Your website is one of your company’s most valuable assets, but to create a website that brings results, you must begin with a rock-solid web strategy. In this post, I will give you part 1 in a step-by-step guide on how to prepare a strategy for your website. The post is based on our project methods for the web, which we use in customer projects.
1. The company’s overall goals with the web strategy solution
Any web strategy must have a goal and the formulation of the objectives should be as accurate as possible. Use enough time so that you get past the very general formulations. Then you should ensure that the objective specified becomes the guideline for all work on the project. A common trap is that when you start planning for the specific measures, so moving one focus there, and the real target gets lost in the candy. Do not fall into that trap.
Examples of stated goals:
Our website will be the foundation for all our external communication and will contribute in such a way that:
- Potential customers will trust us, understand what we can do for them, want to become a customer, and will contact us.
- Existing customers will find good reasons to remain customers
- Employees should be proud to work with us
- Potential employees will want to work here
- The Company obtains and maintains a solid reputation, both within the industry and society in general
2. The main target groups
Who is the website for? Here it is important to think “outside-in”. Consider different methods of segmentation (market, distribution channel, product, needs, interests, size, demographics, etc.) Also consider segmenting the users’ motivation to visit the website (such as “to order”, “to find phone”, “will know more of … “, etc.). Our experience is that this often works well.
In business, markets are particularly important to be conscious of the user’s role in the buying process. Is he/she a champion (your advocate internally), concierge or decision maker?
Think in unconventional ways! In spite of the fact that we often use “Personas,” which is a separate method to describe thought people in the audience. You can read more about how to work with personas in this blog post.
3. The target group’s expectations and your goals for each of them
Three essential prerequisites for successful web strategy, is that your website attracts the appropriate audience, that users experience the website as valuable and that your company achieves its specific objectives against each target audience.
As a rule, it is useful to look at what tasks users want to perform, and their motivation to visit your website. The company needs to clarify what the visitors would like to achieve against each target audience, as precise as possible.
Questions to ask when it comes to the target group’s expectations and goals with their visit:
- What do they think before they go to your website?
- What is their motivation to seek your website?
- How they arrive at your website – [landingpage]?
- How do they think when they come to your website?
- What are they looking for?
- How do you navigate through your website?
- Where they leave the website – [exitpage]?
What goals do you have towards each of your target audience?
- To sell here and now?
- Encouraging for later purchase?
- Get them to contact you?
- Get them to perform some ‘self-service’ so they do not need to contact support?
- To read most of your content?
- Get them to download some free content/product?
4. Identify competitors, suppliers and other relevant users
At this step in the process, it pays to do a survey of websites of other relevant competitors or suppliers. This task can give you a lot of inspiration, both for what you need to do, and what you will do any other way.
Before you visit a website, put yourself in the hypothetical situation as a potential customer, and hold that thought throughout the visit. Remember that customers often know less than the vendor, and like to use simpler words.
The first impression they get when landing on a website is important, so do note your immediate reactions. What worked well and not so well? What made you smile? What made you “click wrongly with your mouse”? What made you misunderstand? etc. Make a list where you specify the complete URL (the address) of the page you are commenting on, and write detailed notes on your thoughts about it.
Get some colleagues and perhaps some customer representatives to do it together, and discuss their notes afterwards.
From this we have often experienced that it gives us very useful guidelines for further work on the home page.
That’s all for this time. In the next post I will look into the content and functionality.
Blogging is just one of the several digital tools I use in my content marketing, which is a marketing philosophy that is ideal for businesses that have the lead generating as the main marketing objective. Another critical tool is to give your visitors an awesome experience when they are visiting your website. Download my free e-book “Winning User Experience (UX)” to learn more about how your business can benefit from having a great website.
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