Website strategy

Website strategy

A good website is much more than a group of attractive pages talking about its owner. To be effective, a website should talk to the visitors in a way that's meaningful and gives them some value. With a good process in place from the very start of a website design and build project, the outcome will deliver much better return on investment.

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Where it starts

At the very beginning of a project we facilitate workshops with key stakeholders. These always include representatives from a range of roles within our clients' organisations, but sometimes also includes members of the intended audience, such as our clients' existing customers and random volunteers who are willing to provide feedback about their needs and goals.

During these workshops we focus on the website's audience and their needs and discuss ways in which the site can most effectively serve them. The outcome is a clear set of objectives that underpin the entire project going forward.

Beginning the customer journey

Once we know what a website's audience members are looking for, we can develop customer journeys that start with the acquisition of the visitor and end with the point at which the visitor is converted by taking action.

The acquisition channels through which visitors first arrive at the site include organic search (eg. clicking a link in Google search results), or via pay-per-click through a paid advert, or a referral from a link in another website, etc.

Visitors arriving through different acquisition sources will often have different needs and expectations, and will arrive on different pages of the site. By anticipating this we can ensure that the likely landing pages capture each visitor's attention instantly.

Navigating the content

Having taken their first steps on the journey, visitors will need to be guided from page to page towards the ultimate conversion goal. At each stage we anticipate the questions they might be wanting to answer and developing ways of showing them how to get those answers.

We use our user experience (UX) design skills and expertise to create calls to action such as buttons or banners around the content that visitors find convenient. When visitors find that the site flows cleanly and clearly they'll remain engaged and moving in the right direction.

Ready to transform your website?

Understanding conversions

Ultimately we want visitors to do something with their visit. We want them to convert from being a casual visitor to being an engaged visitor by taking a specific step. Our clients' objectives, discussed and agreed during the early project stages, may mean that a conversion is the completion of an enquiry form, or an inbound phone call, or the purchase of a product, or signing up to receive newsletters.

Everything depends on how the website fits within each client's overall business and marketing strategies. An online shop wants visitors to buy something. A business with a more complex sales process needs visitors to move along one more step towards an offline deal being agreed.

We always make sure we fully understand what conversions we're targeting when designing and building each website.

Out in the big wide world

A good website should be just one part of a business's marketing assets, and needs to work well with all off the other components. Most companies have a presence on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Many send marketing emails. Some still send out direct mail campaigns (which can be very effective). Lots use pay-per-click advertising through Google to engage with people.

A marketing strategy is most effective when all these assets work together to target potential customers with the right message at the right time. The website is critical to this, often acting as the destination to which other campaign channels drive people, and then providing the conversion mechanism.

It therefore needs to be flexible enough to support each campaign's messaging and branding to ensure a consistent user experience. Visitors landing on the site need to be engaged immediately in a way that seems like a natural extension of what they'd seen from the campaign up to that point.

It's usually not enough to direct someone clicking a sponsored search result or a link in an email to one of the existing pages in a website. The messaging won't be specific enough to encourage them to complete their journey.

Measuring success

So, you've got your shiny new website up and running and everybody's patting each other on the back for a job well done.

But how do you know it's a success? How are you tracking how good it actually is?

Most people have heard about Google Analytics for tracking visitors to a website, but counting the number of visitors to a site is only a tiny part of how a business should monitor success. It's no good getting a million visitors to your website selling widgets if all they actually wanted was videos of kittens.

With a proper strategy in place, you can monitor not just the number of visitors, but how they use the site, how they interact with it, whether they're following the journeys you've planned out for them, and whether the right people are completing the right conversions.

Storm12 can help you get this strategy in place with our digital marketing services.

Review and improve

Too many businesses get their website live, tick the box, and then leave it untouched for years. We've all seen sites whose most recent news article was several years ago.

Those websites will get left behind the competition very quickly, dropping down the search results as Google starts to consider them out of date, and they won't do their job attracting customers.

A good website should deliver return on investment for many years if it's reviewed regularly and well maintained. If you get the monitoring right you should be able to spend your time and budget focusing on the right kinds of improvements and avoid wasting resources.

Of course, if your website isn't built with a flexible underlying platform you might be limited in what you can achieve. For this reason it's a good idea to consider a bespoke website if you want it to last a long time. Talk to Storm12 to find out more!

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