In this article, I discuss the two ways to organize information on your website: by topic or by visitor. Once you have made that decision, you need to start expanding into a more complete plan of the site content.
Create a one-page plan in Word
It is best to see the entire site on one page if you can, so that you can make sure everything has been included and you can easily move content around if you need to. I have found that one easy way to create your site plan is to use a landscape Word document.
Insert a table on the page with two rows and as many columns as needed for the number of categories you wrote down when you decided on the method of organizing. In the first row, put one category in each column. Add a column for a category that has more information about you or your company (an About Us category).
In the second row for each column, list the specific pages you will have in that category. You can use bullets under a page if you need to have a hierarchy of pages in that category.
Here is an example of the site plan when I started this site.
Determine what is necessary to launch & expect changes
In any project, it is likely that there is more content than you have time, resources, or money to initially complete. In your plan, note which pages or sections are critical to be done now and which will be left to later. This is a decision that must be made carefully, as some pages or sections are crucial for visitors and some are interlinked.
Depending on when you are reading this article, I may or may not have completed all the content in my initial outline and I have added or modified what I thought would go in each category. This is normal and expected. You can update your outline whenever you get new ideas that you think will better serve your audience.
Decide on SEO data for each key page
For each key page, write out the page title, description, keywords, heading, and an outline of the content. This will help in focusing each key page and the overall site. It also helps in implementation because your site will launch with the key search engine elements already built in. (An upcoming article explains more about these important elements of each key page on your site.)