It’s that time again. Your company’s website has grown stale and your team scurries to keep up with the latest technology. You make rash decisions, updating visuals with the newest trends and throwing in a chatbot for good measure—but what if there was something you could do to prevent this exhausting cycle?
Many marketing teams fall into this loop of designing their website a single time and leaving it alone until it’s time to make drastic updates because they don’t have a web strategy. And it’s costing them.
Without a web strategy in place to provide direction, you are essentially planning to fail. You risk becoming estranged from your user base as millions of other things snatch their attention, and in this economy, people need to know what they’re getting into way earlier in the buyer process.
Website visitors cannot be forced into doing what you want them to do and if they catch a whiff of manipulation, they’ll leave without a second thought. So, how can you avoid this? By planning out a web strategy.
What is a web strategy?
A web design strategy is a plan with the aim of increasing engagement and improving user experience. It’s common knowledge now that a user correlates credibility with the look and feel of a company’s website, so strategy must be iterative. It should be revisited, improved on, and updated as time passes.
A digital web strategy helps organizations to identify gaps in their current experience and optimize all aspects of their customer’s engagement throughout different digital touchpoints to achieve a specific targeted outcome.
When I say touchpoint, I mean different points in time where you’re actively communicating to your customer throughout their journey including any online presence you control. Some examples are ads, blogs, emails, contact forms, chatbots, and more.
How do you create a web strategy?
You’ll want to start with your overall objective and target audience(s) and build around that.
Next take stock of your current situation so you’ll have an idea of what to keep doing or stop doing. What about your current marketing campaigns are working? What’s not working? What needs to be changed?
That said, here’s an example of a web strategy:
- Determine your short, mid-term and long-term goals. Examples would be increasing conversions, generating more leads, maximizing efficiency, or even improving your customer service.
- Research your competitors’ analytics and record valuable data insights.
- Get a better understanding of your users’ motivations—and then perform a content audit to gauge if your content satisfies their needs.
- Optimize your site’s desktop and mobile layouts for a seamless user experience.
- Reiterate. Repeat.
You determine how often you want to improve your strategy—just don’t forget about it for years on end!
The center of the web design strategy?
Your focus should always be the user.
Oftentimes, companies focus on their own needs first. What’s their return on investment? How can they capitalize? That’s important information to gather and present internally, however, that’s not the point of a web strategy.
It’s imperative to focus on user needs, or what some call customer experience optimization. Experience optimization is the holistic relationship that your customers have with the various customer-facing aspects of your organization.
That includes various departments such as sales, marketing, IT – even your social media channels should provide a seamlessly unified and cohesive brand experience.
To achieve this, your marketing team must be agile, reviewing your users’ behaviors, tracking and measuring data, and acting on their findings.
The results could range from varying calls to action, including more touchpoints for engagement, strengthening your content marketing, and more.
Best practices for your web strategy
Audit your competitors. Again, web strategies are very similar to business plans. Where are your competitors lacking in the customer experience? What are the gaps you can fill? You should also revisit your target audience. Have their behaviors changed? What technology are they using now? What kind of site layouts do they prefer?
A/B testing may solve this question, and other options include surveys, using analytics, or heat mapping. Dive deep into your content to see how your website visitors are acting once on your site. Then follow the data and make updates.
Plan ahead. Part of your web strategy should include how your marketing leader and team members meet and interact to stay on top of audits, testing, updates and more. One cadence that works for many teams is a weekly check-in to review items that were completed, review data and set and review tasks for the following week.
It’s important to remember that web and buyer trends can change at any time for any reason. People get bored, new innovations are released, and newer technology proves to make everyone’s lives easier (looking at you, ChatGPT).
Constant reiteration of your website allows your brand to keep up with expectations and competition and provide a better user experience. Give your data the attention it deserves as a source of truth and act on it .
Your web strategy is not your business plan; do not create it once and leave it once you see some success and wins. Website strategy is a living, breathing cycle that will help your company improve and scale for many years to come.