Using digital marketing to grow your business can be a web of  confusion if you’re new to it, or even if you’re used to focusing on one particular area. In this article, we’ll look at an overview of the main aspects of digital marketing, so that you can get a birdseye view and start to visualise how an integrated, strategic digital marketing program might help you and your business to flourish.

By Ellie Keft

January 20, 2022

3 Important things to do before you Build, Re-evaluate, Redesign or Rebuild your Website

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#1 Define or Redefine Your Messaging + Goals

#2 Research & Evaluate Other Websites

#3 Understand and Consider the Technical Stuff

#1 Define or Redefine your Messaging + Goals

So the first thing, and this seems to be my starting point for literally everything—is to make sure that your brand and business’ key messages are clearly defined.

But basically we’re looking at the key things you want to say, and ways to say it that will cut-through and resonate.

The important things here will be:

  1. What’s your unique value proposition and what are your uniquely valuable services—what makes you stand out and what needs to be articulated on the website
  2. What values are important to your brand, and how does that relate to the way you present your shopfront, aka your website. E.g. what will or won’t you say, what might be stepping over the line for you
  3. What are your short and long term business and brand goals and objectives—what do you actually want to achieve overall as a brand and then you can get granular later on

And ideally, you’ll want to understand your target audience as well as possible, before building your website as well.

This might be tricky, and so can be tested and reviewed later on, but at least attempting to understand how they might use it might save you time and money later on.

For example, if you’re a service-based business, and you don’t include an easy way for users to browse your rates, if that’s all they’re coming to your site for, then you’re in trouble…

Another big part of messaging is the visual identity and adding humanity to your website. If there is a human element to your website, which of course there is, then there needs to be evidence of that on your website, even if it’s just on the about page.

#2 Research & Evaluate other Websites

Secondly, before building your website, or before redesigning or sprucing it up, take a look at past websites you’ve had and evaluate how they functioned.

Google Analytics or any native data available will be useful here—meaning, any data you have from the actual website platform.

And then go and have a good old fashioned stalk of your competitors’ and peers’ websites—it doesn’t mean you’ll copy or imitate, it’s just a really great way to get your brain cogs turning in relation to your target audience.

Obviously don’t assume something someone has done on their website was intentional though, they might have done it mindlessly, so always make sure you’re researching and testing.

#3 Understand and Consider the Technical Stuff

And thirdly, have a think about the technical stuff before you rush into anything…

Things like:

Your domain—make sure you’re picking a domain name that is unique and memorable, is available and isn’t trademarked, includes your business name in it, and try to use standard Top-Level Domains where you can. Top-Level Domains, or ‘TLD’s are the suffixes like .com etc.

Your hosting—Some of the platforms I discussed at the beginning will include hosting as part of their package, like Squarespace, for example. But other platforms you’ll have to self-host, which means you have to do a lot more technical legwork, so to speak.

Your website security—You’ll want to make sure that your website has an SSL certificate and that the entire site loads on HTTPS, and that there’s a way to ensure your website platform has a way to create backups of the website.

Your website structure—The ability to customise your navigation, menus, URLs and website structure is really important, and I don’t think you can do that with all websites. So look into that.

I’ll expand on some of those in a moment, as they’re important for a few reasons.

So let’s dive right into the 8 Website Must-Haves For Effective Content Marketing Programs.

Make sure it’s easy to track, measure and advertise with8 Important Website considerations for Effective Content Marketing Programs

# 1 Be clear on the objectives of your website

# 2 Adopt a mobile-first approach

# 3 Ensure optimising for search is possible

# 4 Consider the website user experience

# 5 Ensure your website is conversion-optimised

# 6 Think about what you’ll need to integrate with

# 7 Build a website that is easy to maintain

# 8 Make sure your website is easy to track, measure & advertise with

#1 Be clear on the Objectives of your Website

Number one…

You want to be clear on the objectives of your website—what are the key actions you want people to take and the key bits of info you want them to be able to access.

Try to keep it to around 3 objectives—less decisions means more action.

This is where the messaging exercises you’ve done will help, as you’ll be able to look at your 3 key offerings, say, and then you can keep that in mind with your website.

The other considerations would be your overall business goals and marketing strategy.

For example, if an overall goal is to grow first time customers by X% in the third quarter, and you have a marketing strategy outlined that requires attracting X% new leads in Q2 to achieve that, then perhaps your website might also be heavily optimised for email list building, for example.

The other reason you want to think about website objectives is because you’ll want to know what types of page templates to create, or have created for you.

It’ll depend on what platform you choose, but some web designers building on some platforms will charge you per template, and then every time you need to deviate from that, you’ll need more work from them. Some you can DIY, but some it’s harder.

So you want to know, do you need a homepage template, a blog post, a standard landing page and perhaps a sales page?

Will your website need the ability to build sales pages?

All things to think about.

The other reason you want to think about website objectives is because you’ll want to know what types of page templates to create, or have created for you.

#2 Be clear on the Objectives of your Website

Number 2, your website needs to be mobile-friendly, meaning that when someone accesses it on their mobile device, it will be easy and enjoyable to use.

So, you either need to have all components on your website responsive, which means they’ll respond to the screen size they’re shown on and will resize and reformat as needed.

Or, as in the case with some CMSs or Site Builders, you’ll need to create a mobile version of the page, as well as a desktop version, although this is less common these days.

Why do you need to design your website using mobile-first techniques?

Two reasons.

One, because it will be a more enjoyable user experience and people will be more likely to take the actions you want them to take.

Think about where your traffic is coming from; for many, the majority of their traffic comes from social media. Where are people mostly using social media? Their mobile phones. So that’s a big reason why mobile-first is important.

People are expecting a certain experience on their phone, coming from other mobile experiences. So it’s really helpful to think about their journey they’ve taken to reach the mobile version of your website.

And secondly, and this is a big one, Google now indexes using a mobile-first approach. Meaning, they crawl and index our website based on the mobile experience of your website, not the desktop. This is super important to understand as it’ll inform everything you do with your website.

#3 Ensure Optimising for Search is Possible

And this leads me to number three.

Depending on the route you go down, in regards to your digital marketing strategy, you’ll most likely want a website that has the functionality to really go gung ho with SEO at some point.

Or at least, you want that option available to you, should you change your tack.

So, you need to choose an option that will allow you to do so.

Most of the mainstream platforms will be fine for most people’s uses. But you want to make sure it accommodates for a few things, many of which crossover into some of the other points I’ve made or will make.

But specifically focusing on SEO, you need to make sure your website has great UX (meaning, a great experience for those using it); that you can build and optimise for mobile responsiveness; that you’re able to update important on-page SEO stuff like title tags, meta descriptions, alt text on images, and so on; you also want to be able to place keywords in all the important areas like the title tag and meta description, in the URL, in the alt text and in H1, and so on; the ability to see opportunities for internal linking is a great plus, and WordPress has plugins that help with this; you need to be able to do the technical SEO things like generate a sitemap and apply redirections; and you’ll also want the ability to be able to optimise your website for faster page load speed, or utilise caching.

To round that all up into human-speak—when you’re designing or redesigning your website, consider checking whether your platform and your theme can do those things I just mentioned, otherwise later on down the track you might end up feeling frustrated.

Also just make sure you put in the effort to find someone who actually, truly knows the answers to your questions, rather than just accepting it when they say ‘Wix does everything WordPress does’… dig in a bit and ascertain whether that’s actually true before committing!

I use WordPress and it definitely allows you to do all of those things, but I know there are some platforms that won’t.

This article is based on an episode of my podcast, Unearth Your Herd… check it out!

#4 Consider the Website user Experience

Moving on to number four, consider the experience of your website users, aka user experience, or ‘UX’.

So I mentioned this above because it’s super important for SEO, but it also deserves its own point, because it’s more wide-reaching than just ranking on search engines.

The goal with UX is to make sure the person using your website doesn’t have to think too much, and doesn’t have to go looking for the information that will help them take the action you want them to take, like a purchase.

So you want to have logical and navigable journeys on the website, including the menus and the links throughout the website. And you don’t want too many options throughout, which comes back to making sure you only have 3 main objectives that the entire site is built around.

You also want to make sure that you’re balancing creativity and originality with functionality. There’s no point making it super pretty if it doesn’t serve the purpose it’s there for.

But you know this, this is all pretty obvious stuff.

But it can come down to little decisions you make about your website. Like what microtext you use on your buttons or what you name your menu items or verticals.

Having a pretty name for your blog is fine, but you don’t need that in the menu, for example. People won’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

You also want to make sure there’s not too much text on your website, no big bulky chunks of text, but instead using short sentences and paragraphs.

And the colours, font types and sizes, as well as the use of white space and images, that you use is really important too.

It’s important to remember though, that your website can be both pretty and unique, AND simultaneously logical and seamless—you just need to figure out where to draw the line. Just make sure you definitely aren’t sacrificing functionality for beauty!

A couple of other important UX things just quickly before I move on.

One, Accessibility—you want to ensure that all users coming to your site can take the actions they want to, and that you want them to, including those with certain disabilities, like visual impairment.

And two, page load speed is a big part of UX too—slow page loads will be frustrating for most users, and they’ll bounce off your website before getting the value, which is obviously a pretty bad user experience. So working on getting your pages loading as fast as possible is really important too.

#5 Ensure your website is Conversion-optimised

Ok, onto number five…

Make sure your website is optimised for the conversions you want people to take.

This is called Conversion Rate Optimisation—or ‘CRO’ and it comes back to the first point I mentioned, about being clear on the objectives of the website.

CRO is a whooolllllllle big field, and I’m only saying a little bit about it.

But it’s all about understanding how your users are interacting with your website, so that you can place certain pieces of information, like copy or CTA buttons (that is ‘call to action’ buttons) or images, to give them what they need to use the website in a way that is both enjoyable for them, and results in the action you want them to take.

Monitoring and evaluation is an important part of this work, so that’s the work you do once the website is built.

But there’s also some best-practices you can follow when building or redesigning the website, like making sure all your copy is optimised for conversion, using specific psychological techniques, cadence, certain lengths and things like that.

And things like making sure that CTA or ‘call to action’ buttons are placed throughout the website, in the correct places, to encourage your users to take the actions required.

Basically, anything throughout the website that encourages clairty and ease in decision-making for the user—we want users making less decisions, but instead being intuitively guided towards the actions. And we don’t want too much fluff, fluff is bad!

And then as mentioned, there’s a bunch of audience research and behavioural monitoring that can help you to decide how people are using the website, how they might be getting stuck or where they might be forced to use their own initiative, which might prevent them from converting.

#6 Think about what you’ll need to integrate with

Number six, think about what types of integrations you’re going to need to be able to do.

This one is really important, but super tricky, I think.

When you’re picking your website provider, it’s helpful to know what other platforms you’ll need to use in the future, and whether or not they will ‘speak to’ or ‘integrate with’ your website.

I’m no expert in e-commerce, but I have a feeling that there would be way more to consider there.

One big integration consideration is your email service provider.

Whether you’re choosing Mailchimp or Klaviyo, Convertkit or Activecampaign, they all integrate differently with different platforms, and it’s really useful to understand the basics of this before signing up to a platform.

When thinking about using a certain platform, if you can book a demo session with a sales rep, that can be really useful as you can ask them those questions then, rather than having to go down blog rabbit holes trying to find your answers.

Another really useful way to find your answers is to find people who are running businesses similar to how you want to run yours, and then figuring out what stack of tech platforms they are using. And if you’re able to actually ask them how smooth the integration process is, even better.

#7 Build a website that is easy to maintain

Moving on to number seven…

So you’ll want to make sure that your website is easy and not too expensive to maintain.

There’s, let’s say, three ways to do this:

One you’ve decided that it’s within your budget to have someone else completely taking care of all maintenance and upkeep of your website (and the prices of this will differ depending on what platform you choose).

Two, you’ve built a website yourself, or had a website built for you that you will be able to completely, 100% manage yourself.

And three, a combination of the two. You’ve built or had built, a website that you can mostly manage yourself, but every now and then, if there’s something tricky or techy, you can have a web dev dive in and do that for you.

I’m not sure if this is just me and my preference, but I strongly prefer option three.

Currently I’m doing option 2, but I hope to be able to afford option three soon!

But anyway my point is that these preferences should factor into your decision.

There’s no point in paying $5000 for a WordPress website that you then don’t know how to use, and can’t afford to pay someone else to manage, or don’t want to include that in your budget.

In that case, you might want to put together a quick and easy website on Squarespace or something, and use that $5000 to pay someone to manage and upkeep the website until you’re making enough revenue to justify paying a pro to build you a kickarse website.

So yeah just worth keeping all of that in mind.

#8 Make sure it’s easy to track, measure and advertise with

And lastly, number eight; make sure your website can be tracked, measured and advertised with.

The main thing I’m talking about here is the ability to add tracking code for things like Google Analytics and Hotjar, doing split testing using something like Google Optimise, or adding a Facebook Pixel so that you can run retargeting ad campaigns with Instagram and Facebook.

Not all website platforms will allow you to do this, or they’ll make it quite difficult to do so, or they will charge you for that functionality, so just make sure you check up on that.

Also be aware that some platforms will give you analytics and SEO insights out of the box, that most probably won’t be powerful enough for you, won’t give you the information you really need.

Just be wary of platforms when they say ‘we provide everything you need’ or something like that, because it usually means that they do one thing super well and 10 other things pretty badly.

And as always, everyone feel free to message me on Instagram if you have questions, or fill out the question form.

Don’t forget to download the SEO guide and also to check out the new service, the Quick Sticks Website SEO Health Check.

Photo credit: Alizée Baudez

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