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Meetup: The process for building an effective website

wireframeAs we’ve refined our process over the years, we’ve discovered a simple truth – the more quickly you get to the design phase of your website development, the less effective the site will be.

This applies to any type of site. If you get a “$1/month” site from GoDaddy, the first thing you do is choose a template. When working with some companies, one of the first steps is to design the site. Your best bet, given adequate time and budget, is to step back and review the goals of the site and the desired path of your visitors, map it out, and then work on bringing it together.

By designing the look of your site first, you’re attempting to answer questions that you haven’t even asked yet. Some questions you might want to ask would be:

Why are you building a site?
No one needs a website; they need what the website will bring. Whether the site exists to showcase your talents, support word-of-mouth referrals, sell products, or something else, the website is essentially a means to an end. Figure out that big “why” before you go further.

What action do you want visitors to take?
When a visitor arrives on your site, what do you want them to do? Should they call/email you, buy a product, sign up for your email list, or something else? Based on the the “why” above, you should have a goal in mind for each visitor.

What pages does it need to have?
Once you know why you’re building the site and what you want visitors to do, sit down and make a comprehensive list of pages needed on the site. This will not only help shape the direction of things, but also provide a checklist of pages that need content created.

Based on the above you can then begin to consider the layout and design. The direction from this point will depend on budget, timing and your skill level, but at least you have a solid idea of where things need to go.

We’ll be digging into this in our next Meetup on July 10, and we’d love to see you there! We want to hear how others handle their development process, which will help us all to refine how we do things and become even better at building sites.

About the Author

Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

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