White paper Website strategy


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White paper Website strategy

  1. 1. Six Critical Website Dynamics To Build Your Brand and Maximize Results Approximately 83 percent of consumers look at your website before they decide if they’re going to call you.1 Does your website seal the deal? With 83 percent of consumers looking at your website before they consider your business, your online presence is critical for reaching your target audience and developing loyal customers. These six steps outline a strategic approach to developing a website that engages customers and grows revenue. 1. Strategy-Your website serves as a reflection of your brand as well as a powerful tool to generate revenue and grow your customer base. Here are key considerations to developing a successful website: A. Develop Goals - It is critical to list the goals of your website and determine how you will measure those goals. Establish a series of key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure its success. First, outline metrics in relevant categories—traffic, engagement, and conversions. In the world of website analytics, when a visitor completes a desired action, it is called a conversion. If your website is an ecommerce site, you will set sales goals and conversions will be measured with sales. If your website is designed to support your brand and provide support, then you might measure email sign-ups or downloads of product information as conversions. A B2B website will be designed to generate leads and a conversion would equal completion of a form for additional information. It’s important to know your goals and design the website accordingly so conversions can be tracked and measured. This will enable you to calculate ROI. Next, rank the key performance indicators by importance and relative weight. B. Plan for Engagement Opportunities – Websites are no longer an online brochure, instead they offer a tremendous opportunity to engage your audience. As you think about the website, consider and plan for ways to engage such as polls, surveys, links to social media, email sign-up, suggestions, etc.Eye 4 Marketing 1
  2. 2. C. Evaluate Current Analytics - Your current web analytics show what pages receive the most traffic, what topics interest your audience and what days or times they are most likely to be online. Additionally, it is important to analyze top content sections. For example, if your client portfolio consistently receives the most traffic, consider allocating prime homepage real estate to highlighting this section. Also look at exit paths to see what pages are causing people to leave the site. User insight is also useful for developing relevant SEO and SEM terms to feature on your homepage. D. Send Out a Survey. Offer an incentive for your consumers to complete a user intent survey. A user intent survey will provide insight into what your visitors currently look for on your site and what features they would like to see in the future. Additionally, it can be beneficial to ask their opinions about your current site and request suggestions for future site features. Rule of Thumb: In order to maximize a respondent’s time, try to keep the length of this survey to around 5 minutes or less. E. Benchmark your competitors. Most likely, your key competitors have done research to capture your target audience’s attention on their website. Conduct an industry audit of their website features, sign up to receive their email updates and regularly visit their social media pages. Leverage their research and insight to grow your business. Also, use Google Analytics to benchmark your web analytics against industry averages. F. Idenitfy User Personas. After completing a thorough industry market analysis and web performance audit, it is important to identify 3-5 user personas that most frequently visit your website. Personas are fictional characters created to represent the different user types within a targeted demographic, attitude and/or behavior set that might use a site, brand or product in a similar way. Understanding their needs will ensure your website features and calls to action reflect their interests and desires, while maximizing your online investment. 2. Information Architecture- After outlining key user personas, create list of important site elements that engage their needs, desires, and interests. Throughout your website, you want the user to say ‘Yes’ so they continue to move through the site. If a person finds friction or is concerned about security, privacy, quality, or reputation, these become roadblocks. Roadblocks cause people to leave or abandon your website. Your site should work to reduce friction and provide helpful information to keep the ‘yes’ dialog intact.2 702.533.4799
  3. 3. Four important considerations to help create the website are: A. Develop Action Paths. Develop action paths which identify how your main personas will move through the site to accomplish their needs or objectives. These action paths in conjunction with calls to action help prioritize how the site should be organized and optimized. B. Site Map. The site map outlines how the navigation will work for the website. Outline the main navigation headlines and the sub-navigation to show the flow of information and content. C. Wireframes. Wireframes provide a digital/visual map for site features, content and user interface. After outlining content during information architecture research, begin to allocate space based on the importance of site features and content. The elements on a site map represent the important calls-to- action that users should follow. For example, if online video is important to your primary user persona group, then allocate more space on your homepage to a media player. If a blog is less significant, then a side rail link may be sufficient. Wireframes help designers create compositions that reflect the calls-to-action outlined in the site Sample view map. of wireframe development D. Plan for Web Analytics – It is also important to plan out what will be . measured so that coding is placed to track and measure for web analytics. When you develop goals for your website, it is important to itemize conversions that need to be tracked. At this stage, the development team should embed code from your analytics platform to help measure performance and conversions. 3. Design- The design of a website is critical to its success as it provides an important impression of your business and brand. If a visitor does not like the design, they will most likely immediately abandon it. Website designs should reflect the look and brand of your organization. Send sample designs to a select group of customers to get feedback and make sure you engage their interests. You only have one You only have one chance atat a first chance a first impression. impression.Eye 4 Marketing 3
  4. 4. Your website is a “thought map” as it serves to funnel a visitor’s thoughts to take specific actions. Your design should clearly show the priorities of information and show what is most important to the visitor as well as your business objectives. Best practice recommends creating at least three design compositions that reflect the finalized wireframes. Since design is such an important element of a successful website, multiple compositions ensure a quality result. It also helps maximize your investment by making sure your business creates a website that reflects the needs and expectations of your target audience as well as accomplishes your goals. The design should also be developed for mobile optimization. With smartphones and tablets overtaking desktops for search, it is important that your website also is designed to perform on these devices. 4. Content –In order to have an effective website, providing good and relative content is critical. “Web content is the textual, visual or aural content that is encountered as part of the user experience on websites. It may include, among other things: text, images, sounds, videos and animations.” according to Wikipedia. It’s important to provide content relevant to what the visitor is looking for on your website. When writing copy, think about “WIIFM – What’s In It For Me” as you are writing to engage the visitor, not just sell your product or service. People scan websites for information, so it’s important to use short paragraphs and bulleted lists. Long copy does not work well on web pages. Think ‘compelling content’ and use images and copy to tell interesting and/or unique stories and engage the reader. A. Write with SEO in Mind - As part of your research and past analytics, you should pay attention to the keywords people used to find your website as well as keywords relevant to your business. Plan to provide copy and design special pages of content for your most important search terms. Google and other search engines look at relevant copy as well as keywords when rating sites for search engine rankings. B. Search Engine Ranking - It is the goal of every website to be on the first page of organic search results. According to Google, 75% of people searching for something never go past the first page of results. In most cases, it will be prudent to pay for search engine optimization after your site is launched to improve your search results. C. Think Local, Look Global – if you operate a business, service, etc. that is location based, be sure you optimize your site for local traffic. While you may be offering a product or service that is around the globe, you really need your site to show up on searches in your area, not elsewhere in the state, country or world.4 702.533.4799
  5. 5. 5. Engagement – websites are no longer an online brochure. It’s important to build features into your site that allow visitors and customers to communicate with you, your brand and business. Besides engaging content, you should think about ways your website can create dialog between you and your prospects, visitors and customers. Social Media – Social media is any easy way to add engagement features to your website. If you use social media to promote your business, links should be included. There are great tools available for your web developers to integrate social into your site. Email – Email is a great way to communicate with people interested in your product or service. Best practice suggests adding a way for people who visit the site to sign-up to receive emails. 6. Website Launch - Websites should go through thorough testing prior to launch. It is important to test the site to make sure navigation works, content and media load properly, and that hyperlinks function correctly. Images and media files should be optimized for web so they do not take too long to load on the page. Developers will test for and functionality and breaks in code which could cause errors. Once your website is launched, the work is not over. The fun has only just begun. It’s your job to continue to provide fresh and engaging content that will help the overall online marketing performance. For websites to perform well, strategies should be in place for: • Search Engine Optimization - so your website shows on the first page of results for various search engines. Your site should be submitted to the various search engines. • Content Management – search engines look for fresh and relevant content and consumers crave good content • Landing pages and home page optimization – understanding how people choose to take the desired action and removing friction (items that will cause a ‘no’ response) is critical to your website’s performance. • Online advertising – to get new people to your website, it’s important to consider online advertising, both display and search advertising. • Online reputation management – it’s important to know what is being said online about your business. Measuring sentiment, checking reviews, and watching what’s posted via social media is important to monitoring your online reputation. • Outbound and inbound links – link building can help with search engine optimization. • Engagement strategies –providing interesting, relevant and engaging content and provide items people will want to share with others via social media such as photos, coupons, videos, news, etc. • Email marketing – you should plan regular email communications to your email list to keep your brand and business in front of your consumers. Think about things your list’s participants would like to receive such as exclusive offers, promotions, information, product announcements, etc.Eye 4 Marketing 5
  6. 6. White Paper written by Jan Yerzik Eye 4 Marketing 702.533.47996 702.533.4799
  7. 7. White Paper written by Jan Yerzik Eye 4 Marketing 702.533.47996 702.533.4799
  8. 8. White Paper written by Jan Yerzik Eye 4 Marketing 702.533.47996 702.533.4799
  9. 9. White Paper written by Jan Yerzik Eye 4 Marketing 702.533.47996 702.533.4799