If you've just landed here from our first post, read on! If you missed it, read more about crafting The Vision of your website here:
Number 2: Your Site Structure
The structure of your site can seem to be pretty straightforward, and most entrepreneurs and start-ups would think that it's as simple as a single-page or 5-page website. When we start asking our standard set of questions, however, sometimes that single or 5-pager turns quickly into a 10-page or even a 20-page site.
In those cases, we typically help a new business split up or chunk their project back into a "Version 1.0" and a "Version 2.0" of their site with smaller releases in between so that they can still release a website in the timeline and the budget they may have had in mind.
Version 1.0: This version will be what you absolutely need to have to get your small business off the ground and running. You'll list each page (Home, Services, Contact, About) and what areas you want on each page.
What I find really helpful for clients is to have a main goal for the site itself (Example Goal: To get clients to fill out our contact form OR Example Goal: To get clients to call us) and to ensure that each page gives enough value in order for the prospective client to have a compelling reason to perform an action to achieve that goal. Performing an action could be clicking on a "Call-To-Action" button as a direct action to that goal, reading more about your services, or something else as another step toward that goal.
You can draw each page out roughly and make notes about what information you need to have on each of those sections for each page that achieves the goal for each page.
Inner Releases (Versions 1.x and everything in between): These smaller releases include any small nice-to-haves that can typically be worked on in the background while V1.0 is doing its job. This includes any Landing Pages that are not vital to the initial launch, and any Service Pages that don't have and don't need to have fleshed out/completed copy right now.
Frankly - what makes projects take longer than expected and gets clients most upset about project delays is that our team is waiting on copywriting OR change requests to the site or page structure. If you can make a Service Page a small paragraph on the Homepage a V1.0 and save the Service page for an Inner Release later... I can guarantee you'll save pressure on yourself to get that done quickly (see the next section) and prevent delaying V1.0 into oblivion. It's a bigger sigh of relief for yourself than you can imagine. There may be competing initiatives, but we can always keep the ball rolling with a V1.0.
Version 2.0: This version is going to be the next large page or set of page(s) for release to your site. It sometimes can include a set of Service Pages, E-Commerce Launch (Wix or WordPress, for example), a Member's Area, a Custom Wix Velo Development Code Launch (for our Wix Clients), or any number of larger projects. These are large need-to-haves and/or nice-to-haves that could not make it into Version 1.0.
This particular step does ask you to be as realistic as possible with the timeline you have in mind and, as such, our tip below will break down the homework for you in a "Release" mindset to help you get there.
Your Homework: Put together the Site Structure into broken-out sections in V1.0, and V2.0 with Inner Releases inside of each. Remember to be realistic about what you need to have and what you want to have on your website.
Make an Outline with 2 Sections:
1a) Inner Releases (V1.1, etc.)
2a) Inner Releases (V2.1, etc.)
Apply a REALISTIC timeline to each one. Then add more time to each one. 🤗
We've created a handy website guide to help you along the way with your versions which is easy to print or write on with your tablet - so feel free to download and use it to help your developer get a better idea of your website ideas or to help you iron out your own ideas if you're building it on your own.
While there are always considerations including SEO initiatives during the V1.0 process, the idea is that this type of process makes the website situation less of a situation and more of a project tied to business needs. It can also help execute your website's goals so that the project can stay highly focused and methodical - and you can help your web team complete your project in a steady, predictable way and communicate with them much more effectively.
Part 3 will cover Your Branding Guide.