress, how to plan a website and more, to help you learn more about websites. I’ll also include some website news that you should know about as well as add inspiration I’ve found that might help you. And you’ll even get discounts for various products I offer. And all of this is for free.

So if you want to be better at building or managing your small business website (or any website for that matter), then you’ll want to sign up today!

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