This is an article I wrote for the Five Q blog – Enjoy!
“Strategy is doing the right thingsand tactics are doing things right.” Everything rises and falls on your web strategy, which is why it is critical to place such emphasis on it being part of the project process, no matter how large or small.
Strategy questions are the foundation for any organization’s web initiatives. Without a solid web strategy, everything else will crumble and fall. Imagine building a house. You don’t start by nailing siding to the framing; you begin by determining the purpose and needs for the house:
- How you will use the house?
- Do you like to entertain or do you like private spaces?
- How many people will be living in it?
- Will you have occasional overnight guests or will your in-laws need a suite to live out their years?
- How much money and time can you afford to spend on building the house?
- What are the features you need to have now, and which ones can wait until later?
Having these determined first ensures that the plan foundation will be solid. A website is much the same way.
Preparing The Foundation
To build a web presence that you will not quickly outgrow, start with the following questions:
- Who are you talking to? Do you have a clear understanding of your existing web audience? Why do they come to your website? Why should they come? What are their unique needs compared to another audience type (e.g., a Baby Boomer vs. a Gen Xer)? How many different audience types do you expect to reach? How do they each use the Internet?
- Where is your audience going? If you have a website, where do you get most of your traffic on the website…and do you know why? Are you providing for your visitors’ needs or only your own? Where do you want people to go on your website (i.e., what are the main calls to action)?
- What media draws your audience? Are they looking for community and social interaction? Are you using audio and video content to engage your visitors? What formats and platforms should you make your content accessible in: desktop/laptop, mobile phones, tablets, impairment friendly?
- How do you build the right web team? Are you planning on maintaining the website and content yourself? Do you have an in-house web team? Does your team have all the necessary skills to take care of your web-related needs? Do you need the assistance of outside partners—vendors, agencies, interns, volunteers?
- When will you see a return on investment? What will you be measuring and analyzing? What are your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)? How will you know when you are meeting your targets? How do you know what strategies you will need to change or revise?
Can you see how these impact your project from the start?
Ready to Strategize?
These questions should be reviewed and revisited through your web project process as well as regularly after launch. Successful organizations are the ones that stay flexible enough to change, adapt, and grow when it makes good strategic sense.
Ready to get started? Take our self-evaluation form and take the first step toward building your successful web presence.
- Have you tried to create a web strategy? What parts did you find most and least valuable?
- What other core questions need to be answered before building a website?