Website Part 1: Establishing Objectives and Watch Our Website Strategy Meeting
Alrighty folks, this is the week we really start to bring Wandering Aimfully to life!
Well, it's already been brought to life, but this is when we start working on some of the more fun stuff like... the official website.
You may be reading this post and thinking, "Jason, I'm looking at a website for Wandering Aimfully, whatsoever are you talking about, you weirdo!?"
And to that I would say... this is just our under construction website. You probably already knew that, but, I'm just reiterating so we're all 100% on the same page. Web page, that is. 😆
This site is just our way to catalog the business building process, but our business going forward will have a much more robust site that we first need to design and build!
Great websites begin with great website strategy
Let's get clarity on what the new Wandering Aimfully website will do first.
As much as we may want to dive into designing our new virtual home (aka "the fun part), we first have to get clear on the site's objectives.
We have to know what role we want the website to play in achieving our business goals so that we can design a site that supports those goals.
That means asking ourselves questions like:
- What does the Wandering Aimfully website need to do?
- What type of content will need to be on the site and how often will it be updated?
- What actions do we want visitors to take?
- Who does the Wandering Aimfully website serve, what will they be looking for, and how will we deliver that to them?
- What are some ideas we have for the site to stand out in the vast ocean that is the Internet?
These questions are vitally important to answer before pushing any pixels around in a design program. In fact, they were so important to answer, we sat down and had a meeting about it (which we recorded for you, obviously!).
The Wandering Aimfully website will have two major components
#1 - The standard website: You know, WanderingAimfully.com. This will be the site that 99% of our visitors will see. This is what we spent the bulk of our time chatting about in our meeting. It's what we'll be spending the bulk of our time working on this week.
#2 - The members-only customer dashboard: For the fantastically smart people who purchase our Wandering Aimfully monthly membership, we're cooking up a really slick member dashboard experience. It's hard to even call it just a dashboard, because it's really more like a mini software product. **We'll get wayyyyy more into this topic later this week, including a ton of behind the scenes on our process of designing and building the dashboard. You may also remember we discussed a bit about this during our product/business model meeting last week.
We aren't going to sugarcoat it (not even stevia-coat it!), these two components are a HUGE undertaking. Not only in the amount of planning and design work, but also in the execution and management.
The biggest challenge with the standard site will be combining the content from JasonDoesStuff.com, MadeVibrant.com, and BuyOurFuture.com into one cohesive website experience.
The biggest challenge with the customer dashboard will be to create a tool that helps members search through and consume the overwhelming amount of resources we are offering within the membership. Over 30+ courses, software tools, guides, and workshops, plus hundreds of articles, worksheets and videos... all with the intention of helping someone meet their creative business and life goals.
For now, the rest of the info in this post pertains to our public-facing, standard site.
Where the heck do we begin with building our website??
Again, it's not as simple as just diving into a design program; we need a plan of action. The best, most beautiful and unique website design in the world is worthless if it doesn't serve our needs (and the needs of you, our visitors). Here's how we're planning to go about it.
Step 1: The Pages
Seems pretty obvious, right? Well, it would be, if we weren't combining three websites into one. As we went over in the video meeting above, we wrote down the most important pages the site will need. Then, we ranked their importance, so we knew what to focus on first.
From that meeting we decided that there are two pages we should design first:
- An article page: The majority (probably 75%) of our traffic will come through an article on our site. Just redirecting our existing sites will bring 50,000+ visitors per month to our articles. These are our main entry point to our site and need to present our content in a beautiful, easily digestible and captivating way.
- The homepage: Wait, shouldn't this be first? It's THE homepage. Oh contraire mon frere. While the homepage is vitally important, we believe it's secondary to our article design. Since it's much easier to determine what an article page will consist of (headline, article, subheadings, images, author bio, etc.), it's actually easier to tackle that first.
Of course, we also need to design...
- About page
- Start Here page
- Membership Sales page
- Podcast page
- /Now page
- 404 page (obviously!)
- And a handful of others
We won't skimp on the design of those other pages, they're simply not as important at this very moment.
Step 2: Business Objectives
Caroline and I are HUGE believers in great design. Hopefully that's apparent. The first, second, and third impression go a long way, and design is the conductor of that train. However, just making things looking beautiful/unique doesn't put money in our bank account. Ugh. We wish!
The Wandering Aimfully website has one incredibly important business objective: Sell the monthly memberships.
Now, does that mean we're going to cram the membership down a website visitor's throat at every turn? We hope you already know the answer to that question. But we do want to think about how we can present the monthly membership in multiple locations around the website, and lead people back to that ultimate goal. If folks don't purchase what we sell, we can't keep the LaCroix flowin' around these parts. This business objective will be top of mind as we nail down the flow of the website between pages.
Step 3: What the heck do we do next?
There is no shortage of work this week or during any website design process. Unfortunately our snoring dog Plaxico isn't much help, but we do have a plan of action for the main website:
- Initial Web Strategy Meeting (included in this post!)
- Objectives and Page List (what we talk about in the video)
- User Flow and Site Map (Caroline has completed this and will include in Wednesday's post)
- Design Inspiration and Strategic Decisions (more on Wednesday)
- Wireframes for all Pages
- First Round of Designs (starting with article layout)
- Solidify Designs (all the things!)
- Pass Designs off to our Developers (hi Ben and Mark!)
- Developers Work Their Magic
- Site is DONE and Everything Works Perfectly! 😂
Okay, we KNOW it won't be as simple as a list of bullet points. It should be an interesting week around here. Wish us luck!