Planning Your Website in 8 Steps
Here are some tips to make the planning process easier to work through:
- Whether you have an hour a day to complete each step, want to take an afternoon, or you want to go through a sprint and complete all the steps at once, just remember that these steps can be done at your own pace. You can set an hour per day for these exercises, but know that some you can skip, some will only take 5 minutes and some will take a couple of hours. Everyone is different, so work at your own pace, but don’t overthink or procrastinate.
- Parkinson’s Law expresses that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Meaning if something must be done in 1 month, it’ll be done in 1 month. If it must be done in 8 days, then it will.
- I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed, these steps are simple because if you do get stuck, I provide some examples that you are free to use or to inspire you. Right now, I’d like you to make a commitment to giving yourself 1 hour per day of interrupted time so you can work on the step for the day. If you don’t stay committed, after one week, you won’t have a solid plan for your website. But if you do stay committed, after one week you’ll have a solid plan to work with to get your website launched.
- The workbooks for each day are prepared as PDF’s and if possible print them out as you’ll need to refer to them in part 2 of the program. You can also use Google Docs or Microsoft Word, whatever method of note taking that works best for you. Again, don’t over think it and finally, this planning process is best done on a pc or laptop so you can see the details in the videos.
- There is a question form at the bottom of each lesson. Please use this to send me any questions and I will reply within 1 business day. I’ll be using the questions (anonymously) to create an FAQ (frequently asked questions) section as more students go through the process.
- There is a feedback form on the “What’s Next” tab which you can fill out once you’re done days 1-8.
- Are you ready, let’s get you started with Day 1.
- ideal customer avatar
- dream customer
- ideal customer profile <- this is my favourite
- writing your content for your website
- choosing images and colours
- designing your next product or service
Visually Representing Your Brand
Did you know that certain colours and images make people feel a certain way? and that it’s harder to convey a message with words alone vs adding supporting images. Remember the quote “a picture is worth a thousand words”?
What kind of colours pop into your mind when you picture the following words?
Let’s change it to be more descriptive. How to these words make your feel?
- cute kitten
- puppy with those big beautiful eyes
- two babies laughing
What type of feelings show up when reading the following food descriptions?
- triple-layer cake with thick icing
- a big chunky piece of apple pie
- a burnt fried egg with a yolk that’s broken
Did you find it challenging to picture everything in your mind based on just words?
Watch the video, download the workbook and work through the exercise to help you focus on images that are in line with how you want your ideal customers to feel.
You don’t need a rainbow of colours for your brand, that will make things messy and confusing.
If you are a specialist that teaches meditation for women suffering from PTSD, would you use bright pinks, purple and neon green as your brand colours? what about soft versions of those same colours?
You’ll go through a quick exercise choosing adjectives on how you want your ideal customer to feel when engaging with your brand and you’ll easily be able to pick your primary and secondary colours. It’s about the colours that resonate with your ideal customer, not what you like.
We’re going to get more specific with colours and you’ll get a super crash course in colour psychology in part 2 of the program.
Watch the video, download the workbook and work through the exercise. Keep things simple and always know that you can tweak this down the road as your business starts to grow or your ideal customer changes.
Choosing Fonts the Go Well Together
This can be one of the most fun and simple exercises, but if you let it get the best of you, you could likely spend hours on this because of the thousands upon thousands of free fonts that are available to you.
If I were to ask you how many fonts you want to have for your website, how many would you say? 1, 3, 7?
Did you know that you should use a maximum of 2-3 fonts total? A primary font, a secondary font and an optional accent font.
If you look at the daily workbooks, you’ll see a script font which I use for titles and headers, as long as the sentence isn’t too long. For my primary and secondary font, I use Oswald and Open Sans which work beautifully together (font pairing).
Watch the video, download the workbook and look at some font pairings I’ve done for you.
- How do they make you feel?
- What type of business do you think would use these types of fonts?
Remember to set a timer for this, or before you know it, it will be bedtime 🙂
Side Note: You’ll find a video at the bottom of this page which is a deep dive into choosing fonts if you’re having a hard time figuring out what’s best for your brand. 9 out of 10 times, students overthink this part. Remember, you can always change fonts down the road.
Deep Dive on Choosing Fonts for Your Website
Here is a Canva template that I created for testing out fonts.
Photos for your Website
You should know at this point that choosing your photos should be relatable to your ideal customer.
Using a combination of your own photos and stock photos is a great way to visually build your website. Even if you don’t have a camera, your phone will do.
Stock photos are a great way to fill in the gaps when you don’t need anything super-specific and gone are the days of stock photos being super expensive. You can find “legal to use” stock photos for free and I’ll be including a resource list in the workbook of what I use.
Watch the video below, download the workbook and have fun with this step.
These are some sites you can look at for images that are available for free and under a subscription.
- Style Shoot Social*
- Ivory Mix*
- Envanto Elements – includes photos and access to 20Twenty Photos
- Deposit Photos
- Stock Unlimited
- Yay Images
- Social Squares
* alot of the photos with phones, tablets or laptops in the shot are Apple products which drives me batty, but it is what it is. So if I need a shot that has a Windows laptop/pc or an android smartphone/tablet, I’ll either style my own shot with props or I’ll get the images from Deposit Photos or Envanto Elements in a crunch.
Websites that are community driven. Free images uploaded by the community that you can use.
- Unsplash – top quality images that you can use for commercial purposes
Side Note: The easiest thing to do would be to go to Unsplash and source out 10 images that you think your ideal customer would enjoy looking at and would represent your brand. Download these to your computer and you’ll be able to send them to me once you’re finished the entire planning series.
Your Website Layout
How far back can you remember when you saw a website for the first time? Not to give away my age, but I was around before websites were a thing.
They were static, boxy, some had flashing neon text, many different fonts on the page, the text was too small and logos were way too big.
Thanks to technology, we have website building systems that make the job so much easier and templates to help build a layout that is cohesive and professional-looking, even if your brand is fun and creative.
This exercise can be done in an hour, but most students “want” to spend the extra time doing research.
Watch the video, download the workbook and remember that your website layout can change down the road.
This video will help you sketch out your website on paper.
Writing Your Copy
I have to be honest, that although one hour is enough time for this exercise, it will depend on the type of website you’re planning.
If it’s a simple one-page layout made up of sections, one hour should be enough time. But if you’re planning a 5 page website, you’ll need more time to prepare the content.
For the sake of this exercise, you’ll focus on the core sections on the pages I’m suggesting. If you need more pages, you’ll just need more time.
At this point, you’ll need all the previous exercises to be done, a quiet place to brainstorm, or your favourite music playing if you like to be creating that way.
Many worksheets have been provided in the workbook below, including additional blank pages if you need them.
When writing out your content, just be yourself.
Remember that done is better than perfect because let’s be honest…perfection is just procrastination in disguise. The copy on your website will change as your business evolves.
Blog Posts to Help You Get Started with Writing Your Website Copy
- How to Write Your Website Branding Statement
- How to Write a Simple but Effective About Page
- How to Stop Writing Boring Product Descriptions
- How to Write Your Elevator Pitch So You Stand Out from Everyone Else
- How to Write copy for your Services Web Page
- How to Design a Contact Page that Converts
How is Your Website Plan Coming Along?
Did you have trouble with any of the action steps or have any ah-ha moments?
If you’re stuck, let me know so I can help you move forward. If you’re done all the planning, the next step is launching your website.
If you can let me know either way I’d appreciate it.
Looking forward to hearing from you.