Editor’s Note: Hey, hey! Our team at Blackwood has launched a podcast called The Big Brand Theory! This episode, our host, Kyle Johnson spoke with Ashley Swanson, a web design freelancer and web strategy extraordinaire to go over the core aspects of what a well thought out web strategy is. Here’s what they shared.
| ESTABLISHING GOALS |
It’s important to not be nebulous with your goals. Allow your goals to be narrow. Sign-off at a goal level is most important. If you don’t start it right it will create issues internally.
“This is the time to have all the stakeholders at the table. This is where you agree on the goals—and then this is where you release the team to go and do their part.”
| FINDING YOUR AUDIENCE |
What does this person look like? What is their persona? Different age groups have different expectations for their website. So, where is the audience coming from? This affects the way you build your site. You have to know who they are and how they are getting there.
“Your audience isn’t everybody—Even Apple, their audience isn’t everybody. Even ESPN, their audience isn’t everybody.”
YOUR CUSTOMERS NEED TO BE ON A PATH AND JOURNEY. NOT STANDING IN FRONT OF A MENU. – KYLE JOHNSON
| GLOBAL DESIGN |
What kind of role does design play in the website? Design is not the end-all—and having that as your goal—can create a lot of problems. Design at its core is solving a problem.
“Design is important, but having the sexiest website in the world is not that important for people. A decent looking website that is not wowing people can be incredibly effective if you’re crafting your website around your audience. It can build a lot of credibility and trust.”
| BUILDING OUT CONTENT |
When you think about clarifying your message and content, what does that mean as you design?
Donald Miller says if you confuse, you lose.
It’s incredibly important to outline your copy that avoids confusion. Think about the hero image—in copy and design. I got to your website, now what? Some of this can change based on your audience and goal. Copy should be short and simple. But if you’re selling something, there needs to be a journey. Provide the information for someone to trust you. Simple homepage, but then elevate the portfolio, with best items up top with case studies, then have an intentional call to action.
| CREATING A CUSTOMER PATH |
Your website is a hub—but not everything happens on your website. People won’t give up their email address unless what they’re going to get is worth $8. So then, create systems where the website isn’t doing all the work. And this is where a comprehensive marketing plan is helpful. The journey doesn’t end when they send a contact form—through emails or simply through a thank you page.
“Your buttons may be the most important part of your website. Are they placed in the right spot? Are they obvious? And is the copy obvious? Is this the next step you want the user to take?”
| DRIVING TRAFFIC |
Campaigns are really important. A lot of people run ads to their home page. The home page should be directing organic traffic coming from google, but ads should be more specific. Get into the weeds to change your copy, your image, and all the specific needs to the tailored audience.
| MEASURING DATA AND ANALYTICS |
What should we be measuring? What are your goals and what does your user journey look like? You have to know those things to know what your analytics look like. Analytics are important, even if they aren’t important to you…we want to know the analytics on your site to understand where people are coming from and where they are navigating to.
Are users doing the things we want them to do? What are they doing after that? Heat maps are really helpful for users on their site to see where their mouse is going and understand if people are trying to click on things that aren’t links or if people aren’t going beyond the fold of your website. Base your decisions on data. You can know what people are doing based on data.
“Website are expensive and they shouldn’t be cheap. But you can feel like there’s a lot of pressure to get it exactly right.”
| ADJUSTMENT AND IMPROVEMENT |
You can’t have step #8 without step #7. Know that you’re going to adjust, improve, and tweak nonstop. You’re not married to what you get the same day on your website. What if it didn’t take a global pandemic for us to make a change or adjust things on our website, change things up to let your audience know you’re speaking to them. You can’t do that unless you try.
If your current marketing strategy just isn’t cutting it anymore, you’ve come to the right place. Our team of experts here at Blackwood Creative would be more than happy to work with you and help you meet and exceed your business goals. We’re in the business of building remarkable brands – yours could be next. Reach out to us today!