What is website strategy? Well, put simply, it is the planning that goes on behind every element of your website which ultimately helps to achieve your goals. Whilst individual goals will be different for each brand, the planning or the strategy can start from the same place. Whether your goal is to educate, to sell or to gain virality you can start from the same point which begins in answering the question: Why Do I Have A Website?
You might be surprised at how many businesses have gone ahead and built a website without actually knowing the answer to this question. In their hurry to get online with a beautiful site they have forgotten the reason why they needed one in the first place. Developing a good website strategy at the beginning is important because it will shape everything that you do later from the design through to the content and the promotional activities you undertake so let’s look at three basic examples of website strategy.
If your website is there to educate visitors then your strategy needs to focus on relevant, educational and informative material. However, an educational site may still have an end goal. Do you just want to provide education or do you want to gain clients? Don’t get so caught up in providing great educational content that you forget the reason why you are doing it in the first place. An educational site with an underlying intention to convert visitors should have very clear call to action points such as “Enquire Now”, “Get a Free Trial” or “Request a Call Back”. The educational tools that you provide such as free ebooks, video tutorials, blogs and webinars should be consistently driving clients towards your end goal. Your blog pieces should be engaging enough that visitors want to take the next step towards becoming your client. Answering visitor questions by providing fresh, informative and interesting content which drives business is a great educational strategy.
If your website has an online store or a downloadable product then your strategy must focus on making that happen without utilising a hard sell which can be very off putting. Yes you want visitors to go straight to your store and spend lots of cash but how are you going to make that happen? You must first understand your clients and what drove them to seek out your site in the first place. You must then understand the thought process that takes them from simply being a site visitor to a buyer. Will they be tempted with a special discount code or are they more interested in your reputation and a quality product? Your site should contain all the information your visitors need about your products so they do not need to look elsewhere. This may include videos, testimonials, product ratings, different payment options, an easy shopping cart and full details of all the products you are selling. You must answer any questions your visitors have such as price – are you the cheapest for that product? Do you offer a guarantee? What are your delivery times and prices? Consider the websites that you like to purchase from and ask yourself why you do. Is it because their site is clean and reliable, because they offer great product information or because the purchasing system is easy? Establishing yourself as the authority for your product or service and providing relevant content reassures visitors and inspires them to buy – this is a great selling strategy
Many websites are aiming for virality (the fast spreading of a message). Websites aiming for virality may be those hosting an event, launching a product, promoting a celebrity or aiming to spread a message. If your strategy is to go viral then your website must provide reasons for visitors to start sharing. Great viral ingredients often include funny or heartwarming videos, sharable blog pieces, special offers or visually stunning graphics, so you will need to think about the content on your site. When it comes down to virality, look at the way other brands have successfully achieved it. If you are hosting a big event it could be that you need to employ a mysterious countdown which builds suspense, speculation and excitement before revealing the nature of the event. If you are launching a product then perhaps you want to consider a limited number of discount codes to encourage visitors to share with friends. Carefully consider the type of visitors you want to attract to your site and the type of material they will then be inspired to share on their own networks. It goes without saying that you should provide all the necessary sharing tools to enable your message to go viral such as share options, social media sites and branded content. Providing content that is irresistible and compels visitors to hit “share” is a great strategy for virality.
At Design Fox, we build beautiful, functional websites which reflect your vision but before we can do that we need to understand your strategy and ultimately your goals. Success means something different for every brand and it all starts with you understanding what that means and in turn answering the question, “Why Do I Have A Website?”
For more information on website strategy don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Design Fox team.