Last week we talked about how planning is the most important part of building a website. Now let’s talk about the most important part of planning: your core strategy.
If you are reading this blog, it means that you have already decided about developing a website of your own. You may know a lot of things related to website development or you might be a layman who wants to design and develop a website on his own. A clear strategy can do wonders for your website.
What is a Core Website Strategy?
A core strategy states the purpose of your site and defines how to measure success. It remains the same throughout the website’s lifetime. It should touch on all the aspects of your site such as target market, technology, design, content, analytics, etc.
The basic or core strategy provides a plan of action. Add as many details as possible. You should add even the smallest need in the core strategy. Divide it into as many sub-sections as needed to cover each of your smaller goals. Be sure to clarify how you will measure success in each of your sub-categories.
Crafting your core strategy is the most difficult part of building your site, but it’s worth it. A well-built core website strategy simplifies almost every decision you will make for your website.
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Establish Goals and Give a Purpose to your Website
A clear goal is very important to develop a clear strategy for your website. The goal should as per the business strategy of your company. It can vary from selling a product to providing a service or blogging to spread information.
Ask the following questions:
- What is my goal?
- Why would a user come to my website?
- What should I have on my website so that a user returns again and again?
Finding answers to the questions mentioned above can help in setting your goals.
If you are redesigning your website, ask yourself “Why am I redesigning my website? What is the purpose behind it?” The following are just a few reasons to build a website, and you don’t have to limit yourself to only one:
- Sell things online (aka e-commerce)
- Disseminate information (blogs, podcasts, vlogs, photo galleries, etc.)
- Brand building
- Marketing your products
- Explain your products and services
- Celebrate or Memorialize a moment, a person, or an idea
There are hundreds of reasons to build a website. Each purpose has specific challenges and will need specific solutions to match. These solutions help in formulating the core strategy of your website.
Research: Deep dive and Gather all the Information
Perform extensive research about your website’s industry, its competitors, and challenges. The more you learn and understand them, the better. Pay special attention to how you can stand out among other like websites.
The first thing is to understand and find who your audience is. Understand their gender, age, qualification, profession, interests, habits… you should collect as much data as possible. This helps later on when you define your target market.
Your research should cover both the qualitative as well as quantitative aspects.
The qualitative research covers case studies of various leaders in the industry. These leaders are your competitors. Study the challenges faced they faced when they were growing and their solutions and you will fast-forward your own site’s growth.
It always makes sense to learn from the mistakes of others. You can also implement strategies that your competitors used to overcome a tricky situation.
Quantitative research is the gathering of measurable data, often referred to as “metrics”. Gather statistics and data related to the industry and your competitors. There’s a lot of data available on the internet and thorough research can yield some powerful intel.
Analyze your Research and Come up with Insights
Now that you have researched your industry in detail, leverage it. The analysis of this information will help you in understanding how things work. Look for competitor blind spots and under-served niches in your market.
Use the information you’ve collected from the web, surveys, competitors, and third-party websites to craft a rough plan.
Pro Tip: Enterprise-class companies often publish case studies tackling the challenges you are facing. Find those and take advantage of them when you can. It may allow you can also generate better ideas and improve your results sooner.
You should also have a look at the industry standards. It is good to make ambitious plans but formulating a highly optimistic plan with limited resources can never be a good website strategy. An insight into the industry statistics will help you in deciding the milestone and timeframe to reach that milestone.
Another Tip: If you already have a website but it is not fulfilling your business demands, gather your analytics and talk to a conversion expert. They can often see opportunities in your data that you’re missing. (Hint: we can help.)
Now Develop a Core Website Strategy
Once you’ve done your homework, it’s time to develop your final website strategy. Decide your website’s design, the type of content, tone, sales pitch, etc. in this phase.
This phase is important because you have to decide your funnel as well. A funnel is a path that a user can take to become your customer. Everything on your website should be used to fulfill your ultimate goal. This is critical, so I’ll say it another way. If anything on your site does not serve the core strategy, remove it. It’s a distraction and may deter users from conversion.
For example, if you have an e-commerce site, don’t include a picture of your Yorky unless you’re selling it.
Emotional Momentum and Sales Conversion
There are many different theories about the stages of customer conversion. You’ll need to decide which one works for you, but remember what’s it’s all about — emotional momentum. If done right, your funnel will build up a feeling in your customers that they need your product.
It’s shocking how many websites fail to convert motivated customers, so do your site a favor: make it easy. Every action you ask of your users diminishes their emotional momentum (clicking, scrolling, reading, inputting, checking email…). So make user success easy, or build in a lot of emotional spurs to keep people going.
Start by creating awareness about the product followed by developing interest. Once users become interested, they can persuade them to consider your services or products. Your chances of conversion increase significantly if a user begins considering your product.
Be Warned: There Can Not Be Only One Website Strategy
You thought that was it? Happily, no. Your website strategy should never stop changing. At least once every year, you and your web team (click here, to find a great web team) should walk through the site together. Ask whether the design is getting tired, what your competitors have been up to online, reassessing your search strategy (SEO), positioning changes over the year, etc.
Until you hold a 100% market share, you’re not finished, and your core website strategy is a big part of that.
We Can Help
In the end, your core website strategy governs the success of your website. Work hard on it, stick to it, and it will serve you (and your audience) well. By defining your site’s ultimate purpose and the little goals that serve that purpose, you can define each page’s direction and intent. It will help you run your site smoothly and reach your business goals sooner.
We can help you craft a core strategy. Give us a call or drop us a line, and let us help you grow online.