Planning Your Squarespace Website
Cooper’s step-by-step guide to getting started creating your website content
So, you’ve accepted our website design proposal, and maybe you’re wondering, “What’s next?”
Never fear! We’ll cover all of this in onboarding, and you are free to wait to think about it until we have a chance to talk about strategy. But if you’re a type-A personality with a desire to know what to expect, or if you benefit from having extra time to get inspired, this article is for you.
If you’re a DIY Squarespace user, welcome, and best of luck to you as well! You too deserve good resources on this journey. If you get stuck, feel free to schedule a bit of time to get one-on-one help from us right here. We’re really friendly, and we know our stuff.
Step 1: Brainstorming Phase
As a former college English teacher, I see many similarities between the ways I taught my students to plan their essays and the way I coach our clients to bring their content ideas to life.
Teaching two basic concepts helped me to get my students, and now our clients, into the right mental attitude for brainstorming:
Concept #1: Loosen up.
First of all, I encourage you to use an old-fashioned writing utensil and paper if it will help you reduce the clutter in your mind. Sometimes staring at a screen isn’t the best way to get raw ideas out of your head during the brainstorming phase. When I am in the beginning stages of planning a new project, I usually use analog tools because it helps me be loose and flexible about allowing new ideas to flow.
Having too many ideas is easier to fix than having too few. So, consider stretching, taking some deep breaths, making a cup of tea, and grabbing a notebook and pencil to follow along!
Concept #2: Begin with the end in mind.
For website planning, starting from the end result means crafting your calls to action and creating a list of possible keywords before you do anything else.
Calls to Action
To begin, put on your business strategist hat and write a list of words and phrases that describe the WORK your website needs to do for you. Specifically, think about exactly what you would like site visitors to DO as a result of visiting your website, starting with verbs. At first, just list them all out.
Here are some typical possibilities to choose from:
book a session with me
attend my workshop/webinar
visit the restaurant
donate to our fundraiser
review our business on Facebook
sign up for my newsletter
schedule a consultation
contact me for a quote
look at my art portfolio
buy my products
read my blog
follow my business on social media
Now that you have your list of all the possibilities, rank them in order of importance, or how desirable they are as an outcome of someone visiting your website.
Congratulations! You’ve identified your main calls to action: your top choices on this list. All the decisions we make about crafting your website’s user experience (or UX design) depend on this little list of priorities. The secondary calls to action can find a home on your site, too. But the main ones guide our design choices the most.
Another way to begin with the end in mind is to think about what search terms people might use to find you on Google (or one of those other barely-mentionable search engines). Even though our typical packages include some SEO strategy, your input on this is very valuable because you know your business or organization better than anyone.
Brainstorming your keyword list (a list of words and phrases that searchers would use to find you) can also help you create your website’s content. That’s because you’ll perform better in search engines if you use keywords not just in your page descriptions for search engines, but also in your headlines throughout the site.
The term “keywords” could be somewhat misleading because most of the highest-value keywords are actually two- and three-word phrases. There are many articles available online about this alone. You might start by running a Google search on “easy keyword research” or “keyword research basics.”
When you have a list of some of your top keywords, you’ll want to think about working them into your website’s headings and text wherever you can get away with it—without making everything sound like an amateur commercial. We’ll handle writing the page titles and descriptions for you, so don’t worry about that yet. You just need to focus on creating keyword-rich text that puts the things you want search engines to recognize you for as close to the top of your pages as possible, where those clever crawler robots can find them and put you in the right categories to surface in relevant searches.
Here are a few samples from a (much longer) list of keywords that our team recently helped a local professional organizer brainstorm for use in her website planning:
Asheville professional organizer
Moving help in Asheville
New baby preparation
Marie Kondo minimalism
De-clutter kids playroom
Simplify my house
See how these rough ideas could transform into specific headings like, “Call today if you are ready to de-clutter and organize your life,” or a blog post titled, “How to help your aging parents downsize their home and prepare for assisted living”?
Hang onto this list, and treat it like a valuable asset as you write and plan your website’s content.
Coming Soon….. Step 2: Drafting a Site Map!
(Here’s a teaser image for you, made with Bubbl. Click to enlarge and see my completely silly site map example!)
With love and pixel glitter,
The LightPress Team