The Blueprint to Building a Website
Before you (or your agency) begin a new website, you should first determine the structure. In website design, we call this structure the wireframe. The wireframe lays out all of the pages and content that belong on your website.
A website’s wireframe is much like a home’s blueprint. Like blueprints, the wireframe is referenced throughout the build. Without a blueprint, you might end up with a house without a front door—that wouldn’t make sense to visitors or the homeowner! Likewise, on a website, you wouldn’t create a contact page that didn’t include your phone number, email address, or location. Staring with a strong wireframe streamlines the website buildout and helps determine the list of upfront content and photography needs.
When working with our clients, we start with an in-depth meeting called a Discovery Session. During this session, we ask about a million and one questions about their company's audience, goals, and desired website features. Once we have a deep understanding of how visitors will use their website and what information they are looking for, we are ready to create the wireframe.
We love to begin this process by writing down all of the obvious pages (About, Contact, Services) and existing website pages on individual notecards. Then, we add in the pages that our clients didn’t necessarily know they needed, but expressed an interest for in our Discovery Session. We take these notecards and shuffle them about, creating page hierarchy, condensing similar pages, and finalizing the navigation.
We complete this wireframing process with the mindset of the end user. What will make sense to a first-time website visitor? How can we direct the user to inquire about our client's services or to purchase a product? The wireframe is intended to answer these questions and guide website visitors to take a specific action, whether that be completing a form or making a purchase.
Once we have a clear wireframe in place, we digitalize it and present it to our client for approval before beginning the website’s design and build. Throughout the website build, we reference the wireframe to ensure we are achieving our goals and completing all of the intended pages.
What pages will you include on your website's wireframe? If you have any questions or want us to audit your site’s structure, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!