Strategy is a total buzzword in the design world now. Not all design requires strategy but if it is for business, it’s the difference between success and missteps. Brand strategy has especially been focused on and is so important to establish since it dictates the messaging behind all of your visuals, copy, imagery, and more in terms of marketing. People assume website strategy is the same.
A lot of people misunderstand that website strategy is not just taking the brand one and making the site. Website strategy requires some additional time and decisions to make sure the messaging, brand visuals, copy, and imagery comes together to convert the visitor into a client or buyer. There are some key factors your website strategy has to have.
1. Website Goals
Websites are typically approached as simply portfolios or have minimal copy. Many see having one as just a part of owning a business but not important beyond that. But websites are the hub of your business. It’s where you make money, grow your audience, and you have full control over how your message comes across. Social media platforms don’t give you that same freedom.
When creating a custom website, you need goals or ideal outcomes for when visitors land on your site. There will need to be multiple goals to attract the two types of visitors, hares and tortoises. I first heard about this concept from Mariah Coz and it helped enhance my strategy when approaching websites.
You need a plan A for all the hares. These people have been looking for a solution to their problem for a while and are ready to solve it now. The journey for those visitors needs to be clear and build trust so when they reach out, they feel more ready to book or buy. This will typically include touching on pain points they are feeling and providing yourself as the solution, then making it super easy for them to purchase the solution or reach out.
On the other hand, tortoises need a plan B. They may not be fully aware of the pain points they are facing or need more time to build connection and trust. So you want to have ways for them to stay in your community so you have the opportunity to help them in other ways first, like an email list, social media, or a blog.
2. Build Connection
There are a lot of small businesses out there. What makes you different than all the others? YOU! Building a connection and showing understanding for the visitor’s concerns can be the reason someone books or buys. If your site lacks strategy, someone just lands on it then leaves.
As I mentioned before, pain points and solutions is a great way to help the visitor know that you understand them. Your copy is most important in this stage and how it is presented. You want to strategize how you’ll break up copy and what order it will be presented in to best convey your message.
3. Stand Out
With so many competitors, you also have to stand out in addition to building a connection. You’ll see similar design choices, layouts, and pages for websites in the same industry. You want to stand out by using unexpected details. Your brand visuals are step one but in the strategy, you can outline how you’ll communicate to the visitor in a way that makes them feel more seen. And if someone doesn’t align with your message, that works too! It allows the right people to feel like you’re the perfect choice for them and people who don’t agree are able to find another solution.
4. Journey and Sitemap
A huge mistake I see a lot of business owners make is thinking their site needs to have a certain number of pages or be setup like a template. Your website does not need to have certain pages but rather certain information. If you don’t have a ton to share on an about page because you’re growing or a new business, it’s best to share a bio or story on the homepage instead. Once you nail down which pages you need to have to convert the visitors, you want to create a journey.
By using the main navigation and calls to action (typically buttons), you can guide visitors to certain pages in a certain order. For instance, people learning about your story and background first allows them to connect you the person to your work in your portfolio, rather than looking at amazing images or designs but thinking anyone could make them. Make sure to keep those tortoises and hares in mind to guide them both to the ultimate goal they’ll actually act on.
Wanting to learn even more about website strategy? Get our FREE website strategy guide with 11 action steps to boost your conversions.