Recently, I had a conversation with my friend who works as a project manager at an interior design firm that covers both residential and commercial projects. He showed me their existing website which presented them poorly and failed to communicate clearly who they are effectively.
They had to request the designer to switch some words that were still written in Spanish, something he had overlooked. When he translated it, “Insert Text Here” was displayed which indicated that the website template was used for developing the website.
After glancing at the website, I immediately noticed that it featured stunning visuals of excellent design quality. Beyond that, however, its design was highly disorganized and failed to include any sort of structured text hierarchy or appropriate wording. Additionally, it seemed to be a single-page site with odd color choices scattered throughout.
When I asked whether any preparation or planning had been undertaken for the website, he responded with a no. To which I proceeded to explain that this is referred to as a website strategy, typically involving Research & Discovery prior to web designers and developers beginning work on both its visual aspects and coding.
Further tried to relate web design and development to his field with a further conversation: If a builder were to construct a new interior in the kitchen without having an organized plan and materials picked for the task, it would be difficult to guarantee that what is built will please the client. Additionally, any adjustments or remodelling needed afterwards could lead to wasted resources, money and valuable time on behalf of all involved parties. This further emphasizes why providing a detailed strategy along with a plan of how interior design works must be done prior to construction. This leads to a beautiful interior, and the steps involved are similar for a successful website with slightly different terminology used.
As a professional web developer, I have acquired some important knowledge and experience in strategy, SEO, accessibility, and best practices. However, if I had this same knowledge three years ago when I started out on my journey towards becoming a successful web developer today.
Had I known more about website strategy earlier, it would have been a huge advantage. That is why I am writing this post to demonstrate its value and help others to head start or improve in their web design and development career.
3 Solid Benefits to Have a Website Strategy
Ensuring that the website meets user needs and wants
Website strategy provides a greater understanding of the needs and wants of a company’s target market, ensuring that the website meets those needs and wants. This could include research into customer demographics, competitor analysis, user experience design (UX) and interface design (UI). By taking the time to plan out these areas, it ensures that the website is appropriate and attractive to the target audience.
Ensures that everyone is on the same page
Website strategy provides a platform for brainstorming ideas, suggesting alternatives, and aiding in the execution of the initial plan. This can help to ensure that all stakeholders are on board with the web design direction and clear objectives have been set out before development begins. It also helps to avoid any costly mistakes that could occur due to misunderstandings or miscommunication.
Website strategy is the foundation for success
Website strategy is the foundation for success because it provides focus and direction in the web design process, resulting in a website with purpose, consistency, accessibility and user-friendliness. Website strategy also serves as a roadmap throughout the development process, helping to ensure that the website is planned effectively and built with professionalism, setting it on a path to become a successful online business.
Website strategy is an essential part of web design and development as a whole, providing direction for projects and ensuring goals are met. It serves as the foundation of success in creating websites that provide value to customers, generate leads and increase traffic to the site – all of which help businesses succeed in today’s digital landscape. Website strategy should be taken seriously by any web developer or designer before they start work on a project. Taking the time to plan out each aspect thoroughly can save lots of money, time and energy down the road.
Take a moment to think about Abraham Lincoln’s quote:
“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my axe.”Abraham Lincoln
Steps involved in website strategy
Research the target audience and customer demographics
Website strategy should start with understanding who the website is for, who the target audience is, and what their needs and wants are. This research should include gathering information about age, location, gender, income level and interests of the target market.
Research from Single Grain showed that building websites with marketing personas made websites 2-5x time more effective and were easier to use.
Analyze current trends in UX/UI design
Website strategy should include an analysis of current trends in UX/UI design and how they can be applied to the project. Analyzing competitors’ websites is also a good way to identify user experience trends that can help differentiate the website from others in the industry.
Staying ahead of the competition when it comes to web trends is paramount, as they are constantly shifting and evolving with each passing year.
Here are some trendy website examples that you can read about on the Medium blog.
Develop a website structure & content plan
Website strategy should include defining the website’s structure, navigation and content plan. Website structure should be organized in a way that makes navigation easy for users, while content should provide value to users and capture their attention.
Low-fidelity Wireframes and Sitemaps can be used to create an organized and comprehensive plan for your website structure and content plan.
Create a timeline & budget
Website strategy should also include creating a timeline and budget for the project. This will help ensure that the website is developed within a predetermined time-frame and budget.
Create a testing plan
Website strategy should include a testing plan to ensure that the website functions properly during and after development. Testing plans should cover user experience, navigation, usability, accessibility, performance and responsiveness.
Monitor & analyze web traffic
Website strategy should also include monitoring and analyzing web traffic. This will give insight into how people use the website and which areas may need improvement.
With Google Analytics, you can get quick and easy insights into your website’s visitors. For more advanced data analysis to view user flow, HotJar is the perfect tool for that.
At the end of the day, developing an effective website strategy is essential to ensure success in today’s digital world.
By taking the time to properly plan out each step of website design and development, businesses can create an effective website that meets their goals and increases traffic, leads, and sales. Website strategy should always be taken seriously by any web developer or designer before they start a project.
With the right strategies in place, companies can achieve success in the digital world – so take your website strategy seriously!