How to make a website plan

9 min read
How to write your website plan

What is a Website Plan?

Your website plan is a structured document that details the core goals of your website and what you aim to achieve. To assist with your strategy, it should also include a breakdown of key pages and sections, architecture and key functions and process on your website.

Your website is one of the most fundamental aspects of your digital marketing. It is the online portal to your business, brand, products and services.

Whilst you will have a presence across social platforms and other forms of digital advertising, your website is your most critical tool for showcasing your brand and converting your visitors into customers and clients.

Therefore, planning is essential.

If you haven't yet done so, don't forget to visit the Web Rocket and download your FREE Digital Marketing Plan Template >>


A website plan is different from a website brief.

  • The purpose of a website plan is to give you a framework through which you can plan your SEO, content marketing and other forms of digital marketing
  • A website brief is a comprehensive document that you will use to communicate to potential web developers what you require from your website. Your website plan will be one element of your complete brief.

Whether you are assessing your current website for redevelopment, or planning a completely new build, you will need to consider a number of  factors to assist in planning your digital marketing activities and your communications with a web developer.


To get started with your Website Plan;

  • Open your Digital Marketing Plan Template and go to the website plan section
  • Read through this article on How to create a digital marketing strategy >>
  • Explore the articles in the resources section related to each topic
  • Discuss the strategy with your team and complete the relevant sections in your template plan


What is included in a website plan?

There are 5 key components to your website plan. In this guide, we will work through;

  • Website Goals
  • Market Research
  • Website Audit
  • Website Features & Functionality
  • Website Sitemap
  • Website Project Implementation


Website Goals

What are you hoping to achieve with your website for your business and digital marketing? Refer to the goals identified in your Business Plan and produce a set of objectives specific to your website.

You should first define the overall objectives for your website, for example;

  • We want to produce a website as an online shop where customers can purchase our product range.
  • We would like to build our brand reputation through a positive online shopping experience.
  • We aim to increase our overall business revenue through online sales

You should then produce a set of SMART GOALS through which you will be able to achieve these objectives and accurately monitor your website progress.

Smart goals should be;

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time bound

An example goal for your website might be to convert more visitors into customers. i.e. -  make more sales through the website to increase overall business revenue

For a SMART GOAL, you should think about the outcome, the action, the metric, and the timescale.

  • The specific outcome: Convert traffic into sales
  • The metric: 10%
  • The achievable action: User-friendly online purchase process
  • The relevance to the goal: Increase overall business revenue
  • The timescale: Monthly Increase

You should create a table or spreadsheet with your goals listed;

For each goal, add in a row for your targets, then a second row to monitor your progress each month. Start with a baseline for your current status. We recommend doing this over the course of a full year.

Website Conversions Target5%10%20%
Website Conversions5%TBCTBC
Enquiries Target51015
Positive Reviews Target102030
Positive Reviews10TBCTBC

Here, you can find out more about setting Business & Digital Market Goals >>


Website Market Research

You should utilise your findings from your market research to explore similar websites in your industry and competitor websites. Assess and evaluate common themes and features which you can learn from and improve on.

It is also important to look at your target audience and their priorities and preferences with regard to their online experience. This may guide certain decisions you will make for your own website.

As part of your business plan, you will have conducted extensive research to give you insights into your target audience, competitors, and industry landscape. Be sure to translate this information into your digital marketing plan.

You should be clear on key information regarding;

  • Identify who will be using your website. Before you launch your new website, it is crucial to establish who you are designing for and communicating with. Your website is for your audience, not for you, so it must appeal to them.

    Understand your demographic, and what their priorities and preferences are in order to sculpt the perfect online experience for them. Refer back to your audience research and expand on your information specifically for your website.

    Here is a quick example of a target audience segment and what information may influence your website design and structure.

     Audience Segment 1
    Age Group25 - 50
    Design PreferencesHigh end, glossy, classic
    Preferred browsing deviceTablet or mobile phone
    Priorities when purchasing / selecting service
    • Customer Service
    • Ease of use, clear navigation
    • Great images
    • Trust in payment facilities and security
    Experience of other websites
    • Doesnt like too many scrolling images.
    • Likes automated email correspondance on placing orders.
    • Is put off by no contact number available.

    Once we have a profile of each of our audience segments, we can use the information to direct our decisions regarding our website structure.

    For example, in this instance, we may use include the relevant payment and security icons and customer reviews to build trust. We would ensure that our website is mobile friendly and maybe offer a chat facility or direct customer service telephone number to demostrate positive customer service efforts.

    We can make significant decisions from this information about the structure, build and design of our website.

    Here you can learn more about how to conduct target audience research >>

  • Research your competitors and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their websites. It's essential to understand how effective your competitors' websites are.

    You should think about how easy they are to use. Is the navigation clear and user-friendly? Are there clear calls to action? Is company information prominant and is the branding and message clear?

    Are services and products easy to access, enquire about or purchase? Is the website mobile-friendly and does it load pages quickly on all devices?

    Here is a brief look at an example website competitor analysis and some of the factors you should consider;

     Competitor 1
    Design Assessment
    • Clear branding
    • High quality images and product photography
    • Layout is a little cluttered and distracting with too many sliding images
    • Fonts difficult to read - too fancy
    • Company information present
    • No links to social media accounts
    • Simple purchase process with basket and checkout
    • Difficult to select options on product page
    • No site search so cant find a specific item
    Naviagtion and Menus
    • Clear where to access key pages and product categories
    • Products are well categorised and filters help to refine results
    Compatibility across devices
    • Fine on desktop
    • Not mobile responsive
    Loading speedVery slow to load on both desktop and mobile

    Website SEO

    Search Engine Rankings

    • Keyphrase 1 - Page 1, Position 6
    • Keyphrase 2 - Page 2, Position 4
    • Keyphrase 3 - Page 1, Position 8

    You should complete a website competitive analysis for at least 3 of your key competitors. This will give you a clear cross-section on which you can make informed decisions on where you can improve on their offering.

    Whilst we want the analysis to be concentrated on their website, you can check out our article to learn how to research and perform a full competitive analysis >>

  • Your industry is not limited to your competitors. There will be a number of websites that target your audience which are not direct competitors and so you may be able to learn from them also.

    For example, if your website is selling baby clothes, you may look to "new mums/dads" blog sites or websites selling kids toys and accessories to find further inspiration.

    List down any features or aspects you like about their websites and elements you feel don't work very well. Then make a complete list of sites with relevant notes for your development.

    Here is a quick example of an Industry Analysis for a baby clothes ecommerce website.

    • Great purchase process
    • Clear and simple product pages
    • Like the product review feature
    • Too many colours - overwhelming
    • Too many scrolling banners - distracting
    • Nice fonts
    • Simple colour scheme
    • Product pages are cluttered
    • Images are slow to load
    • Like the use of hand-drawn icons
    • Menu always visible as user scrolls, good navigation
    • Logo style is nice
    • Mobile version is cluttered
    • Too many adverts
    • Pop ups are annoying

    Websites in your industry are great for getting a broader sense of what works for your target audience. You can also look at websites outside of your industry for inspiration, but keep in mind we want to be targeted to our demographic and there will be certain approaches that work best for your audience.


Website Audit

Once you have completed your market research and related the findings to your website plan, you should conduct a complete audit of your existing website.

Think about everything that is currently working for you and anything that has been holding you back. Consider any user feedback you have collected whilst your website has been in operation.

Get your team together and try to experience your website from the point of view of a customer. Detail your findings in a list of strengths and weaknesses to help inform your decisions for your new website or improvements.

Let's take a look at some of the points you will want to consider for your audit;

Design Assessment
  • Clear branding
  • Company information present
  • Good colour scheme
  • Layout is a little cluttered and distracting with too many sliding images
  • Fonts difficult to read - too fancy
  • No links to social media accounts
  • Simple purchase process with basket and checkout
  • Difficult to select options on product page
  • No site search so cant find a specific item
Naviagtion and Menus
  • Clear where to access key pages and product categories
  • Products are well categorised and filters help to refine results
  • No clear access to blog or information pages
Compatibility across devices
  • Fine on desktop
  • Not mobile responsive
Loading speed
  • Loads quickly on desktop
  • Very slow to load on tablet and mobile

Website SEO

Search Engine Rankings

  • Keyphrase 1 - Page 1, Position 6
  • Keyphrase 2 - Page 2, Position 4
  • Keyphrase 3 - Page 1, Position 8
  • Keyphrase 4 - Page 4, Position 6
  • Keyphrase 5 - Page 6, Position 4
  • Keyphrase 6 - Not Ranked

When you have a clear idea of what is working and what you would like to improve, you can move on to creating the plan for your new website, or your action list for improving your current one.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to arrange for a free website audit >>


Website Features & Functionality

Identify the key features and functions of your website. This will give you an idea of specific areas and subsections you will need in your website architecture.

After reviewing your competitors and industry websites, what are some new tools or areas you can provide that will set your website apart?

  • What should customers and users be able to do and achieve on your website?
  • If you are selling products you will require ecommerce functionality, a secure checkout and payment gateway integration.
  • Think about the types of media and communication you may want to include in your website. Will you utilise video, images, blogs, and resources?
  • How will your users contact you? Will you have an online contact form or offer a live chat facility?
  • Should users be able to book an appointment online?
  • Can customers get an instant quote online for your services?

When you come to creating your website brief, this section will be crucial for potential developers to provide an accurate and informed quotation. Be sure to detail anything your feel is relevant or even a point of discussion.


Website Sitemap

Make an initial list of significant pages, categories and areas of your website. This will assist when planning your SEO and content, as well as give you a clear idea of how to organise the navigation on your website.

Think about the key areas of your website and how users will access important information. You should always ensure that significant pages are no more than 3 clicks away from when a user lands on your website.

We recommend creating a sitemap which demonstrates these core areas, in the style of your website navigation.


Website Project Implementation

Here you will plan the budget, timescale and implementation for your website project. You will also identify key tasks that need to be completed and which team members will be involved in the process.

You should first ensure you have decided;

  • Who will be in charge of the website development? If you hire a web developer, this person will be responsible for liaising directly with them regarding the project.
  • What is your budget for the website development? This will be important whether you are allocating resources in-house or hiring a web designer.
  • When should the website be live? You will be planning your marketing to tie in with driving traffic to your website, so it will of course need to be live and accessible to the public.
 Website Plan
  • Development - Outsourced to Web Company
  • Website Management - In-house - John
  • Content Production - In-house Jane
  • £3,500 - Website Development
  • £50 p/m Hosting and Support
  • Website to launch in 3 months
  • Content prepared by month 2


Next steps for your Digital Marketing Plan

Once you have completed your website plan template, you will need to start thinking about an SEO strategy. If you are using our Web Rocket Guide, visit your Digital Marketing Plan and continue to the next stage.


Kieran Watman

Kieran Watman

Director at Watman & Worth Web

At Watman & Worth Web Ltd, we are constantly researching and learning more about the digital marketing world.

I love putting together all of this information to help the businesses we work with to use the full potential of the online landscape to make their website thrive.


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