Naturally Planning Your Website
Every website starts with an idea. It could be a business, a class, a wedding, something you want to promote or just something you want to tell the world. While we can make creating your website crazy easy, sometimes its the part that leads up to it that's difficult. I'm talking about planning.
Getting Things Done
If you haven't read Getting Things Done by David Allen, then do your life a favor and pick up a copy. This bestseller goes through techniques for managing all the stuff we have to do every day. The main gist of the GTD philosophy is that if you record and organize everything you need to do, it will clear your mind and allow you to focus on the next action. We're not going to talk about the GTD method, rather something from the book that caught my interest
The Natural Planning Model
In the book David talks about The Natural Planning Model, or the way our brains plan for things when we don't even realize it. This applies to the most simple things such as brushing your teeth or going to the movies all under the hood. Here are the 5 Steps.
- Purpose and Principles (The Why)
- Outcome/Vision (The What)
- Brainstorm (The How)
- The Next Action
Let's break these down and apply them to a simple scenario, going to the movies. The purpose of going to the movies is clear; to have a good time, maybe learn something, get out of the house, etc. You use your principles to narrow your choice; what's interesting, what's offensive, when's a good time?
Once you've decided to go you envision about what it will be like. Is the movie going to be funny? Will there be loud people there? Maybe I'll run into somebody I know.
At this point you start to brainstorm how you're actually going to get to the movie. Should we invite the Huffmans? Are we going to sneak in some snacks? We should by tickets online ahead of time. Need to get gas on the way.
Eventually you have to organize all of these thoughts into a formal plan and ultimately it all comes down to the next action. What's the first thing you have to do to get this process started and get to the show?
When we're not thinking about it we typically use this model, however when people sit down to "Plan" something bigger it doesn't always go this way.
From the Book...
"Mrs. Williams, my fourth-grade teacher, had to teach us about organizing our thinking (it was in her lesson plan). We were going to learn to write reports. But in order to write a well-organized, successful report, what did we have to write first? That's right -- an outline!"
Sometimes you jump into the middle of the process before you go through the necessary steps.
The Point Please?
The point of all of this is that in order to have a successful website, sometimes you need to make sure you put in the proper planning. Go through these steps and you'll have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish as well as the steps you need to take to make it happen.
Lets go through the steps again, applying them to a website.
Step 1 - Purpose and Principles (The Why) - What's the purpose of your site? Are you promoting a business? Trying to start a community? Just showing off? What principles will you incorporate? Only quality content? Are you dedicated to updating it frequently?
The Why is very important. Defining the purpose gives you a barometer for success, aligns people around you to a common goal, and expands your options. Clearly define your purpose and always keep it in mind as you go forward.
Step 2 - Outcome/Vision (The What) - As David says "Envision Wild Success". Picture what it would be like to have the things you're striving for. What does your website look like? Who are your visitors? This helps you see what the end goal is.
Step 3 - Brainstorm (The How) - This is where you open up your brain and dump everything out. Everything. Use a technique like Mind Mapping to start the flow of ideas. How do you want to organize your site? Are you going to blog? How can you use Social Media to promote your site? Have you thought about Branding? How are you going to get on Google? Do you have a domain name?
When you brainstorm, no idea is a bad idea, you just want to get everything down on paper. Once you start getting the initial ideas out of your head, new ideas will pop in.
Step 4 - Organize - Once you've completely flushed your brain of ideas you need to start organizing these thoughts into actionable components. What are the actions? Start a website, take pictures, write blog posts, design the website, start a Facebook page, etc.
Step 5 - The Next Step - Well, the next step is to Create a Website.
We all get excited when we get an idea and want to get our hands dirty right away, but doing the proper planning and using the proper techniques can not only save you time but make your website much more successful. We hope this improves your website making with Doodlekit!