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Jul 12, 2012

Essential Elements of Website Projects

Last week I talked about some of the dos and don’ts of website deployments based on my interview with Nigel Freitas on Sky News Business. Today I’d like to go into more detail on web strategy and expand on some of the other points I briefly discussed with Nigel.

What are the essential elements of a website deployment?

1.  Online strategy

In order to begin building a successful web strategy, start thinking of your website as part of your business rather than a piece of technology. Start by imagining how a website can help meet your business goals, but also how it can improve your entire business. For example, improving your communications with customers, or adding eCommerce to your sales strategy. Stop thinking of a website as a list of technical requirements and instead think of how it can benefit a holistic business strategy.

2.  Web Design: Understand the customer experience

Focusing on the customer is one of the most important elements of successful web design. Instead of focusing on the coolest new features of design and how the site will LOOK, go deeper and think about how it will be USED. Map out the path you want your client to take to get to the goal you have in mind (e.g. Sign up to the newsletter, buy XYZ, call the office).

With this map, split up the user journey into individual elements; over time you can improve each element in order to get a compounding effect that will provide greater benefits to your entire business strategy.

The website doesn’t have to be flashy (no pun intended). I tell my clients to look for simplicity - even treat your visitor as if they were 10 year olds! If this 10-year old can reach your objectives, you’re heading in the right direction.

2a. A mobile-friendly design

Mobile is growing rapidly and we’re seeing companies that ignore mobile completely and others that try to dive in too quickly. You probably don’t need a mobile app, but you also don’t need a big project to make your website mobile-friendly thanks to the rise of responsive design and HTML5.

3.  Track the steps of the experience

After splitting the experience into individual steps, track the separate elements and review them regularly. Integrate these elements into your staff’s weekly KPIs. See how your website is performing and make small adjustments – a website is no longer a ‘set it and forget it’ brochure that can sit on the web for 2 years with no changes.

4.  Learn from customers

Tracking also lets you learn from customers and their experience. Where are customers dropping off the website? What areas do they frequently visit? This type of information will help you refine your website strategy, like making small changes to the design or re-focusing the content.

I’ve noticed a strong push towards segmentation and personalisation – two things that have been around for a long time but are also getting smarter. Having data on your customers and their behaviour will help you work towards segmentation and personalisation which will definitely separate you from the competition – it’s been hard to get right.

For more on web strategy and how bwired can help you achieve your business objectives, call us on 1300 780 566 or email info@bwired.com.au.

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