If you’ve ever felt that building a strategic website is all about getting a domain name and hosting, buying or using a free theme and other things like admin editing, installing plugins, SEOing etc is the most important/vital thing in a website, you need to read this…
Don’t get me wrong, doing that is the primary features in setting up a website, but you will keep hitting rocks when you build a website that don’t deliver value first from the homepage.
Think about it, the first page to attract visitors is a homepage but if the homepage is not exciting enough to let your visitor moving over to the other pages, what is the point having a website?
A website without a strategy in place for attracting and converting leads into visitors will lose it value overtime no matter how strong the brand it.
Imagine a prospect visiting your site with no idea on what next to do or a Call to Action to take. Such prospect will click the exist button immediately.
Well, there’s good news. Building a strategic website doesn’t have to be that daunting. With the right templates and tools at your disposal, you could easily create a website strategy that will direct your creation process — all without fancy design program, huge budgets or hiring contractors.
Download the free template, and we’ll walk through how to build a strategic website right now in this very blog post. When we’re done you’ll know exactly how to develop a strategy that will get your target market excited and eager to do business with you. Ready? Let’s dive in.
How to Build a Strategic Website
Most website designers are focused on the outlook of the website without considering the buyer persona whom they created the website for.
For a website to be effective, it must be customer centric.
Your buyer persona should determine how a website should be built.
Buyer persona is the first thing you must research before planning website strategy. Persona will determine the overall structure, content, style etc. of the website. For more information of creating a buyer persona, click the link below.
After you have identified your buyer persona, the next thing is to set up a strategy that will help you build a strategic website.
There are 5 stages every website must go through to be effective and meet prospect needs and want. They are:
Let’s go into details of each
The first step is for those who have a website that is not performing as expected.
You will first of all perform a website auditing to identify web pages that is performing well and generating traffic and discover why it is performing better than others.
Google analytics, search console are tools that can give you information on how all your pages are performing and where your traffics are coming from with other relevant information
Next, you will research your COMPETITION
You need to discover what is working for your competition and how they are performing compared to you, and then determine how you will setup your strategy for success. You are not necessarily copying your competitors, but identify where their strength is coming from, like identify which keyword they are optimizing and getting ranking for. This will help you in your keyword strategy.
In order to build a strategy, you will
Identify your value proposition
Be realistically clear about who you are and what you do and for whom you do it for. This will play a role in your keyword strategy, sitemap, navigation and homepage design as well as informing site wide design and copy writing
We talked about generating organic traffic earlier and having a keyword strategy is key to ensuring effective organic traffic and in order to do that, you must:
- Identify your target keywords and build them into your site structure, content, page name and urls. Also include them in your articles, this will ensure your chances of ranking well in Google.
- Keyword planning and research such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, KWFinder etc. can help you identify which keywords to rank for, as well as how much search volume they have and how competitive they are.
- You can also use your buyer persona to research which keyword they are searching for. Google has also helped in auto generating relevant searched keywords
The role of a sitemap is to identify list of page on a website. Not all pages are visible in a website therefore in other for Google to index your page, a sitemap is created and submitted in your search console for crawling. You will use the research previously done to set up pages that align with the keyword strategy and the buyer decision process.
For your sitemap to be effective and submitted to Google console for indexing and crawling, focus more on setting up important key pages such as, for instance Professional services could use key pages like homepage; services; case studies and consultation offer.
Other important pages to be included in the sitemap are:
- Business essential pages like term & condition, privacy statement
- Landing page
- Thank you page
You would want Google to index these pages.
After sitemap has been setup, the next thing is to design a prototype of the website. This will show how the website will be built and where they will live within the website and the process of building a prototype strategic website is called a wireframe.
It is important you design it first before building the main website. This is because
- You can have a view of the overall look of how the website should be
- How to position the homepage to attract your buyer persona
- Plan the journey your buyer will take towards converting. Read more about the buyers journey
- Key stakeholders can review and make amendments
- Wireframe can help team to brainstorm and choose the best options
Things Homepage must address:
- Value Proposition
Your homepage should have a value proposition that talks about what you do, who you do it for and why you are the best option for them (Link to understanding value proposition)
Your homepage should be able to tell why you are unique and why your customer should choose you over your competition
There should be a show of proof to drive home your authenticity and your differentiation. Usually, a customer logo, testimonial or case study is used as a show of proof. Proof can build trust and preference
- Call to Action
A homepage should be able to facilitate the onward journey of visitors at all stages of the buying process with carefully placed CTA. For instance, a buyer in the awareness stage should be provided with a CTA to relevant info, link etc.
For buyer at decision stage, should be directed to a decision related content like book a consultation, get a free trial etc.
Understanding a buyer’s journey streamline these process because you will use the researched and planned journey you buyers will make to setup your homepage, content with a clear Call to Action in strategic places.
Last, but certainly not least, is providing multiple conversion point throughout the site and each conversion must be specific about what your buyer will be getting in return e.g. eBook download, demo, whitepaper, template etc.
Here is an example of a website with multiple conversion path
Most conversion points are CTA that leads to a landing page or form to capture your buyers’ info for remarketing.
Search Engine Optimization
After the above has been setup, discussed, agreed upon and built (assuming there are stakeholders involved). It is time to fully optimize the website by:
- Creating unique pages Meta title & description with the keyword you want to rank for. If you are using SEO by yoast, here is how to do it.
- Optimized the H1 tags to feature the target keywords
- Optimize the body copy for target key words
- Internally linking page to one another using the target keywords
- Externally linking page too
- Add image alt tags featuring the target keywords
In conclusion, having a strategic website is an essential tool for success whether you are just starting a business or expanding your business, however be sure that your website designer set up strategies to create an strategic website for you or better still point them to this article.
Want to create a strategy for your website? Download this Website Strategy Checklist to get started by clicking here.