Your Website Strategy
YOUR WEBSITE IS THE FRAMEWORK FOR YOUR BUSINESS.
PEOPLE WILL USE YOUR SITE FOR INFORMATION, SCHEDULING, PAYMENT, & CREDIBILITY.
NOW THAT YOU HAVE THE FRAMEWORK DONE, LETS BUILD OUT YOUR WEBSITE.
Its the 21st Century. Your business needs a website. Hopefully we're not debating that issue.
The domain is an important element for driving traffic. If you choose something clear and obvious for your business/industry like "Best Baker Ever", its better for SEO and easy to find but bad for trademarking. If you pick something abstract or obscure like "Sharper Steel" you have to work twice as hard to become recognizable in the marketplace but you are unique and can be trademarked.
Other things to consider: I never recommend odd spellings or punctuation in URLs. They get cumbersome and difficult. I would not have more than 3 words and would be careful with super long domains and domains with a lot of abbreviations because its hard to remember the letters.
Overall Website Marketing Strategy
Now that you have a domain that resembles your business name and brand, you want the rest of your website to continue the flow. This process is not an easy one and I would be hesitant to work with anyone who believes they are the master at the entire process. Building a website takes 5 steps and each require a skillset that is not often overlapping with the others.
1. First, a marketer (people person) designs on paper the flow, lists the questions, objectives, and uses the customer profile to map out what the website should do and what people would want from it.
2. They hand this to a Web developer who is a coding expert (tech/engineer/builder). Their job is to take the map and outline and turn it into a structure that works the way the marketer designed.
3. Once the frame is constructed, now it is the designer's job to make the entire site smooth and pretty. They implement colors, graphics, and stylistic features to keep everything looking clean. (Artist)
4. When they finish they hand the site to the copy writer. This person is in charge of writing all the content in such a way as to get people to do what the marketer wanted them to. They provide all the content, writing, and ensure everything will funnel the visitor to the end goal. (Writer)
5. After the writer has finished they give the site to a performance expert. This person goes through all the code and streamlines the code to de-bug and speed up the website. They identify pieces that didnt sync well when the site was handed from one person to the next. Then they optimize the site. (Optimizer)
This doesn't even count SEO, or the traffic portion of the website.
Website Development (Building)
This is the building portion of the website. There are many variables when it comes to building a custom website that come into play. Web developers can have different specializations and focuses. App developers are an entire separate group that may tap into website development as well.
After we have a plan for your site, the website builder is going to build it out so that structurally it has all the bells and whistles and features we need. That could include a login member only section of the site, a calendar so that people can book times with you, a payment portal integration so that people can buy your products or services online. Your website might need to include an e-commerce store function so that you can sell products directly on your site.
Website Design (Making It Pretty)
The design portion is for the artsy people of the world. They start with your logo, business color palette, and personality of the company. Then they take the notes about the customer and the notes from the marketing expert for the site and they web design the entire custom website.
This is usually on a PDF as an image to show all the colors, the layout, the design and signature stylistic features that will make your brand stick out. Once they have the final design and everyone is happy with it, it gets applied to the website as a whole over top of the structure that the web developer built.
Often times the web design expert is also involved in the color palette selection and logo if the process is all starting at once. Your goal is to have your brand consistent across all platforms and materials.
Website Copy Writing & Content
As you can probably guess, I'm the copy writer for Sharper Steel Marketing. My job is to make sure that every word that is on this site is here for a reason and is going to help the visitor in some way. Sometimes my job is to invoke emotion. Other times its to identify a gap in your thinking so you are curious. Often my job is to steer you towards a purpose (like scheduling a call with us to grow your business.)
Without the copy writer, the website can be confusing or just ineffective. Having a talented copy writer on your team can change even basic drag-and-drop websites into powerful engines for your business. (Plus we usually write all the social media posts, we write the email campaigns and the newsletters.) If its text, we are in charge (and that's why we try to get paid more than the web developers and web designers.)
Website Performance & Analytics
This is where website gets a little more confusing. The marketer, the web developer and the web designer all are obvious. Even the copy writer makes sense to have on the team. What a lot of business owners don't realize is the back-end work that goes into custom websites, apps, and software.
Let's use an example. If you open a website and it takes 60 seconds to load, you already are pressing back and moving to the next site. The performance specialist makes sure that doesn't happen. They also refine systems and clean up the mess the rest of the team makes.
While we are talking about website back-ends, we need to mention analytics. There are multiple ways to collect data and information on a website and these need to get installed and set up as well.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is constantly changing. Every day, Google and the other search engine sites are refining and optimizing their algorithms to make them better. This means that marketers have to know and understand the latest and greatest way of assisting businesses to show up on the first page of Google. Since everything changes so often, I can't update this page with every update to the algorithm.
The long term non-changing tactics when it comes to SEO are: have a quality website. Update is as needed. Clearly define what you do and for whom. Location plays a big role. Have enough content and keywords for the algorithm to recognize you, be sure to connect all your platforms and sites if appropriate, and provide good service to your customers.
These are not instant fixes, as SEO takes time, but if you do all of these, then no matter how much the algorithm changes, you'll be improving your site more and more.
PageSpeed is how quickly all the elements on your webpage load. PageSpeed affects your bounce rate (people clicking on your site and leaving immediately), your SEO (Google penalizes slow websites) and gives a bad experience to your visitors.
If you want to fix all those things at once, improve your website PageSpeed.
Google Analytics & Tags
There are multiple free resources that Google provides to help you collect and analyze data of the information from visitors of your website. You need to ensure they are properly set up and installed and then monitor them to track the data.
Once you have the data, you can use that data to make marketing decisions like where to spend on advertising and what products or services to feature.
Facebook, like Google, offers tools for collecting and interpreting data of the traffic on your website. This then allows you to target people on Facebook advertising to ensure your Facebook ads are hitting their mark. The Facebook Pixel is a snippet of code that you also include on your website to allow Facebook to track your data.