This is Block 81's archive of past articles. Once in a while we may add more, but it's rare.
Block 81 is a design studio producing beautifully crafted websites and brands for independent businesses and startups.
September 25, 2015
All you want is your business's site online, right this second, but it's not that easy.
If you want your website to be successful, there's one key step to take - planning. Every great website starts with a clear, detailed plan.
Without a plan in place, you could spend forever trying to get everything just right. It might take a little time upfront, but you'll get your site up faster by planning first and developing later.
Wanting to drive traffic to your business is a good purpose, but it shouldn't be the only purpose. Do you want to sell products or inform your customers? Do you want to do both? Once you have traffic coming to your site, what are visitors supposed to do? This is the purpose of your site. Knowing the purpose helps you better decide on the layout, fonts, color schemes and more. It's important to have an initial purpose or idea to present when you first meet with a design and development agency.
Planning isn't just on you. The right designers and developers work alongside you to advise you during the planning stage. They'll help you decide which features, design style, site structure, content strategy and even technology are best for your site based on the initial purpose you provide. You can't plan it all by yourself. You need the expertise of design and development professionals to guide you.
How will the site reflect your brand? This is where trusting your site to design and development consultants is important. A general site isn't what your business needs. Instead, you need a site that matches your business's tone and personality. During the planning stage, professional consultants help plan out how to implement your logo (and even create one if you don't already have one), the site structure to showcase your voice and products to your customers and even how and where to implement call-to-action buttons to engage on social media.
Running a business keeps you busy and you don't always have time to write your content yourself. Planning your content strategy early on is important for a successful website. The content helps the developers and designers create a more custom website. Once again, you don't have to do this on your own.
Many design and development agencies help you plan out your content strategy and even provide a copywriter for you. This helps ensure your content is ready as soon as the site launches and isn't holding back your site. By trusting experts, you can rest assured your content is planned out to match your brand and target audience.
"You can't plan it all by yourself. You need the expertise of design and development professionals to guide you."
You wouldn't just start a business without planning how you'll fund it, how to market to your target audience, where to locate it and how to offer the best products and services to your customers. Why treat your website any different? It's the online face of your business. For your site to be successful, you have to plan it just as carefully as you do the business itself. You want the site to run smoothly, boost your brand awareness and fit with your brand's personality.
You don't handle everything in your business on your own. You trust different areas to experienced experts. The same goes for site planning. You have an idea, but it takes experts to choose the features, navigation, style, structure and more. You tell them what you're looking for and they show you what's possible and what's best for your business. It's a business partnership where you're involved throughout the process.
Overlooking the planning phase could leave you with a generic website that doesn't represent your business at all. It's up to you give your site the right start. Start with a purpose and find the right design and development agency to aid in the planning process. They're not just for the technical side of the project. These agencies are key to helping you plan out your entire site, branding and even content strategy.