Most run-of-the-mill small business web designers that you will meet have either no or very little expertise in Web Strategy. Unfortunately, there is not enough attention given to it, but strategy is the difference between your website converting leads and simply looking pretty, albeit attracting no one to buying your product or services.
Web strategy involves a properly weighed out plan of both how to get incoming traffic to your website, as well as within the website to guide the viewers towards your desired outcome.
Web Strategy is a long term game, a plan you implement in the beginning and consistently tweak to keep seeing better results. Unfortunately, many web designers are aware of the fact that this is a long term game. They are also aware of the fact that they will not be around anymore once your are scratching your head wondering why your website is not converting. What is most important to them is that they design your site, get paid, and move on with their lives to their next clients.
I’ll cross that bridge when I get there…
Sure, you can wait it out. That’s completely fine. But don’t forget that if you choose to go down that route, you will not only spend an exorbitant amount of time and money, but you are also loosing out on all of the potential customers you could have had. The opportunity cost is simply not worth doing it halfway the first time.
Your website has the potential to be the engine of your entire business, but simply a decoration to make you look good. Unfortunately, the good old mantra of “Build and they shall come” doesn’t work when it comes to websites. A strategy is needed to cut your way through the ‘cyber-noise’.
Did you know…
380 new websites are created every minute! That 547,200 new websites EVERY DAY!
Glad you asked! We will go over an actionable list for you to keep track of next time you work with a web designer. As a business owner, it is important for you to be informed and aware of proper web strategy.
Why are you making a new webiste? Is your website simply outdated? Are you trying to appeal to a new type of consumer? Trying to build certain functionalities on your website to increase the efficiency of your business?
It’s all too common that business owners will dive into a new website plan, without having a clear goal as to why it is they’re doing it. This means that they are likely to overstuff it with distracting, non-essential information which is non-conducive to good web design leading to a poor user experience, and ultimately low conversion rates.
Setting goals and priorites from the beginning is absolutely essential to the success of your website. These goals will serve as a roadmap and pave the digital path to a clearer structure to the website. They will also dictate which information is essential, and what content to nix from the beginning.
It is crucial to know your public. That is the first thing talk in speech classes, and a website is essentially a “digital-speech”. Your website is one of the first avenues of your brand that your customers will encounter, and just like a speech attempts to persuade the audience of a thesis, your website is selling your brand, your products or your services.
Learning who your audience are, what they value, what their age group is, what moods they connect to.
This doesn’t only pertain to the mood of the website, of course you won’t make a candy colored website with bubble letters if your an Estate Attorney. Go deeper than the color and fonts of the website. For example, if you’re a painter, what do you think your potential customers would want to see on your website. They want to see that your are a trustworthy person first and foremost, before even know how well you do your job. After all, they wouldn’t want a stranger who isn’t trustworthy lurking for hours, maybe days in their house. Of course this means that on the homepage, even towards the beginning of the page, you want to start showing that credibility. Start with social proof, such as testimonials that other have appreciated your honest and hard work. Perhaps list business accreditations you may have, etc.
Your website needs to follow the format that your customers will connect with immediately, even on a subconscious level.
While a website itself can do a lot for your business, it will not propel traffic on its own, otherwise I’d be a millionaire by now. Content strategy is by far one of the most important things for search engines such as google to keep ranking your website high. All marketers love the buzzword “content”, but its for a reason, it can’t be overlooked.
Many business opena website, or a blog without a plan of future content creation and this results in either no material publication on their website, or a very inconsistent, and unorganized triage of material.
Constantly updating your material, and publishing new relevant content will not only build your authority to your potential customers, but also will show Google, and other big search engines that you’re a force to be reckoned with, not simply one of the millions of new websites published weekly.
There is no easy way, content marketing is tough. It is a long game, and consistency of quality information is key. If you are a painter, it is nice to have your phone number in the top right corner of your website, but that won’t bring anyone new through the door. Your want to have some sort of blog or page where you can truly show off your expertise. Perhaps topics such as differnt qualities of paints – what to buy and what to avoid. Maybe instructions on DIY projects that are a little bit too tough for your classic home owners to handle, so they will call you in as the professional regardless. After all, there are a client base known for trying and failing, and coming to the professional in the end anyways. If you want more traffic, you must invest in your content game.
Personally, I love SEO (search engines optimization). It is a very fair way to be found, and puts all business on an even playing field. SEO is a direct result of how much effort a business puts into its website. SEO is a result of many things works together such as the quality of the content your produce, the pageload speeds, the cleanliness of the code, etc. just to name a few.
When I need to get my house painted, I immediately go to Google and I can either search a specific search term such as “House painter Los Angeles”, which may of course be very competitive, or something more vague such as “Which wall paint brands to avoid” which is a search term that you can easily show up for if you have written a brand comparison article. Of course you will get that call as the expert of your trade, having proven it in an article with your knowledge.
SEO can be done in two ways. Either you can go down the Pay Per Click route, and pay to show up for certain key word searches, such as “House painter Los Angeles” which will mostly likely be pricey, and hard for smaller business to achieve. Or you can play the long game, and make sure you are consistently producing good content with proper keywords usage to make sure you get ranked for the proper terms. The second method will of course take longer, but will be more rewards in the long run.
Marketing your website after it is built is crucial to the success of your launch. You need to get engagement from visitors on differenet social media platforms. Google needs to see that there is activity coming to your website from third party sources such as Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Most social media platforms are OK to use to spread the word about your business and its information, but there is always an optimal way of doing so.
Remember when we spoke about knowing your audience earlier? Well this applies to social media marketing as well. You need to figure out who your target market is, and based on that market on platforms those demographics live on specifically. For example, back to our loyal painter, most of his demographic are home-owners which include generally males and females between the ages of 30-50. Most likely TikTok is not a good platform to go to since that attract mainly teens. In the painter’s case, a double punch of Facebook and Youtube would be the best option to stick to.
Social Media can seriously boost your business, especially if it is properly done, and you can get users to engage with your brand.
Most web designers will make your website mobile responsive nowadays. But the issue is that they will build a desktop website that looks ok, and then convert EXACTLY that to a mobile website. This is not great because not all elements that work with a desktop website are okay with a mobile website. For instance sometimes a background image will get cutt off on the sides and then the context of the image simply doesn’t make sense anymore, making it a distraction as opposed to an enhancement. As you well know, your users’ subconscious is only looking for a reason to leave the website, and even the smallest red flag such as images out of context will send them straight to the Back button. A website needs to be designed almost specifically for a mobile screen as most users nowadays are viewing your website on the go.
More than half of your users will be seeing your website on a small screen and you need to account for that.
Here at 1Bar Design, we design backwards for that reason. What I mean is that we start with designing the website for mobile, make that look good, and then convert the mobile website to something that looks good on mobile as well.
It is so important that your website is lighting fast. Statistically, if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load your viewer’s bounce rate increases at an exponential rate. 6 seconds and you’re looking at a 50% bounce rate!
It would be a real shame to loose valuable customers over one extra second to load your website.
For this reason we recommend at 1Bar Design to always check your website speed with tools like pingdom.com and gtmetrix.com and if your website seems to load slowly, use their recommendations for what to improve, they will report to you exactly what needs fixing. If you don’t know what to do, always reach out to whoever manages your website, and they will know what to do. If not, feel free to get in touch with us for a speed optimization consultation.
Additionally, you need to make sure your website is on a good hosting plan. There are plenty of hosting services out there, but you need to make sure you get one that can actually support your website with the speed your website needs.
Your website host is very important to invest into so we like to recommend Flywheel Hosting. For those that simply don’t have the funds to invest in expensive hosting, our very close but much cheaper #2 recommendation always goes to Siteground Hosting. These are both extremely reliable with excellent support, and speeds. Most of our clients use one of the two, and we have never had an issue with either.
You will need to make sure that you have thought through how you measure success. This will of course be closely tied to the goals you set for yourself when you first planned out your website. Make sure that Google Analytics is set up properly on your website. If you are trying to measure conversion, make sure you have the proper tags firing off with Google Tag Manager.
Being able to measure success is an essential part of growing and improving your website, without which, you are simply shooting in the dark with no guarantee for success.
Following this strategy checklist will get you most of the way there, but the most important part is to constantly produce quality content. There is no shortcut to it. Map out your plan, follow these guidelines, and produce, produce, produce. If you do so, people are guaranteed to find you on Google and your business will boom.
And of course, get a well designed, professional website to be the engine of your business, there is no avoiding that.