The MintTwist Method: Plan the Perfect Website

***This is the original post (2009) on planning the perfect website, a part of the MintTwist methodology.  We are currently re-writing and updating this series and early drafts will appear on this blog soon.***



In order to create the perfect Website, firstly you need to have a Website Planning document. Before you can start the process of Website Planning you need to know two key things:

· What do you want your Website to say?

· Who do you want your Website to say it to?

Once you can answer these questions you are ready to proceed and begin “Website Planning”.


Website Planning

The process of Website Planning involves you being able to define 4 key aspects of your Website. These are:

· Message/Audience

· Perception

· Action

· Content

By following this article, and writing down the answers to the questions in each section you will produce your own Website Planning document.


Define your Website Message and Audience

Write down the answers to these questions:

· What is the primary message you wish to convey to the audience of your website?

Examples of this are; telephone us about our product/service, buy something, register with our website etc.

· What are the major purposes for the site?

Examples of these are; name branding, e-commerce, product or service information, generate leads, etc.

· What are the specific short-term and long-term goals for the site?

Examples of these are; to reduce customer service in-house, generate x increase in sales, generate new leads, etc.

· Who is your target audience?

Where relevant include things like; age range, profession, interests, gender, income bracket etc.)

· Is you target Website target audience different from your current customer profile? If so, please describe.

· Are you a local, regional or an international business and do you want to target a specific area?

· Who are your primary competitors?

· How does your company differentiate itself from competitors?

· What are the key reasons why customers choose your company?

Examples of these are; price, information, niche, quality, speed, expertise, sole provider.


Define your Website Perception

· Write down three adjectives to describe how the user should perceive the site.

Examples are; conservative, progressive, friendly, formal, casual, serious, experts, humorous, service-oriented, professional, etc.

· How is your company currently perceived?

· Do you wish to carry through the same kind of message through your website?

· List any URLs of sites you find compelling. What do you find the most interesting about these sites?

· List URLs of competitor sites. What you like and dislike about their overall site?


Define the Actions you want your Website Visitors to take

· What is the primary action you wish your target user to take from the homepage of your site?

Examples of these are; order a product, download a brochure, browse company information, move along specified path through the catalogue, email customer service, explore pages, phone your shop / office, etc.

· What is the primary action you wish your target user to take before leaving your site? Is it the same action? If not, describe why.

· What elements are key items you wish to have available to the user on every page?

Examples of these are; order form, brochure, email address, contact information, advertisements, access to a particular product range etc.


Define your Website Content

· Will this site use existing or new content? Describe any visual elements or styles you want.

Examples include; logo, text, product shots, press releases, testimonials, brochures, sell/data sheets, etc,

· Can this be utilized from existing marketing materials or collateral?

· Describe the major topics for your site?

Examples include; Products, Services, Information, How to Contact Us, Links, Frequently Asked Questions, Events, Members-Only Area, etc.

· If relevant, describe the product/service categories of your Website. If relevant, include sub-categories.

An example of this would be; 1. Fry Pans: Pancake / Crepe pans, Omelette pans, Sauté pans, Frying pans, Deep fat fryers, Accessories. 2. Pans: Pan sets, Sauce pans, Milk pans, Speciality pans, Pan Lids, Pan Storage, etc.

· If relevant, describe the major brands (other than your own) that your company would like to promote on the Website.

Choose a cross section of brands that represent your company fully, these could include; budget brands, premium brands, fashionable brands, high quality brands.

Include other useful Information

Remember to add anything else that you feel is relevant as a footnote to your Website Planning document.


Using your Website Planning document

Once complete your Website Planning document will be used by the Website Designer in the next stage of creating your “Perfect Website”…Design the Perfect Website

This article is based on the “MintTwist-ology” for creating the “Perfect Website”. MintTwist is a London based Web Agency specialising in high quality Web Design and Development.