Please Note: These are only a few of the critical steps to perform before starting a Joomla website. Also, these are not listed in any particular order.
1. Define Your Audience & Their Needs
Identifying your target audience for your products or services of your website is the first critical step in starting a Joomla website. It's important that you know as much as possible about this audience. The more you know, the better you can understand how to develop the site around them and their needs which will lead to higher conversions and a more successful website.
2. Associated Solutions and Underlying Benefits
After defining your audience and their needs, you then need to establish what products or services provide solutions for your customer needs. Additionally, identify the underlying benefits customers will have after the solution.
For example: You're a dentist who has identified your target audience as individuals within a 15 mile radius who have a need of teeth whitening. Your solution you provide is a cutting edge treatment that can whiten teeth in less time. The underlying benefits of your solution are improved confidence, happier lifestyle and improved self-image.
Understanding the needs, solutions and underlying benefits will help you design, create copy and layout the wireframe that will successfully convert visitors.
3. Establish S.M.A.R.T Goals
Now that you have identified the needs, solutions and underlying benefits, you can start to establish S.M.A.R.T goals of your website. What are you trying to accomplish on your website and how does that translate into metrics.
When evaluating your website goals, make sure they are:
- S - pecific
- M - easureable
- A - ttainable
- R - elevant
- T - imely
Establishing goals in advance will help give you a clear vision of how to layout the wireframes effectively and how to measure the success of the website after its launch.
4. Create a Personality and Mesh with Your Branding
Each website has its own personality that it establishes with the visitors and it is important to create this personality before starting any of the design work or copywriting. Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help you establish your website's personality:
- What types of emotions do we want visitors to feel when arriving on our website?
- If your website was a car, what car would it be and why? Mercedes, Honda, VW?
- If your website was a celebrity, who would it be and why?
Once you have the personality of the website established, you have to mesh it with the company branding. Make sure to keep the branding of the website consistent with the rest of your company branding and marketing. Consistency will help develop and establish your brand in the mind of the consumers.
5. Create Wireframes and Refine
Before starting any design or development on your Joomla website, you should take the time to plan out an effective layout of every single page of the site. Start with creating the home page and one interior page wireframe and base your positioning on the customer needs, your solutions, the website's goals and the required functionality.
Once you have what you feel is a solid first draft of wireframes for every page on your website, share them with the rest of your team and with the client. Gain valuable insight based on their feedback and work to improve them for a second draft.
These are just some of critical ideas to review before even installing Joomla or thinking about development. As exciting as it can be to jump right into installing Joomla and getting going on developing the site, it is extremely critical to go through a strong planning and strategy phase beforehand. The more planning and strategy that can be established in the onset, the smoother the rest of the design and development process will be and the more likely the website will be successful.