Every business should invest in building a strong website strategy. I cannot understate the importance of having a great website for your organization and/or brand. In marketing, perception is reality. A flat, static online presence that only communicates in one direction without segmentation does not reflect well for a brand. I have seen so many organizations with no website or a TERRIBLE website, even organizations with thousands of employees making hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue! A website is the anchor for your digital marketing efforts. For this reason, one of the first steps I always take with a potential client is to assess their website. Here are some key statistics to put things into perspective for both business-to-consumers (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) companies:
- 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive. (Adobe, 2015)
- 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases. (AdWeek, 2014)
- 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product when conducting a search on their smartphone. (Google, 2015)
- 71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search. (Google, 2015)
- 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles. (WordStream, 2016)
- 50% of local searches lead mobile visitors to visit stores within one day. (Google, 2014)
- 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases. (Search Engine Land, 2014)
These statistics scream to the point that having a strong website is fundamental to establishing strong digital marketing strategies. So without further ado, here are my 10 tips to building a website strategy:
10 Tips to Help You Build a Great Website Strategy
1. Define What Your Target Customer Looks Like
Taking time to define your audience segments among your various business lines using qualitative and quantitative data will help you define your digital marketing strategy in targeting efforts, especially when building profiles to target via advertising. Buyer Persona creation is an important starting point for all online marketing efforts, allowing you to properly tailor your marketing programs for each potential customer segment.
In the past, I have created personas from data extracted from Google Analytics data (Done much more easily when you have a brand that has significant traffic already accomplishing Analytics “Goals” that you have set up already). If you don’t have this data, you can create a survey and ask your customers to complete it (you can offer an incentive to do so). Here is a sample template from HubSpot to help you create questions that will get you valuable information for your buyer personas.
Once you have the data, now what? Start analyzing it! I recommend using a simple program like Excel to extrapolate commonalities in the data via Pivot Tables. Here is a very simple example (A real persona would be more in depth, but this will give you a good summary) that I created for a presentation at University of Miami some years ago:
2. Establish Your Top 3-5 Goals and Order Them in Priority
It’s important to know why you’re building a website in the first place. Having a website strategy that includes clearly defined goals is key to setting yourself up for success. Are you trying to increase leads or sales for your products? Which products are most important? Are you trying to increase your search engine optimization (SEO)? Are you trying to convert a higher percentage of visitors to your site to leads? Taking time to think about these questions can help you have purpose when building your website strategy.
3. Determine Your Branding Strategy
Establishing your brand identity is a critical step in connecting with your target audience and positioning your business effectively in the market. The word “brand” to a lot of people means, logo. It goes much further than that. In my recent post, I highlighted 6 components of a brand strategy:
- A Brand’s Purpose
- A Brand’s Positioning
- A Brand’s Promise
- A Brand’s Beliefs
- A Brand’s Personality
- A Brand’s Book Cover
4. Create a Site Map with your Goals Top of Mind
A site map is just a fancy word that means a structure that you build before you build the site. While there are professional programs out there to help you build a site map for your website strategy, you can create one in simple software such as Excel. In my site maps, I include the hierarchy of the pages on my site. I include SEO keywords (more on that later), individual page structure, and even copy. A site map is a very nice tool to get organized before you actually launch the build of your site.
5. Research Keywords in Your Industry that Customers Search For
Every industry, no matter how obscure it is, has keywords in search engines that people search for. Choosing the right keywords for your website strategy is a critical step. My recommendations for choosing keywords:
- Find keywords with at least 200 searches per month, less than 2000 searches per month (to start).
- Find keywords that aren’t overly competitive.
- Find keywords that have a cost per click (for Google AdWords). These words are good indicators that your competition is gaining leads or sales from this keyword.
- Find keywords that are in your industry or related to your industry. You don’t want to be targeting the wrong types of customers. There may be nice complimentary words that you can target to bring the right customer type to your pages.
6. Write Copy that Gives you Great On-Page SEO
After you’ve found your keywords for your website strategy, it’s important to optimize the copy for those keywords. Here are some tips:
- Write at least 300 words (try to aim for 1000+. This post has over 1600 words).
- Make sure your keyword density is appropriate. Don’t go overboard, you don’t want to make it appear to Google that you are packing in your keywords unnaturally.
- Write a meta title that includes your keyword.
- Write a meta description that includes your keyword.
- Don’t optimize multiple pages on your website for the same keyword.
7. Build a Professional Looking and Functioning Website on All Devices
Building a professional website is critical. Brands or companies with sub par sites do their brand image a major disservice. Quality should be a top priority to give the perception that your products/services are also top quality. With so many people now using mobile devices and tablets, it’s critical to make sure that your website properly responds to different browser sizes and types. It’s imperative to design a website that is responsive.
In addition to how your website looks, your website strategy should be one that functions properly. Make sure all your links are clickable, all your forms work properly, and all your pages load correctly. Very few things frustrate users more than a non-functioning site.
I’d also recommend that you hire a professional (unless you can code). In my opinion, you get what you pay for. A cookie cutter site that costs 15 dollars a month most likely will not reflect well for your brand. Did I mention quality? Pay money to get it professionally designed.
8. Create Web Pages as Landing Pages
In my website strategy, I like to think that each page is a “landing page.” In other words, I want each page to have the ability to stand alone if needed. This can be very useful if you start advertising, start using email marketing campaigns, and other campaigns. Here are key components I like to include on my website pages:
- Header image.
- H1 Title in the header image, or just below.
- A purpose why a person should be on that site. Do I want their email address? Do I want them to buy something? Don’t make them have to spend time searching all over your site, organize your content appropriately.
- A call to action (CTA) button above the fold (the area people see without scrolling). I typically include at least 2 CTA’s on each page, top and bottom.
- Essential information broken up by images, bullets, etc. Make it interesting to the reader, not just a solid block of text.
9. Create an Analytics Strategy
Creating an analytics strategy in your website strategy is important for several reasons. It’s important see how your campaigns are going, how each page is performing, and to be able to make data-driven decisions. I’d recommend building “Goals” in Google Analytics and setting up Google Tag Manager to track events happening on your website. You can then see key demographic/psychographic information on those who are accomplishing your goals.
10. Test, Test, Test
Improving rarely happens quickly. You should take the Jim Harbaugh strategy:
“Better today than yesterday. Better tomorrow than today.” -Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Wolverines Football Head Coach
It’s important to continue testing different aspects of your site. For example, try a blue CTA button one month, then try a green CTA botton (depending on your brand colors of course). All things won’t be exactly equal but it will give you a great idea of the click-through rate during a given time period. Setting up A/B tests is a great simple way to slowly improve. Once you know that the red button has a better CTR than the green button, change all your buttons to red and measure the success of those compared to the the green. Multivariate testing is another great test to use, but you’ll most likely need special software for that.
So those are my top 10 components to help you build a great website strategy. I would love to hear your questions or comments below. If you’re looking to get help building your website strategy, I’d love to talk with you!
The Bart Organization is an Internet Marketing company that helps businesses of all sizes either start digital marketing strategies or improve their current digital marketing efforts. Anthony specializes in creating internet marketing services including: Social media marketing strategy, email marketing strategy, digital advertising strategy, search engine optimization strategy, and website strategy. We also perform SEO West Palm Beach, Miami SEO, and Fort Lauderdale SEO for clients. Contact us today to see how we can help!
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