Planning for your New Website: 7 steps from conception to completion

While you’re thinking about your new website, what content you will include, where you will source photos (I wrote a helpful post about that here), and how much you need to budget (find out how much it will cost here), trying to work out where to find a good web designer that isn’t going to take your first-born in exchange for their work, you also need to consider how long it takes to build a website. And what you will do to launch your new website.

I’m not just talking about the time from contract to delivery.

There’s a whole lot of time that goes into a website that you as the business owner need to put in to make sure you get the messaging right, appropriately targeted (do you have a clear picture of the values and ideas you want your brand to reflect?), that the photos and images, icons and logos are aligned to your brand. So let’s step it out from idea to beyond website launch.

1. Know your Goals for your new website

Before you think about engaging a web designer, you need to know what business goals you are trying to achieve. Is it about:

  • brand awareness
  • product knowledge
  • an online store
  • taking bookings
  • promoting your work
  • sharing testimonials
  • showcasing your expertise
  • giving potential clients confidence that you know what you are doing
  • or something else?

Being able to clearly articulate what you want your web site to achieve will help your web designer immensely to create the right site for your business.

2. Know who your Target Audience is

Once you understand what information and aspects of your business you want to share, consider who your target audience is, what the key problem is that you can solve for them .

Think about how they might feel while they have that problem and how they will feel after you have helped them. 

Know the demographic of your target audience and spend some time getting to know the way they describe their problem, the words they use and how they talk about the solution they are looking for.

You won’t necessarily know this is the beginning, but make it your mission to listen deeply to your target audience and learn to speak their language!

3. Collect your Collateral

Your business collateral can include your logo, your domain name, your brand colours, images of your products or services, key phrases or keywords that you always use to promote your brand, product, service or business.

Know exactly what the key messaging is that you use that resonates with your target audience and converts them from lookers to bookers or from browsers to buyers.

You need to have access to all of these so they can be included in your website. Your web designer will talk to you about the format that they need for images and logos.

It’s also important to consider a privacy policy for your website – you will need to have that prepared so your web designer can get it loaded onto your new site with appropriate links. If you’re not sure whether your business needs one, have a read here where I set out the requirements for a privacy policy in Australia.

Also consider a Terms of Use for your website which sets out (and hopefully protects) your liability in regards to the information on your site.

4. Think about the timeline

Are you in a hurry? Most small business owners I know would consider themselves go-getters – they make stuff happen and they get things done. If they didn’t they wouldn’t stay in business.

I’ve had enquiries range from “can you get this done in a week?” to “I don’t really have a timeline – whatever works for you”. By the way, what works for me is a clearly agreed reasonable timeline.

Sure most web designers could build you a brochure site (a few static pages with a contact form and some nice layout) in under 40 hours, but do you have the space in your calendar to review, test and approve the website within that week?  

Do you have all of your collateral ready to go so they can start at 9am Monday morning? If you’re still signing the contract on Monday afternoon for a project that was due to start on Monday morning, then you’re already behind the 8-ball.

5. How much input will you need to have?

There is no point pushing to get it done in a week, paying a premium for that and then not being able to review and approve changes during that time too. So make sure you allow time in your own busy schedule to review and approve changes.

When you work with me and most other web designers, there will be a few points during the project where your approval or feedback will be required – at that point most work stops until you approve the stage – or provide feedback and the tweaking begins and work resumes.

It’s pretty senseless to keep building more of your website until the design is agreed, so it is important to respond quickly. Once the site is built, not much else will happen until you have reviewed the content and approved or requested changes. Got questions or suggestions? Pick up the phone and have a real conversation with a real human – its quicker and much more effective and will keep the project moving.

It is also valid to ask for more time to review and consider how the design fits with the rest of your collateral and branding – so if you need to take longer, then do. It is your website and you know your business and your goals the best. Be mindful that the person you are working with has most likely scheduled your work among other clients and commitments so communicate your needs early if this is the case.

If you feel you may be delayed for whatever reason be sure to communicate that. Sometimes life just happens too, so if this happens (your child gets sick, your apprenctice leaves unexpectedly, etc and there is something more urgent you need to deal with), let the person you are working with know so they can juggle their other priorities around your needs and capabilities.

6. Milestone payments

Most web designers will ask for milestone payments throughout the build. They will likely want a deposit to get started and two or three payments throughout the life of the project. Making payment promptly keeps your project moving – if you wait for a week to pay the invoice, then the work will also be on hold for a week.

So make sure there are funds available when they are needed – all of these payments should be set out in the contract before you commence, so you will have a good idea of the timing of required payments.

7. After the build of your new website is complete

Once you website is built, the work doesn’t stop!  This is the time to launch, promote and share the heck out of your website. Even before your site is finished you can be teasing your target audience with promises of what is to come. I wrote more detailed posts about what to do once the site is live here and here. Prior to your site being completed is the time to plan your launch.

Like any great marketing effort you need to consider where and when you will announce and promote your new site and how you will attract people to it. Don’t wait until the day before Go Live to suddenly think – “oh heck, do I need to let people know about my new website?”

Your Search Engine Optimisation might be outstanding but even Google will take a few days or weeks to catch up with your new site.

A new website can re-invigorate your marketing efforts, re-align your marketing with your current branding and market position and give lookers and browsers a fresh insight into your business.

If you haven’t updated your website for a while and it’s look a bit 2015 or 2010 (yes that was 10 years ago!) then perhaps it’s time for a review. Get in touch – book a free Clarity session using the big orange button below and I’ll give you some ideas about how you might reinvigorate your best online marketing tool so it continues to convert people to book your services or buy your products.


Found a spelling or grammatical error in this post? Then contact me as soon as possible and let me know. In return for your super proof reading, I will offer you a free 30-minute review of your digital presence and some fresh ideas you can try out for free.

Get in Touch

If you’d like help with your website, email marketing or blogging, then make a time to chat by using the big orange button below. I can help you to:

1. Clarify your target market and work out what you want them to do when they get to your website.

2. Identify a suitable platform for your business that will grow as it grows.

3. Create keyword rich content to update your site and entice your customers

4. Get your digital presence ranking up in Google and other search engines.

Learn how to think like a marketing pro.

Click here to find out how you can increase turnover and build profit by finding and engaging clients and customers who are excited about your products or services!

Digital Marketing 101

Get regular digital marketing tips without the geek speak or spam.