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The 4 components of a successful web strategy
Building a winning web strategy takes time, precision, investment and hard work . That’s the bad news. The good news – while instant results might be as elusive as a shooting star, fear not, for there are actions you can take right now to set the gears in motion. Picture this: in the vast digital landscape, where many are seeking shortcuts, you have the chance to distinguish your business or organization. Most likely, your competitors are fumbling in the dark, unaware of the transformative steps you're about to unveil. So, let's dive into the strategies that will leave your competitors playing catch-up in the ever-evolving game of online success.
There are four key ingredients to building a rock solid website strategy, but the reality is most businesses get some or all of these wrong time and time again. By understanding the impact of these 4 components and implementing them into your web strategy, or when approaching a redesign or rebuild you will undoubtedly rise above your competitors and start to win their business.
Let’s start with the most important component – the words on your page and the story you tell.
Why story matters
Story has been proven to be a timeless medium that has captured audiences for centuries. Today, people consume more content than ever. When people can’t identify in seconds what you do and how you solve their problem, they will likely head for the exit doors.
What you can do build a better story
Tell a powerful story. Embrace marketing messaging frameworks such as StoryBrand, designed to shift the focus from your business to your customer—the true hero of the story you tell. We urge you to explore Donald Miller's transformative "StoryBrand" or any other established storytelling marketing framework. By doing so, you'll better position your customer as the protagonist, allowing you to guide them through a compelling story that centers around their experiences rather than your own. Here are some things you can work on today:
- Clearly communicate what you do and how you solve your prospective customer’s problem. This is ideal to include on the main banner at the top of your page.
- Move away from “we” and “us” language to “you” language.
- Communicate your unique value propositions to show why you’re different from your competitors and how you make your prospective customers' lives better.
- Remind your audience the challenge or problem they are facing.
- Express empathy and understanding about that problem.
- Communicate your solutions and how it benefits your customers' lives and solves that problem.
- Use testimonials, case studies, and awards & certifications to establish your authority and credibility. Don’t say how great you are, let others do that for you.
- Tell users what life looks like working with you. This might be in the form of a 3 step process for short sales funnels or a summary for a longer sales cyle product or servce.
- Tell your users what you want them to do with a clear call to action. When you don’t tell your users what to do, they won’t do anything.
- Leave something to be desired. You don’t need to include every single detail about your business. When you build a compelling story, users will naturally engage. Include only the most important pieces of information to your prospective customers and leave the rest for a sales call or a separate interior page with more details.
- Include an FAQs page or sections across your site to answer your audiences typical objections or most common sales questions.
Why great design matters
Your website is usually the first place people go to validate you. It’s their first impression of your business. And with only seconds to engage, it’s critical that your design and user experience work with the words on the page to provide a clear and effortless user experience. Use the right visual design techniques and content design strategies to establish credibility and trust with your audience. When you don’t, you will miss out on opportunities.
Things you can do to improve your design
- Ensure fonts are high contrast and easy to read. If your users need to squint to read anything on your page, you’re making them work too hard.
- Have a clear call to action button – the highest priority action you want your user to take on a page and make that button unique, bright and stand out.
- Avoid overusing animations. When they become distracting and/or too many things move on a page, it may become frustrating for users to focus.
- Avoid sliders where important content is buried. Data shows that 98% of users don’t look past the first slide.
- Let your sections breathe. Padding and margin are good. Don’t overwhelm your users. If you are telling a compelling story, your user will want to continue to scroll. Adhere to the “less is more” approach and don’t put too much content in front of them at one time.
- Keep your navigation simple to avoid the paradox of choice. Too many choices means no choices at all.
- Users don’t read, they scan. Break up large chunks of content into small sentences. Headings should be approximately 3-6 words. Keep subheadings short and concise as well and no more than a sentence. When including supporting text or multiple sentences in a section, consider breaking up with bullets.
Why the technology you use matters
The platform you use should scale with you. Look at where you are now and where you want to be in 2-5 years. Does the technology you’re using support what you want to do now and in the future? Does it support the performance outcomes you're looking for? Does it provide the right security for your business or industry. Are you required to meet web accessibility guidelines? The platform and technology you choose may impact your ability to achieve the outcomes you want.
What you can do to choose the right technology
- If you plan to do an aggressive search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, which relies on code performance optimization, you may want to consider an open-source framework like Craft CMS, ExpressionEngine or Statamic, where flexibility and customization for almost anything is possible.
- If you plan to integrate a login or app with your website or are looking for the highest level of security, you may want to consider a headless framework and/or deploy static files to your web server. This will give you an extremely flexible and scalable environment, but also comes with an added cost of specialized developer skills.
- If you’re a small business and you’re primarily leveraging your site as a marketing brochure and basic sales tool, and you don’t have plans to grow your online presence, you might consider a closed-source platform (a content management system that you don’t host yourself) like Webflow, Wix, or Squarespace where you don’t have to worry about hosting, security or server maintenance. But keep in mind, since you don’t own the site code and don’t have the ability to optimize the code-base or server, it may be difficult to improve performance or make advanced optimizations. These are great for starter businesses who have very little budget.
- Wordpress, an open-source platform and the most widely used content management system in the world, has almost unlimited capabilities. But its vast community of 3rd party theme and plugin developers are often unmoderated and Wordpress has been widely regarded as one of the most security prone platforms in the wild. The good news, Wordpress developers are all over the place, but finding one that has the experience and knowledge to understand how to choose the right themes, plugins and build the right way, may be challenging.
Why the right code matters
Google and other search engines will consider your site’s performance, your on-page SEO, and the semantic coding in how you show up in search results. When your website is slow, your heading hierarchy is out of order, your code doesn’t meet modern and best practices your site will likely get penalized by search engines and performance degradation is inevitable.
What you can do to optimize your code
Choose a platform that gives you flexibility in how you build your site’s code. Site builders and other prominent Wordpress themes are bloated with unnecessary and unused code which stifles performance. Some themes become nearly impossible to meet some web accessibility and technical requirements. Your platform should give you the ability to customize your site’s heading hierarchy, code semantics, and structured data. If you are required to meet web accessibility guidelines, look for open-source platforms like Craft CMS, ExpressionEngine or Statamic.
If you’re self-hosting an open-source platform like Wordpress, Craft CMS, ExpressionEngine or Statamic, ensure you keep your website upgraded with the latest platform and 3rd party tools to avoid potential security exploits and get the latest enhancements from your platform.
In crafting a successful web strategy, these four components—Story, Design, Tech, and Code—are pivotal. By mastering the art of compelling storytelling, creating a seamless design, selecting the right technology, and optimizing your website's code, you can rise above competitors and captivate your audience. As you embark on this journey, remember that a website is not just a digital presence; it’s a powerful sales tool you can use to captivate your audience and drive business growth. Treat it like a living and breathing sales asset that you continually improve and optimize.
If you’re looking to refine your storytelling, revamp your design, optimize your technology, or enhance your code, our team is equipped to guide you towards success.
Contact us today for a personalized consultation and let's build a web strategy that sets you apart.Schedule a call
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