Let’s look at why you need a strategy before you launch a website and the steps you can take to create one.
Why you need a strategy before you launch a website
A website strategy is a plan for how you will use your website as a part of your larger marketing plan. It helps you organize your brand messaging and centralize your marketing efforts.
If you don’t have a website strategy, you run the risk of:
Confusing customers with mixed messaging and a poor site structure.
Never showing up in search when people look for a business like you.
Losing website visitors before they become leads or customers because they don’t know what steps to take to work with you.
Spending time and resources creating a site that doesn’t work for your business
A website strategy ensures that your site has what it needs to effectively reach your customers and guide them toward doing business with you. Don’t skip this important process.
The 8 steps to build a website strategy
Before you start building your website, use these eight steps to create a plan that will guide your site creation and lead to a more effective website.
Decide who you want to target.
Determine your website goals.
Define your primary call to action.
Define your secondary call to action.
Define your unique selling propositions.
Conduct keyword research.
Outline the pages you need.
Create a strategy for each page
By doing these eight things, you’ll be well on your way to attracting your target audience — and getting the results you want.
1. Decide who you want to target
Having a clear picture of who you want to target is instrumental in creating your website strategy. Start here, and don’t only include obvious details.
Go deeper and define who your audience is and what they want, think, and need. For example, if you are a dentist, your customers aren’t simply anyone with teeth. Think about your ideal customer, and answer questions like:
- Where do they live?
- Where else do they shop?
- What do they do for work and for fun?
- Where do they get information?
- What kind of language and terminology do they use?
- How do they search for and find businesses like you?
2. Determine your website goals
While every business needs a website, most businesses need websites for different reasons. Each may have different goals for their site, and the goals will drive the strategy to create it.
Define the top two or three goals for your website. You may have more, but only focus on a few as you get started. Your goals might be:
- Build trust
- Generate referrals
- Get found via search
- Educate your customers
- Showcase your work
- Generate leads
- Drive sales, orders, or online scheduling
- Define your primary call-to-action
Once you know your website goals, it will be easier to define your primary call-to-action (CTA).
A primary CTA is the direction you’d like people to take when they visit your website. A restaurant’s primary CTA might be to make a reservation. A spa might be to schedule an appointment, and a boutique might invite people to browse their online shop.
You need to know your primary CTA before you start building your website because you will lay out your site to funnel people to that CTA.
4. Define your secondary call-to-action
A secondary CTA is another action you invite website visitors to take. It is not as consequential as the primary CTA, but it should also lead visitors down a path toward doing business with you.
For example, a restaurant’s secondary CTA might be to view the menu or sign up for their email list to get 10% off their first online order. A spa might invite people to download a self-care video series, and a boutique might invite people to join their rewards program.
The secondary call-to-action should resonate with people who are higher up in the sales funnel. The step should require less commitment while also guiding website visitors closer toward becoming a customer.
5. Define your unique selling propositions
Once you know who you are talking to and what you want them to do, consider why they should take this action. Outline your unique selling proposition (USP) — the thing or things that make you different from your competition.
Having a list of USPs helps you shape the messaging on your website. It directs your copy and allows you to communicate your offerings more clearly to website visitors.
6. Conduct keyword research
Keywords are a foundational part of your website, so your website strategy should include keyword research.
Conduct keyword research to identify the terms you need to target on your site and for each page. Look for terms your target audience searches for that are related to your business, popular, and with low competition.
7. Outline the pages you need
It’s important to have a strategy before you launch a website because it will determine what pages you need on your site. Almost all business websites need pages for:
- General business products/services
From there, determine what pages you need based on your goals and CTAs. What products and services do you have to promote? What pages do you need to funnel people into your primary or secondary CTAs? What content do you need to fully introduce your business and educate potential customers? What pages do you need to target specific keywords?
Use your strategy to determine what other pages you need, such as pages for:
- Individual products/services
- Case studies
- Blog posts
8. Create a strategy for each page
Finally, once you know what pages you need, develop an individual strategy for each page. Plug every page into your larger strategy so each guides visitors toward your primary or secondary CTA. Also, optimize each page so it gives both visitors and search engines what they need to find value on the page.
- Assign a unique target keyword to each page.
- Optimize the page for that target keyword.
- End each page with a CTA that guides visitors one step closer to the primary or secondary CTA.
Put your website strategy to work
If you want to create a valuable marketing asset that will work for your brand 24/7, take time to build a strategy before you launch a website. Then, take your website strategy and put it to work.
- Give it to the copywriter who is creating your on-site content.
- Give it to your website designer or developer who is building your site.
- Use it to direct your work if you build your site on your own.
- Keep it to direct all your site’s future modifications and content strategies.