When trying to create a new web page, the hardest part is often figuring out how to begin. Should we focus first on the design, on creating content or maybe something else? Many people are asking this questions, but it’s rarely discussed and not easy to resolve. The result is – people often start with random actions and end up with a poorly composed website. That’s why we’ve created a short guide including the initial steps to take when starting the process of building or redesigning a web page.
Before you even start thinking about the website, first you need to make sure who your potential visitors are. If you don’t have it yet, create your buyer personas profiles and find out how each of them will be using your site. People are visiting your page for certain reasons, and you need to know what these motives are. Also, consider different stages of each persona along their buyer’s journey. To find it, you may ask yourself some of the following questions:
Why are strangers visiting your page?
What information your current customers may be seeking on your web page? What other reasons may they have to go there?
Do your partners and vendors have any reasons to reach out to your online database?
How can you help all these potential visitors to satisfy their needs efficiently?
For example, if you’re a manufacturer of small electronics, then your website may be visited by a reseller. They may be looking for information on partnerships possibility, its potential benefits or maybe contact information. But you may also welcome a direct user, seeking for customer support or product specification. Ask your salespeople and any other stuff that has contact with your consumers and partners, so that you cover all the possibilities.
Pages strategy and site mapping
Based on all the information you gathered in the previous step, now it’s time to organise it into pages. Define how many cases you have and find out if one page may address more than one, and which problems needs separate locations to deal with them. Then, for each page, create a card with title, individual personas, their stages and goals.
When you have the data gathered and organised it into pages, now you need to classify them into categories. These may act as your future navigation menu items. Usually, four to six groups are the optimum, as more may be too difficult to navigate for users. Take your time and think how your customers may be looking for a given piece of data.
To avoid assuming, you may speak to your clients or ask for comments someone who has not participated in previous stages of design work. Otherwise, you can organise the content in the way you think, not in the way a potential visitor would. After categorising the pages, create names for all of them.
Now you can finally begin the content creation. Simply start writing a plain text, that will be later transformed into pages that you’ve previously planned and arranged. All this, together with the information you’ve prepared earlier will be a great base for a designer to start working. By having the content first, you will allow adjusting the design of your site better to the user experience.
Focus on adjusting the amount of text to the level of the page in a hierarchy. The first pages that a user will see should be rather concise. But the deeper you go, the more information you can provide.
If you follow these steps, you will have a great start for your website’s design. But remember it is only the beginning. The most complicated part is the design itself. If you want to create or re-do your web page, you may need to ask experienced professionals for help. Only this way, you can make sure that your users will have the best possible experience when browsing through your site.