Why have a website strategy
While web design may play a central role in moving your lead down the sales funnel, you first need to consider your website strategy as your GPS in guiding your activities on your journey to creating an effective website which converts visitors to leads which translate into sales. This means looking at exactly what you want to achieve with your website and developing a plan to implement these objectives.
What should be included in a website strategy
We take a look at 5 essential elements of a website strategy needed to create an online hub which effectively achieves your business goals.
1 – Establishing the goals and objectives for your website
As with any journey, you need to establish your destination right from the get-go. This is your what, why and how for your website strategy:
- What do you want to achieve with your website? (also known as: what actions do you want your visitor to do on the site.)
- Why do you want to achieve this? (aka, the underlying reason for these actions such as creating a database for email marketing.)
- How are you going to achieve this? (aka, how will you motivate the visitor to take these actions. This may be achieved by offering an opportunity to download a free eBook on a relevant subject of interest to your visitor or getting your visitor to sign up for your weekly newsletter.)
Goals are specific to a brand’s products and services. So, as an example a marketing website such as Kissmetrics will have goals like generating more qualified leads, increasing lead conversion through various call-to-action buttons, dedicated design and strategic content.
A company providing a service may have a goal such as getting visitors to sign up. Online graphics interface provided by Canva invites users to create a free account. Users can then engage with the site at no cost, paving the way for users to get more creative tool via the option to upgrade to a paying account.
All websites have a conversion goal of some kind. This can include anything from completing an online sale to submitting a contact form, sign up to a blog, making a booking, creating an account with login details to completing a transaction and anything else in between.
2 – Research
Creating a website doesn’t happen in a vacuum. You need to check out your competitors to see their website structure and content. While it’s a good idea to look locally at those businesses similar to yours, it can also be helpful to look at similar brand abroad to possibly get additional ideas.
As your offering and products will overlap in some ways with similar businesses, it can be an interesting exercise to see how they present this content – see what you think is working or can be improved from a visitor’s perspective.
This type of research provides a starting point from which to develop your own ideas for a website that is efficient, innovative and which differentiates your brand.
3 – Analyse the effectiveness of your current website
If you already have a website up and running, then you can use it to establish whether or not the website is helping to achieve your brand objectives. Analyse the website’s areas of strengths and weaknesses as a starting point for what aspects can be enhanced or replaced. Take note of all elements from page speed and responsiveness to ease of use and design.
Establish how your user is interacting with your webpages. This can be done with marketing tools, using Google Analytics as a starting point to gain more insights on which pages are getting more traffic or are more successful when it comes to converting.
Additionally, get someone who is not familiar with the site to ‘test drive’ it. This can be done by giving the person a particular objective such as ‘finding the price for a specific product or service’ and taking note of how the person interacts with the site and the ease with which the information is discovered. This exercise is useful in gaining insight into the user’s experience of your website, enabling you to make the necessary adjustments to enhance this experience and in turn, the effectiveness in achieving your website objectives.
4 – Target Market
For whom are you creating the website? Understanding your target market and defining your ideal buyer and visitor dictates the design and layout of your website.
If you need to refine your understanding of your market, then look at your current customers for insights. What problems are you solving for them? What are their needs? How does your product add to their lifestyle or business?
Drill down further by noting information such as age, gender, income and interests. You can also take a look at your competition to see who is buying their products and services.
Understand your customers holistically by getting to know their buying behaviour, what their needs may be, what motivates them emotionally, their interests, attitudes and values.
From here, a good designer can start to create impactful page templates to accommodate the personalities and requirements of your website visitors.
5 – Design as an element of strategy
Website strategy brings in design as a key player in achieving a brand’s objectives. This is the ‘how’ of your website strategy. For example:
Establish a database
- Highlight the ‘About Page’ in navigation menu so that it stands out from the other menu tabs
- Design the ‘About Page’ in line with your audience’s values and interests. So, if your audience likes feminine touches, you may perhaps have an image of flowers or friendship. If your audience is for an art gallery, you may have bright colours or visuals of the current exhibition.
- A pop-up form can appear as visitor moves down the web page. The visitor needs to fill in this form in order to receive a ‘free eBook’ and/or you could insert a brightly coloured call-to-action to ‘sign-up for a free eBook’. If a pop-up is going to be used, be sure to have this unobtrusively and tastefully.
Other design elements such as colour, typography and more, can also be used to guide the visitor to take action and achieve your website goals in service to the larger goals of your business.
As a pivotal element in internet marketing, your website acts as the central online hub of your business. Using design components such as calls-to-action, colours and white space, helps to move your visitor seamlessly further along the sales funnel.
Website strategy plays a vital role in building a relationship of trust with your visitor, encouraging the visitor to take the necessary action in order to build the business further.
As the brand is a continuously evolving entity, website strategy needs to remain in a constant state of flow, as a dynamic entity which is monitored and tweaked to maximise its effectiveness as a vehicle to convert website traffic into leads and sales.