Insights and inspiration for small business marketing online.


Insights and inspiration for small business marketing online.

How to Plan a Website

A guide for small and medium size businesses

A solid website development plan turns on the effectiveness of your site and turns up the efficiency of the project.

Before you create a single page of a website, use this guide to build a solid plan!

Wix®, Squarespace® and GoDaddy® all make it seem so simple to build a new website for your business. “Just drag and drop and you’re done”, they say.

But as a website designer, I know all too well that it’s not so easy.

There is a lot of careful thought and planning that should happen before you even choose a website platform, or interview a developer.

I see businesses jump into building a website without having any idea how much work is going to be required to make it happen.

That’s why I created this guide!

If you do your homework first, the entire process is going to much more efficient, and the end result much more effective for your business.

There are many questions you should ask yourself first, before you try to decide which website builder system to use, or which designer to hire.

This guide works whether you want to use a DIY system, or hire a website designer!

Before you decide if you should use Wix®, Shopify®, Squarespace®, WordPress® or any of the other DIY website builders, or if you need professional help, start with our Guide to Planning a New Website!

It covers all of the areas you should consider before you begin.

As a website designer, if you came to me with all of this information handy, I’d give you a discount. (seriously, contact me after you fill it out)

Guide to Planning a New Website for Small and Medium Size Business -

The Guide to Planning a New Website Covers all of the Basics and More

You don’t need to go too in-depth, but you do need to provide some high-level thoughts in each of these areas.

GOALS – What do you want your website to do for your business?

AUDIENCE – Who is your target market? What are their general demographics and preferences?

FUNCTIONS – What do you want your audience to be able to do on  your site? From ordering products to watching videos, outline the functionality that should be included.

DESIGN – How should your site look? Which branding elements should be included? Then, add a list of some other sites you like, and why.

CONTENT – What information does your audience want? What will ‘sell’ them on your products or services? What should they do after soaking in your content? How much of that content do you have, and how much needs to be created. (Content creation is incredibly important, yet often an after thought)

E-COMMERCE – If you will sell products or services on your site, what are the requirements for payment, shipping, order processing and inventory tracking?

MARKETING – How will you market your new website? Just because you build it, doesn’t mean people will find it.

BUDGET – What is your budget for design and development? Photography and copywriting? Don’t forget about the ongoing costs associated with having a site.

DOMAIN, HOSTING & EMAIL – Do you already have a domain name? A website host? Email on your domain name?

Set yourself up for success!

Answer the questions in our guide, even from a very high level, and you’ll be in a much better position to begin development of a new website.

It may also help you understand how much work it will be to use one of the DIY site builders… it requires so much more than some graphics to drag and drop in.

If you do choose to hire a professional website designer, they will be very grateful for all of this information, and be able to put together a much more accurate cost proposal and timeline.

Get a discount when you hire Purple Gen as your website designer, seriously. Call me.

A Guide to Planning a New Website Printable -
Jen Lorenski, Website Designer, SEO & Paid Search Expert in Grand Rapids MI -

Purple Jen

I’ve worked in marketing, strategy, SEO and paid search for nearly 20 years, and as a freelance website designer for 8 years. My approach to web marketing: strategize. maximize. analyze. repeat. came from learning about my own personal strengths. Not only were they my Strength Finder talents, but together they create a solid, simplified approach to successful marketing. I like to write about that stuff here, and share my knowledge to help fellow small business owners achieve more, and see the world through purple colored glasses. Jen Lorenski