How To Optimize Your Website For Search, Easily & Effectively.
This is part 3 of 7 in our series on providing our Top 5 Website Design Optimization Tips. Subscribe to receive our latest news and updates.
A strategy is an actionable plan for reaching your goals. Strategy answers the question, “How are you going to do that?” In website design optimization, your strategy should be focused and specific.
Think through your target clients and customers. The strategy you come up with is based on the research that you’ve gathered.
If you’ve researched well enough, you should know the keyword concepts for your website and have brand and competitive analysis you can use.
Think of website design optimization strategy as what you do after you have come up with some goals for your website and defined your ideal visitor. Imagine you are playing a game of Chess and there are multiple moves you can make.
Which one will be the best one? The answer to that is going to depend on a lot of factors. Some moves will be better than others. Some moves will be game changers, either for better or for worse.
In Chess, if you’re good at it, you don’t just make moves and hope for the best. You keep in mind the desired outcome, and then map out a series of moves, including trade-offs, that get you to where you want to go.
It’s the same with website design optimization strategy.
You already have a goal – or a vision – for your website. You already know who you want to reach. And you know what keyword themes you want to focus on. You can also prepare for your website project with a design sprint, check out our complete guide to performing a design sprint.
Now, it’s time to think about how you plan to accomplish all of this.
In this article, we’ll cover the following topics:
- Strategy vs. tactics
- The 5 Elements of an Effective Strategy
STRATEGY VS. TACTICS
First, it’s important to separate strategy from tactics. A strategy is a plan, or an approach. A tactic, on the other hand, is a task. Strategy informs the tasks.
In other words, the strategy creates the framework for the tasks. Many business owners think about website design as a set of tasks, and forget to think through strategies.
The reason that tasks, such as “start a blog” or “put up a link to my Facebook page,” aren’t sufficient strategies is because they are not tied to outcomes or any rationale.
What will setting up a blog do for your specific business? Does linking to a Facebook page make sense? If you don’t know the answer to those questions, you should wait until you do. The process of figuring out the answers to that question is strategic planning.
THE 5 ELEMENTS OF AN EFFECTIVE STRATEGY
Objective and Keyword Themes
Start with the objective. How do you want your target clients and customers to interact with your website? What do you want your website to do for them?
What should the website accomplish? Another way to think of the objective is the end goal. Why are you building or optimizing a website to begin with?
As for your keyword themes, how will they help you attract customers? Consider if the keyword ideas you’ve come up with will attract the right people – based on your objective – to your website.
If your objective is to build a list of prospective customers, your keyword concepts might be different than if your objective is to sell a certain amount of a particular product.
Next, incorporate the research about your target clients, your brand analysis, and the competitive analysis that you’ve already gathered. Use this information to determine how you plan to use the website as part of your business model.
Digital strategy is really about how technology will support your objective.
Digital strategy is going to be different for every business. It sounds technical and complex, but it can be made simple through brainstorming.
Think about the technology that needs to be in place in order to facilitate the buying process or run the business. What platform should the website be built on, and why?
Does the website need to have an ordering system? How does mobile fit into the picture? Should there be a click to call feature? How will the audience view the content?
The key here is to be discerning and focused. Resist the urge to do it all.
Strategy is just as much about what not to do as it is about what to do.
Read our article on how to perform research to form your website design optimization strategy.
Content mapping is about making sure you have appropriate content for your target customers, based on where they are in the buying process.
This is about meeting customers where they are at. Someone who is still just discovering that they have a need to fill (discovery phase) needs to be shown content that helps them learn more about their problem and the potential solution.
On the flip side, your target customer might be someone who is already ready to buy.
Why does content mapping matter? Because, for effective optimization, you have to have content that is appropriate for various buying stages.
Someone who is ready to buy doesn’t need a lot of reference information such as blog posts or white papers. Free trials, discounts, or free estimates are more suitable in that stage.
Someone who’s looking for the difference between single pane and double pane windows, for example, isn’t ready for you to come to their home for a new window consultation. They’re still in the discovery phase.
Ideally, your optimization strategy includes content mapping for customers at all stages: discovery/awareness, evaluation, purchase, and post-purchase. Map the content you plan to have to each of the stages. A visual content map can be a helpful tool, this article from The Moz blog is an oldie but a goodie.
Online Sales Funnel
The online sales funnel is the set of exact steps that convert prospects into leads, and then leads into customers. On your website, this is the path people will take to ultimately do business with you.
Not everyone who comes to your website will eventually be a customer. The funnel starts out wide and gets narrower at every step.
- Step one is usually landing on your website. Hopefully, you’ve done through all of the previous steps and are able to successfully determine ahead of time where most of your traffic will land. If that happens to be your homepage, consider what needs to be there in order to convince your prospects to take the next step.
- Step two is going to depend largely on your specific path from prospect to lead to customer, but it always involves asking the visitor to take some sort of action – even a small one (like clicking a link). The same is true of all of the other steps in the funnel. They always involve influencing the visitor/prospect/lead to take an action and continue their relationship with your business.
Web Build Strategy
This is the last element of the website design optimization strategy. It involves coming up with a strategy to build out the website. Strategic design, when done well, is natural.
The website should make sense based on your target audience, what you want them to do, and how you will measure the actual outcomes against the intended outcomes.
We hope that you’ve found these website design optimization tips helpful. The most difficult part about strategy is making hard decisions. It’s human nature to want to do everything.
At the same time, it’s natural to be resistant to settling on a particular strategy, wondering whether or not another strategy would be better.
No one wants to miss out, or choose the wrong path. But to be successful, you have to make some decisions, and know and own the trade-offs that come with them. Plan smart moves based on data and insights. If the outcome is less than desirable, tweak the strategy and keep going.
One & Zero is a Web Design Agency based in New York City. We’d like to invite you to learn more about what we do. For a complimentary consultation on your website’s performance, contact One & Zero today.