Your roadmap to a flourishing website

Web Design

Do you feel your website isn’t promoting your brand as well as it could? Keep reading for a roadmap that shows how you can design your website in as little as five days.

Here’s what’s great about this roadmap: You don’t even need a website yet. If you follow this roadmap, you can have a brand new or completely overhauled site in as little as five days or five weeks if you need an easier pace.

Before we start, we need to change our way of thinking about websites.

Your website isn’t a building; it’s a garden

Gardens need to be pruned and most websites I encounter certainly could do with their content being cut back every few months! – Paul Boag

We often think of websites like buildings: draw up plans, pour concrete, install some stuff, and then you’re pretty much done. No! Websites are more like gardens. Sure, you draw up plans, plant, and then sit back and enjoy the benefits of God’s programming work while your back recovers. But with a garden, you know that there’s continual work to do to make your garden flourish, unless you want weeds and dry patches everywhere.

Using the gardening metaphor, I’ve drawn out the five major stages of planting a flourishing website. One thing to note is that even though you can technically have a brand new website by the end of the second stage, you won’t reach your destination of a flourishing website until you get to the last stage.

If you want a flourishing website, you need to commit to spending a fixed, continual amount of time on your website. Just like a garden, you cannot afford to plant it and forget it. I’d recommend no less, yet no more than a half hour each workday. That should give you enough time to water, pull out weeds and plant fresh flowers.

By the way, many of these concepts are not original, but adapted from material I’ve gathered from Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy’s Living Forward book, Platform University, and the Tribe membership course.

Stage 1: Prepare the soil

Time commitment: 1-2 days

At this stage, maybe you have a website or you don’t, but you’re sure it’s not having the impact that you’d like. At the end of this stage, you’ll have a clear vision of what your website is going to look like.

  1. Know your WWW: who your audience is, what you want them to do, and why.
  2. Commit to a Spending Plan for your website: Will you invest enough each day to cover a glass of water, cup of coffee, or a fancy caffeinated beverage?
  3. Using your WWW and budget, write down three SMART goals for your website and put these in your Website Life Plan.
  4. Brainstorm and rank ideas for your website using the hottest new technology: 3×5 cards and pencil.
  5. Using your idea cards, sketch out and prototype your navigation and website elements.
  6. Test drive WordPress by installing it on your home computer and installing some themes.
  7. Finally, create drafts of your content on your test site.

Whew! That was a lot of work, but now you’ve got everything ready to launch a brand new website.

Stage 2: Plant the seeds

Time commitment: 2-4 hours

You’ve done a bulk of the hard work, and now you’re ready to tackle the technical part of setting up a website. By the end of this stage, you’ll have a brand new site and feel confident to take care of it.

  1. Get your domain name and hosting, preferably from the same provider.
  2. Install WordPress and any necessary plugins.
  3. Setup a backup plan on your live site before doing anything else.
  4. Import content from your test site into your live site.
  5. Launch the live site.

Stage 3: Water and fertilize

Time commitment: 2-4 hours

Your site is launched, but now you need to create fresh content to drive more traffic to your site. By the end of this stage, you’ll have a plan for fresh content.

  1. Survey your visitors for questions that you could answer in a blog post.
  2. Schedule a recurring day during the week that you will post fresh content.
  3. Setup analytics to watch usage of your site.
  4. Integrate your site with social media accounts so that new posts are being broadcast outside your site.

Stage 4: Prune and graft

Time commitment: 1-2 hours

You’re growing your audience, and now you’ve got to plan for long-term care. You need to prune out content that doesn’t align with your goals. By the end of this stage, you’ll have a long-term plan that will increase your reach.

  1. Weekly: Review analytics and your website life plan, ensure backup is working, create one piece of fresh content.
  2. Monthly: Revise your fresh content strategy based on analytics and questions from readers.
  3. Quarterly: Tweak your plan and create new SMART goals for the quarter.
  4. Annually: Go back to stage one and overhaul your website.

Stage 5: Expand and let flourish

Time commitment: Up to 8 hours

You’ve now got a successful website with fresh content, a clear plan for improvement, and you’re confident that you can do more. At this stage, you’re ready to consider extra features to expand your reach even further, such as shopping carts, event calendars, email marketing integration and more.

By the end of these stages, you should not only have a brand new website, but a clear strategy and confidence to manage your website.

Where are you on this roadmap? Please let me know below in the comments section or leave any questions you may have.