If you are about to launch a new website, there are some important questions you should ask yourself beforehand, both regarding technical aspects and marketing.
By answering these questions, you can set the course for a successful website right from the start by avoiding the common “beginner’s mistakes”. In this article, we will show you how to perfectly design your new website.
1. Define your goal: What do I want to achieve with my website?
Before you start planning any further, think about what the objective of your website should be. After that, you can proceed to the next steps. The objective of the website is also an important part of your marketing strategy.
→ Write down the objectives of your website.
2. Define your target group: Who do I want to reach with my website?
You have found your objective. Now it’s time to identify your target group. This way, you get the cornerstones for how content, wording and other areas of your website can be arranged. A good way of defining a target group would be to create personas – these are fictitious profiles that represent a typical user of your website by using real, personal data.
Common criteria used to define target groups include:
- Social status
- Level of education
3. Analyze Competition: Who Are My Competitors on the Internet?
It’s always important to know who your competitors are. This is the case for the launch of a new product, as well as for a website, especially if your goal is to make a profit on your website, for example by starting an online shop.
The first step in analyzing the competition is to carry out a Google search. If you have a central product or service that defines your company, you can search for this term or the word combination on the web. The search result pages will then show you which competitors there are and which competitors are well ranked.
Of course, you can search for several product groups, segments or industries for additional key terms.
Now, you should check out the top-ranked competitor websites. It suffices to look only at the search results found on the first page. The following elements will help you:
Content: Do the top-ranked websites use a lot of content? Do they have a blog or magazine? What is the tonality of the website? Is the content of high quality? Are the pictures original, or are standard stock pictures used? Are different languages available?
Page speed: Does the website load fast?
Architecture: What types of menus are available? What categories are used on the website?
Design: How was the web design realized? What does the mobile website look like?
The intention of this competitor analysis should not be to exactly copy the other websites. However, competing projects are an excellent way for you to define your own strengths and to determine which direction you want to go with your website.
→Write down the features you would like to implement on your own website.
4. Site architecture: Which categories should there be?
Categories in online shops generally derive from the parent product groups. It becomes a bit more difficult with a blog. You can orientate yourself according to the main categories into which your products can be categorized later.
At this point, the category name can still just be a temporary one, but the names should be defined at the latest when creating the website in a CMS. The directories and URLs created by the CMS depend on the category names.
5. Create a visual concept: What should menus and navigation look like?
Menus and navigation paths are crucial elements that influence the user-friendliness of your website. This makes it all the more important to think carefully about how navigation menus should be arranged and what type of menu(s) should be used.
|Drop Down Menu||This menu is often used for websites that have many categories and subcategories. It opens after a click or mouse over.|
|Static Menu||The static menu is always to the left or right of the content of the website. One click takes users to the desired category. Smaller websites in particular can benefit from this.|
|Header Navigation||This enables horizontal navigation. The menu items are arranged from left to right above the content.|
|Hamburger Menu||This menu is structured like a hamburger with its three layers of “bread, meat, bread”. By clicking on the three superimposed lines, the menu opens and the individual categories can be selected by clicking on them.|
At this stage, it is not possible to make a specific recommendation regarding the menu. Each one has its pros and cons.
Depending on your choice of menu, you can then also select your content management system. With some CMSs, such as WordPress, the menu can be defined in advance by selecting a specific template.
In online shop systems, there are generally various options available for creating a menu.
Basic points to consider when planning the navigation menu:
- A user should be able to reach each page with just three clicks from any page of your website.
- The faster your users find what they are looking for, the better the user experience and the higher the chances of conversions, high retention rates and low bounce rates.
- Internal links in your content should also have anchor links in the menu to ensure the flow of link juice.
- Always use the same keyword in the anchor text for a landing page. Avoid using keywords twice in the menu.
6. Web design: What are the design requirements?
Web design is not only a question of taste, but also a question of usability. If your company already has a corporate design, this should be reflected in your website. This starts with the colors, but also involves background, shadows, alignments, and finally the font used.
What to consider when designing your website:
- Your target audience
- Mobile First
- High usability on all devices with which the site is accessed
- Your Corporate Design
Of course, when you design an online shop, the web design also has an impact on your conversions.
7. Content Creation I
Which texts are inserted where?
(keyword search, WDF*IDF, title/descriptions)
- Keywords: To ensure that your content is not only appreciated by users, but also rated highly by Google, keyword research is an important prerequisite for creating texts, for example for specific categories or products.
- Relevance to subject: After identifying the most important keywords for your website, the process of creating content begins. In order to find not only the core keywords, but also related terms and relevant terms that will optimally represent your subject matter, you should perform a TF*IDF analysis with the created texts.If you use Ryte, you can find the TF*IDF analysis in the Content Success module.
- Title and Descriptions: Finally, you can reinforce the focus of your keywords by using the central search terms of your URLs in the title and description.
8. Content Creation II
Which graphics are required?
In the conceptual design of a website, it is important to think about the application of graphics. Where should images be placed? Which graphics are required? If you do not create the image material yourself or already have templates, it is recommended that you have this work done by professionals.
9. Testing: How do users interact with my site?
Anyone who orders a car receives a finished product, which is not changed later. The position of the doors is already set, as is the location of the engine. A website is a bit different. A website is a flexible structure that you should continually modify to satisfy the needs of users. You can test different versions of your website by real users beforehand. Subsequently, the website can be perfected based on the results of the analysis.
10. Developing a Concept for Content: Which specifications are used to create content and how?
It makes a lot of sense to write a guide on how content is to be created on your new website. At this point, there is no fixed timetable, but there are rules for text and image creation. This may sound very bureaucratic at first, but later on it will make everyone’s work easier. This is especially true when several employees or different teams are involved in the creation of content. As soon as detailed guidelines are available, everyone can use this guide accordingly. This will make it considerably more efficient to produce content. At the same time, a guideline ensures that the content created is consistent in its overall presentation.
This guideline does not have to be set in stone, but should be regularly adapted to reflect new requirements or challenges.
Below are some examples of criteria used for content guidelines:
- Text length: How long should product descriptions be? How long should a blog post be?
- Wording: What tonality should the texts have? Are there particular terms or ways of spelling that are preferred? Should visitors be addressed formally or informally?
- Text structure: How many subheadings should product texts, category texts or blog posts have? How should they be formatted?
- Images and graphics: Where should images be placed in the text? What size should they be?
11. OnPage Optimization: What are the most important factors?
Once your website is ready and online, you should lay the foundation to achieve high rankings. These important OnPage factors, which absolutely have to be optimized, are therefore considered fundamental for the overall website concept:
One concept, many solutions
Just like with a marketing concept, there is no general website concept that fits every homepage. The eleven steps presented here are all relevant, but even the first step will differ from website to website. Now, when you start with your concept, you should take as much time as you need to complete each step to your satisfaction. So, on this note, we hope you have fun planning.