What is a website strategy?
To understand website strategy is, first we need to understand what a strategy is. Strategy, according to the Cambridge Dictionary is:
“A detailed plan for achieving success in situations such as war, politics, business, industry, or sport, or the skill of planning for such situations.”
This is the same approach you want to take with your website to achieve success. Success for your website depends on what you want or need it to deliver. However, there are many steps and areas you need to review to create a successful strategy.
Why do I need a website strategy?
Without a structured strategy (plan), you cannot ensure you have covered all the tasks and activities you need, to ensure that your website works as well as it should do for your customers, for your goals and your needs. A strategy will help to ensure you check through all the areas needed to create a successful website.
You will need to cover the following areas, understanding the level of importance to you, your customers and your business. You’ll also need to balance these needs, against the needs of the search engines (Internet browsers such as Google or Bing) and their ever-evolving algorithms (ways they review and rank websites and online content).
Here’s a checklist of some of the considerations you’ll need to make when creating your website strategy:
- Market segmentation.
- Finding customers and targeting audiences online.
- Implementing brand strategy to create awareness.
- How to create a significant return on your investment (ROI).
- Supporting your sales and conversion funnel (your customers journey).
- User experience (UX, considering website usability).
- Considering website content that will resonate with your market segments (including blogs, PR and videos).
- Competitor benchmarking.
- Calls to action (including email, phone, forms and chats).
- Advertising and promotion (including PPC and social media).
- Support for offline activities (including print, PR and events).
- Google analytics and insights using other analytical platforms.
All of the above will form part of your overall strategy for the website build, operation and use. The most important thing to remember, is to research all the above and come to your own conclusions. No website, group of customers (segment) or market is the same and will require tailoring to make the most out of your marketing campaign.
The best advise we can offer is to not assume you know the answers. My gran used to say; “To assume makes an ass of u and me” and it’s utterly true. This is part of the reason why we work through our four steps of marketing, and always start with research!
What benefits will my business see from a website strategy?
You’ll hear a lot about “SEO”, but SEO is not the be-all and end-all of creating a successful website. Just pleasing the search engines by focusing on the search engine optimisation (SEO), which helps you rank better via the algorithms, is not necessarily the best thing to do for your website. It’s of course, an important part of your strategy to being “well ranked”, but you need to do that balanced against all the other factors and areas listed above (some which may ironically compromise an algorithm but rank well in spite of this, because you’ve considered your audience and they’ve reacted positively towards it through their engagement with the site).
For example, you may be told your content doesn’t have enough keywords or doesn’t rank well for the Flesch Reading Score. These matter, of course they do, but need to be part of a well balanced equation, considering all the different parts of your website. Most importantly, you need to ensure the website works not for you, but most importantly it works for your clients and users; ultimately the website should be built for their wants and needs.
People are not algorithms. As clever as algorithms are, they are still not the individual humans you are trying to connect with. Therefore, it’s very important to not be solely led by SEO activities.
How do I create a website strategy?
By considering all areas of your website (as outlined above) and conducting the research, checking any assumptions you may have, you can ensure you consider:
- Why you need a website.
- Who your customers are.
- Where you find them.
- What they want from your website.
- How they use your website.
- When they need your website.
This will help you to create a well balanced site, that works for your potential and existing clients and helps create more of the relevant outcomes you want from your site, whether that’s a conversion, engagement or simply brand awareness. Who wouldn’t want that?
If you would like to discuss any of the elements of your own website strategy for free, then please feel free to get in touch here.
What else do I need to know?
There’s plenty of information available on the internet and books that you can access for free, to assist you with website strategies. However, our biggest piece of advice would be to not forget who the website is being designed for. This is not you and your business, it’s for your clients.
It’s unfortunately the case, that many websites are designed to look beautiful rather than to function, or are designed by the internal business or external agency, telling the potential customer what they should want, rather than finding out what the client wants, needs and will use. What’s the point of having a beautiful website, if that isn’t what your clients want or need? Carrying out the necessary research will benefit everybody.
Try and keep the people who will be using and accessing your website, front of mind when creating your website strategy. They should be in your mind, throughout planning and you should ensure the websites right for them.
At Need to Know Marketing we love providing information for SME’s so they can grow. We also understand this work can be time consuming and difficult to begin with. To assist you, we provide a free of charge one hour consultation, where we have an open discussion about your business objectives and what you’re looking to achieve.
Following the consultation we will provide you with a marketing strategy, advising how we recommend meeting your business objectives through marketing. If you are interested in knowing the cost of our services, you can use our calculator as a guide.
“Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.”