A website strategy is comparable with a blueprint for a house. The website strategy describes all important points where a website should abide by to achieve set targets. The strategy is based on available data, targets and capacities of an organisation and the technical availability.
The website strategy consists of:
- Defining missions and targets
- Defining conversions
- Defining target audiences
- Keyword analysis
- Content mapping
- Website structure
- Online marketing channels
Mission and targets
What is the objective of your website?
When you start planning your website it is important to know the mission and objectives of your website. Every step moving forwards builds onto the set mission and objectives. Problems could arise in the future if not defined correctly.
The mission of the website is always in line with the mission of the company or organisation. If your company or organisation has the objective to generate more revenue than the objective of your website could be something like reaching more potential customers. If your company has the objective to inform people about tick bites then your website’s objective could be about generating as much traffic as possible.
The mission of the website can be specified by defining objectives. Objectives are targets which help you achieve your mission. Our mission is to reach more potential customers. The question we have to ask ourselves is how we are going to achieve this goal. An example of an objective is receiving more quotes or registrations on a newsletter. This will keep potential warm.
We have defined the objectives, now we have to link objectives to conversions. Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) can be used to specify conversions. The question we have to ask ourselves is: “How many quotes do we need in a year?”. Imagine 1 in 4 quotes gets accepted and the company needs 10 customers a year. Knowing this the objective will be getting 40 quote requests a year.
Right now we have a list of missions, targets and KPI’s to start off with. A quick heads up, these are merely examples. There are far more possibilities. It is all dependant on the mission and objectives your company wants to achieve.
Collecting leads is a good mission to start with as a young company but also for existing companies that want to grow. However, the objectives covered by this may differ. When you have a high conversion rate, you can choose to get more organic traffic. But if you do have a lot of traffic on your website but no one makes an application, your goal may be to increase the conversion rate. Examples for objectives and KPIs when it comes to collecting leads:
Objective 1: Increasing traffic
- increase organic traffic by x%
- increase bought traffic by x%
- increase traffic coming from other channels by x%
Objective 2: Increase engagement
- increase time spent on website by x%
- decrease the bounce rate by x%
- Increase the number of visited pages per session by x%
Objective 3: Building a email database
- increase the number of newsletter subscribers by x%
- increase the conversion rate of applicants for the newsletter by x%
For an e-Commerce website, a clear goal is to sell products, only it is not as simple as it looks. It is possible to define more objectives based on this goal.
Objective 1: increase conversions
- increase the sales conversion rate by x%
- increase the conversion rate per category by x%
- increase the conversion rate for organic traffic by x%
Objective 2: Lowering abandoned shopping carts
- decrease the left behind shopping carts by x%
- increase the shopping cart recovery by x%
Objective 3: Increase order value
- increase the average order value by x%
- increase the number of products per order by x%
Another mission could be to build engagement among your audience. Visitors who stay on your website for a long time, view many pages and come back regularly can be of great value. Especially when your website displays advertisements.
Objective 1: increase blog engagement
- increase time spent on page by x%
- decrease bounce rate on blog posts by x%
Objective 2: Increase returning visitors
- Increase returning visitors by x%
- Increase e-mailmarketing traffic by x%
Defining target audience
To reach your target audience, you must have a clear picture of who your target group is and understand how your target group thinks, acts and makes decisions. We call this a buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a person who represents your customer base. This doesn’t mean you have to stick to a buyer persona. If you have different products, you can attach multiple buyer personas to them.
Examples of buyer personas
To give an example of a buyer persona: A local furniture maker who supplies custom furniture is looking for homeowners between the ages of 30 and 60 with a (joint) income of 80,000 euros per year in the area of Amsterdam. To make this even more specific, you can also say that they are people with an interest in interior design.
This says a lot about the people you want to target and where you can target them. These are not the people who go to Ikea for example.
How to make a buyers persona
Look at your customer base
Who are your customers now? Maybe it is possible to create a sketch of the average current customer. Where do your customers live? Do they have certain interests in common? Is it likely that people similar to them will also purchase your product or service?
Look at the customers of your competitors
Who are your competitors targeting and who are their current customers? Is this a target group that you would want to focus on or do you want to approach it completely differently?
Look at your product or service
Make a list of all the features of your product or service and the possible benefits. For example, as an SEO specialist we ensure that companies rank higher in Google’s search results. This leads to more visitors, which in turn leads to more customers and more sales. We are therefore looking for companies that would like to increase their revenue.
Once you have a list of benefits, you can start thinking about who will benefit from these benefits. Are these specific companies? If yes,who is the person within the company who is responsible for this specific feature? Or are these people in a certain situation or with a certain problem. We are not done yet, the collected data is not specific enough to describe a person.
Choose specific demographic data
Not only do you need to find out who needs your product or service, but also who is the most likely to buy it? consider factors such as:
Consider your target audience’s psychographics
Psychographic characteristics include more than just the personal characteristics of an individual. It includes:
- interests and hobbies
Think about how your product or service fits into your customer’s life. How and when is the product or service used and what are the features that are of added value for this specific person. Does your target audience search online, read the newspaper (which one?) or attend specific meetings?
Ask the following questions
When you have created your buyer persona, it is important to ask the following questions:
- Is the target audience large enough to offer my product/service?
- Does my product/service really create value for this specific target audience?
- Do I understand how my target group comes to a decision?
- Can these people afford my product/service?
- Can I reach these people?
Do not make your buyer persona too specific. The more specific your market, the smaller your target group. You may be able to reach different markets with the same message. In that case splitting is not necessary.
Now that you have defined your target audience, we can start looking at the search behavior of your target audience. Are these people looking for a problem or a solution, what is the intent of their search, are they looking for information, are they in an exploratory phase, or do they have a clear purchase intention? These are all different phases of the customer journey.
Think about what your target audience is looking for
What are the problems and solutions that your target group is searching for? do they search on the name, a characteristic or the application of your product/service? Next, make a list of search terms that your customers are potentially searching for.
Which keywords offer more value?
When you have a list of keywords, we can start analysing the search volume. Google Ads shows the search volume per keyword. Keywords with a low search volume are often easy to rank on but do not yield many visitors. Therefore it is important to focus on keywords that have high search volume.
Prioritise and categorize keywords
Now that we know which keywords have the most search volume, we can start looking at which keywords are the most important for our website. This is done by creating different categories and adding keywords to them. Based on these categories, we can determine which keywords are the most important to add to the website immediately and which can be added at a later time.
Using content mapping, we will decide which pages should be created to rank for specific keywords. You can do this using an Excel file. Put all the keywords you want to rank for in the created file, then decide which page will be optimized for these specific searches. There are a lot of different types of pages, for example:
- cornerstone page
- blog page
- category page
- product pages
It is possible to optimise a page for multiple keywords. For example: ‘search engine optimization’ and ‘SEO’. The same page can be shown for both terms. Ultimately, you are left with a list of pages that will comprise the website. Based on this list we can determine a structure for the website.
The structure of the website
Now that we know which pages need to be created, we can determine the structure of the website. The structure simply shows how visitors will navigate through the website. The most important page is of course your homepage. This is the starting point of your website for most of your visitors. From here people should be able to easily navigate through your website. In the second layer you get the important pages on your website with the sub pages in the layer below.
What does a website structure look like
The structure does not have to look very complicated as long as it is clear how visitors navigate through your website and how your website is put together. Below is a simple example of a website structure.
Online marketing channels
When a website strategy is created it is important to look at the future. How are we going to keep creating value for our visitors? This post mentioned SEO. Organic search is a very important way to gain visitors on your website. Besides SEO, there are more channels which generate traffic such as Google Ads, Social media and email marketing.