How to Create an Outline for Your New Website

Before working on a new website for your business, one of your top priorities should be understanding the basic outline of our site.

Understanding the basic outline and overall flow of your site is just as important as the design.

This step can be taken on your own or if you’re working with a copywriter you might want to first get some basic ideas down on pen and paper and save the final brainstorming for your first conversation together.

The first question to ask yourself is:

What’s the number one goal of your website?

Sure, there are going to be a lot of goals and a lot of different functions throughout your site. And the site will certainly serve many purposes, but you want to get clear on that number ONE goal of your website.

  • What do you want to accomplish with your site?
  • What do you want your website visitors to DO when they get to your site?
  • What’s that top priority?

Most of my clients are service-providers, so if that’s the same for you my recommendation would be to steer all of your visitors to inquiring about your services or jumping on your email list.

More times than not, in a service-based profession, you’re not making a quick sale. You’re building a relationship. That will then hopefully lead to a sale after some nurturing. So you’d start that relationship by inviting them to join your list. {more on that later}

Then, after you’re clear on the primary action, you’ll want to think about the bare bones of your site.

You’ll probably want something similar to the following pages:

  • Home
  • About
  • Services
  • Blog
  • Contact

Then under Services, maybe you’ll also want 3 tiers of services that might lead to 3 new pages that aren’t in your navigation menu but accessible via a button once you reach your services page.

Maybe your About section invites them to a strategy session call. Maybe the Contact page does the same.

I recommend keeping the number of pages to a minimum. Less is always more. But you also want to make sure you’re granting your audience enough information, too. It’s a balance.

Also, remember pages aren’t set in stone either. You can add, tweak, merge, and remove pages as you and your business evolve. But I always recommend erring on the side of simplicity.

And then just as you decided on a number one goal for your site, you’ll want to get clear on the goal of each page.

Ask yourself, what action do you want your web visitors to take when they land to each page?

Your website visitors are begging for clear direction on where to go and what to do on your website.

Simplifying your site and your visitors’ experience is vital. They want you to steer them in the right direction. And it’s your job (or your web designer’s) to do it strategically.

  • Imagine, if you’re trying to grow your list but you only have one subscription form on your site that’s hard to find.
  • Imagine, if you’re trying to book strategy sessions, but web visitors can’t find the sign-up form.
  • Imagine, you’re a brick and mortar business but it’s difficult to find your physical location.

All of the above results in your potential customers and clients getting frustrated and going back to Google or the world of Facebook groups to the next referral.

If you’re feeling a smidge overwhelmed with this step, that’s okay. There’s a lot to think about here.

It really all comes down to 3 simple questions:

  1. What’s the number one goal of your website?
  2. What are the pages you’d like on your website?
  3. What’s the goal of each of those pages? How are these pages going to support your overall goal?

When you’re creating your outline, don’t worry about what’s on each of these pages. This is really just a 30,000-foot aerial view of the site to get things going.

Don’t forget, this outline will shift and evolve as your business does, so start simple and give it permission to evolve over time.

Katie O'Brien

Hey there, I'm Katie!

I'm a brand designer, website developer + mama of two. I create digital presences that help interior designers simplify business growth, regain time, and bring peace of mind to everyday life. Let me show you how fun + rewarding a great brand can be.