How to Create a Web Strategy for Digital Brands
Does your website work for or against your brand? This post shows you how to develop a winning web strategy that enhances your company's value and authority.
November 28, 2023
The days of creating a website and watching the traffic roll in are over. Companies must be proactive, creative, and consistent to reach their target audiences.
That's why you need a web strategy.
In this post, you’ll learn:
- What a web development strategy is
- Steps and best practices for building web development strategies
- A process that provides all the background you need to develop a powerful strategy
What Is a Web Strategy?
A web strategy is a plan designed to develop a company’s online presence and authority. This plan is broad and includes the entire expanse of the web using several digital touchpoints. So, to be clear, a web strategy is not the same as a digital marketing strategy.
A web strategy leverages user experience design, content, and conversion optimization. The process equips your website to build brand authority and drive conversions.
A digital marketing strategy is a much broader approach to marketing a brand. It includes your website and other digital channels. Social media, email marketing, and PPC campaigns are examples.
Why Your Business Needs a Website Development Strategy
Website success requires all tactics to work together. For instance, SEO should support the content marketing plan. The content marketing plan should align with the social media strategy. When tactics are in harmony, the results will follow.
A complete web strategy also has a plan of action for tracking and optimization. Tracking allows brand leadership to make well-informed marketing decisions with higher accuracy. We can measure everything in online marketing. That also means we can optimize it for better results.
Creating a Website Strategy
Many companies invest in marketing without considering the long-term brand strategy. This mistake can lead to missed opportunities and disjointed messaging. Your web strategy should be an extension of your brand’s growth plan and a guide for all digital campaigns.
Building a strategy is a complex process. It’s vital to know which steps to take and in what order.
Step 1: Business Goals
The first step is to create website goals. Each goal in your web strategy should be linked to business objectives. It's also critical for goals to be clear and actionable. For example, driving more website traffic or increasing brand awareness are goals. But we need to go further to make these goals actionable.
The SMART framework is practical when clarifying goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. “Increase website traffic” is a vague goal. A SMART goal would be to “increase website traffic by 20 percent over the next quarter.“
Step 2: Key Performance Indicators
Key Performance Indicators are metrics used to measure web strategies. Each KPI should be specific. Here are some examples of common KPIs:
Website Traffic: This is a basic KPI that shows the number of visitors to your website. A consistent increase in traffic tells us your online visibility is improving.
Average Engagement Time per Session: This measures how long a user focuses on a web or landing page. A longer session means visitors are showing interest in the content.
Conversion Rate: This is the percentage of visitors who complete a desired action. Buying a product, signing up for emails, or requesting a quote are examples of conversions.
SEO Page Rankings: This is your website’s position on search results pages (SERPs). Rankings also measure the success of your SEO plan and keyword strategy.
Step 3: Market Analysis
A market analysis assesses your online competition and is an effective way to uncover growth opportunities. To perform a market analysis:
Identify Competitors: List your main online competitors. These brands offer similar products or rank for keywords you want to target. Remember that online competitors are not always the same as those encountered in the field.
Analyze Competitor Page Strategies: Check each competitor's website page and assess it. Observe the site's layout, value proposition, product pages, content, pricing, and calls to action. When you do this, act as any website visitor would. Click on links, read a few posts, or watch a video. Note anything that stands out or impresses you.
Also, observe how each competitor is trying to position their website online. What directories and social media platforms are they on? What are their offers? Questions like these will help you get a feel for their positioning.
Review Competitor Trends: This could include new content, navigation, SEO techniques, fonts, or web design trends.
Step 4: Search Engine Optimization Strategy
Many businesses develop their website first, then build an SEO strategy. However, developing an SEO strategy before designing a website is crucial. SEO influences essential factors such as site structure, URL structure, and content creation.
Keyword research provides a picture of your audience’s needs and interests. It helps you understand what your customers are looking for online. Keyword research also reveals the words they use when searching online.
Keyword research begins with brainstorming broad topics relevant keywords to your business or industry. Drill down on these topics to identify more specific keywords. Keyword research tools can help you refine terms further.
A comprehensive list of keyword terms guides website content creation. Focusing on keyworded content helps your site attract the right visitors.
Step 5: Traffic Strategy
A web strategy wouldn’t and couldn’t be successful without a traffic strategy. This is a plan for driving visitors to your site.
Most people think of SEO as the foundation of a traffic strategy. Though that's true, a traffic strategy includes several other components. The site’s content, design, and usability impact traffic growth. Keyword research, content, and the site’s technical performance are other key factors.
Examples of web traffic sources are:
- Pay-per-click advertising
- Social media ads
- Online directory listings
- Google Business Listing
- Review sites
- Partnerships and collaborations
When it comes to web traffic, quality trumps quantity. It’s not just about getting people to your site. It’s more important to get qualified visitors who might become customers.
Step 6: Lead Generation
Every website strategy includes a plan to generate leads. Lead generation aims to turn site visitors into prospects who might buy what you offer.
It takes a lot of hard work to get website visitors. So, once you get them there, you must get them to take action. Filling out a form or downloading a whitepaper are examples.
It’s essential to have a clear call-to-action (CTA) that encourages visitors to take action. The CTA should be concise and persuasive.
Finally, have an action strategy to stay in touch with generated leads. An email marketing campaign is the most common example of an ongoing touchpoint. Remember that lead generation is a continuous process that requires regular monitoring and optimization.
Step 7: Content Creation
A content strategy requires planning, creating, delivering, and managing content. It’s a plan that guides businesses as they communicate with their target customers.
People enjoy consuming content in various ways. Some people prefer reading a blog post. Others like videos. So, consider creating various forms of content. The type of content you create should align with how customers prefer to consume it.
Information architecture is a fundamental aspect of a website's success. Proper information structure makes it easier for users to find what they want and for search engines to index content.
When it comes to content creation, develop topic clusters. This approach involves organizing your content around central topics or themes with supportive content around it to build authority. Here's how to get started:
Identify Core Topics: These are the main topics or themes that are relevant to your business. These will serve as the foundation for your content.
Create Pillar Content: Develop in-depth articles or guides that cover each core topic in detail. These pillar pieces of content should be well-researched, informative, and provide value to your target audience. They will serve as the main hub for each topic cluster.
Identify Subtopics: Once you have your core topics in place, identify subtopics that are related to each core topic. These subtopics should provide more specific information or address different aspects of the main theme.
Create Cluster Content: Create content around each subtopic and link them back to the respective pillar content. These cluster pieces should provide additional depth and support the pillar content.
Step 8: Website Design
So far, you’ve laid the groundwork for your web developer in the previous steps. Now, it’s finally time to build your website.
The website development process should be customer-centric. You can use what you’ve learned in the previous steps to create the site’s design and content. The background information you have will help you create a customer-friendly website.
The website’s design is its visual language and should reflect your brand’s persona. For example, people have certain expectations for a healthcare website. So, a healthcare brand’s website should have those characteristics.
Consistency across all digital channels can make or break a brand image. This applies to the color palette, typography, and imagery.
Website functionality and performance are also important. The site should be user-friendly and display properly on mobile devices. Consider user testing before launch to avoid unnecessary issues.
Step 9: KPIs and Tracking
Web analytics play a pivotal role in measuring the performance of your web strategy. They provide insights into visitor behavior and engagement. This information helps you understand what’s working and what you need to improve.
Google Analytics is an example of a tracking tool, but there are dozens more. Some are free. Other tools have monthly subscriptions. Most of them help you see which keywords drive traffic and how to improve your content strategy.
Do You Need Help Developing a Web Strategy?
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the process of developing a web strategy, you're not alone. Creating an effective online presence requires careful planning and consideration. Every step plays a crucial role in success, from designing a customer-friendly website to tracking its performance.
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