How to Build Your Website in Phases | Captain Coder

How to Build Your Website in Phases

Marisa VanSkiver / November 15, 2021

planning for a website in phases

Do you want to know the biggest roadblock I see my clients face?

They have grand plans for their online presence, but they don’t necessarily have the funds to do it all at once.

That’s perfectly fine! In fact, depending on how new your business is, I often recommend approaching a website in phases. Want to know how we do that?

We take it in phases!

Decide on Your Objectives

The first thing you have to decide on is your objectives for building your website. Luckily for you, I broke down that entire process just a couple of weeks ago. But as a quick refresher, you need to know exactly what you want to get out of your website and why you’re building it in the first place.

When you know what you want your website to do, it’s a lot easier to decide how you want to break things up and what you need to do first.

With setting and deciding on objectives and goals, you want to focus on direct revenue-generating and indirect revenue-generating items. Some of those indirect items will mean that you’re able to build up your long-term strategies better, so keep that in mind.

How to Decide on Phases

When I’m working with a client and we know we want to phase things a bit to fit their budget better, I’ll go through a series of questions. Let’s break these down a bit and get you thinking:

  • How new is your business? Are you brand new or have you been around for a couple years? Five? More?
  • What do you need out of this website to generate revenue for the next phases?
  • What’s generating revenue for you now?
  • What are some of your long-term goals? What do you want to do with your website in a year? Two?
  • What do you need more time to plan out?
  • What do you need to build up your audience to make realistic?

All of these will help me figure out where a business is and what they might need first in order to get to phase 2, 3, or 4. Frankly, some of my clients aren’t always ready to do the whole project upfront either. They need time to build up their following, email list, or content strategy to truly make those phases effective.

How New is Your Business?

For newer businesses, too, I often don’t recommend going whole hog on a first website. It might sound counter-productive to my own business model, but I honestly recommend a smaller website or even single-page website upfront. That’s because a lot of things will change in your first year in business and you’ll inevitably grow in ways that you don’t expect. Often what I’ll do is help a client create that single-page website and then we’ll evaluate after a year and start expanding it out.

What Do You Need to Grow?

The first phase of a website rebuild should be, however, whatever you need to grow your business. That can be focusing on your best revenue generators or adding in a new service that will drive a better ROI. You want to focus on what you absolutely have to have in order to grow because that’s exactly how you get to build other phases of your website.

What Are Your Long-Term Goals?

Another thing to focus on is where you want to grow to. Do you want to eventually add an online course to your business model? Or create a group coaching program? Or add in a new product to your business that requires some investment? Those long term goals help to determine what your phase 2 might look like.

For instance, I have a client I’m working with right now that has an eCommerce component to her website. We want to improve her website and the entire buying experience so she can increase her sales and generate more revenue. That’s phase 1 of her website. Phase 2 involves her long-term goal of building up a paid-for community and membership program. Because a membership portion of a website can be more costly, we’re waiting on that until we’ve generated the revenue needed to invest back into that. The membership is another revenue generator, so it’s worth the later investment, but it’s all about realism.

Knowing your long-term goals can also help you plan. Not everyone is going to be ready to launch their online course even though they want that in the future. But knowing that’s in your future plans help to build your website correctly for that future expansion. At least for me, it means I set up the website a little differently.

Done is Better than Perfect

Building a website in phases can help you to start building your business without taking on more expenses than you can actually handle. After all, a website for your business is an investment in your business. It’s not magic, but it can do a lot to help you grow your business. It needs to generate some ROI and prove itself before you dig into something huge and massive. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of someone going into debt for months or years to get a website. Building it in phases can make it far more affordable and allows the website to grow as your business does.

But another thing to keep in mind is that with digital and your website especially, done is better than perfect. Having a website of any kind is better than having no website at all. Having a single-page website is better than having a massive website that needs to be completely scrapped in a year because your business didn’t go the way you expected.

Don’t ever believe that you have to have the “perfect” website right out the gate. Think about the phases you can approach your website and it’ll grow at the reasonable rate that helps your business rather than hurts it.

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