This program year we are going to build a new website from the ground up. It’s not going to be a month by month process, but one we revisit occasionally. Hence the title.
The October meeting had us digging into the why and what of the website, well ahead of making pretty things appear on the web.
This phase of a new website project is often overlooked by new website owners-to-be. They tend to want to jump right into “I want a site just like example.com” before thinking about what they really want their site to be, or do, or provide, or function.
I like to start with the ‘why’.
Why do you need a website? Do you want to teach someone something? Or maybe you want to sell something? Possibly you want to get someone to call you, or reach out to you in some other way.
Do you have a goal for your website? No? Then how do you know if it is successful, or doing what you want?
These are the questions we talk about at this stage of the project.
Once we have an idea of the why I ask the what.
What do you want visitors to do when they visit your new, or refreshed, website?
What is the most important thing for a new visitor to your website to do when they land on your home page?
“Learn about us.” is not an answer to this question.
Why? It’s not measurable! How can you determine if a visitor has learned about you when they visit your website?
What they do is to take an action. They click a button; fill out a form; call your phone; click to a new page on your site. These are all actions a visitor can take on your website AND, more importantly, they can be measured.
How many visitors to our website clicked the ‘Learn More’ call to action button at the top of the front page to get details on our consulting service.
Did visitors today submit a form indicating they wanted us to contact them about scheduling an in-house appraisal of an heirloom they want us to sell.
Did mobile visitors click the ‘Visit Us’ button to get the directions to our brick and mortar storefront in their GPS app?
After we have this then we can start to talk about what the site can do, what it might look like, the website features you like and don’t like. At this point I like to have the website owner find examples of sites that they like. They don’t need to like the entire site, just one piece. It could be the menu system, or the layout of the contact page, or possibly the way the page looks on a mobile device.
Its time to look at potential themes for your website.
Look for a theme that aligns with your design, or can be modified for your design.
If you are okay with doing some coding, pick a theme framework, or a starter theme to work with.
- Underscores – https://underscores.me/
- Bones – https://github.com/squibbleFish/theme-bones
- Bootstrap – https://wordpress.org/themes/bootstrap-four/
- Generic – https://wordpress.org/themes/generic/
- WordPress v5 default – https://wordpress.org/themes/twentynineteen/
Next Up – Local Development
Next time we will look into getting the new site set up on your local computer. This will be your development environment. Here we can get things looking just right, laying out the navigation, creating the draft pages, tweaking the colors and styles, making our own functionality plugin for special capabilities, and getting it to look just right.
- https://www.wpbeginner.com/guides/ – Ultimate Guide: How to Make a Website in 2019 – Step by Step Guide (Free)
- https://themeisle.com/blog/how-to-make-a-website/ – How to Make a WordPress Website in 2019 – The Ultimate DIY Guide
- https://themeisle.com/blog/how-to-choose-a-wordpress-theme/ – How to Choose a WordPress Theme? 4 Things to Pay Attention To