9.5.17

Is the website planning process a part of your business strategy?

BY JENSEN SMITH

5 areas of your website strategy you should focus on that can help improve your business.

A couple weeks ago we discussed how the Halo Effect could have a negative impact on your business. In a nutshell, if your website isn’t great, it could turn off potential customers and cause them to think of you in a not-so-positive light. 

So, what are the benefits of having a well-thought out website planning process? Well, primarily, it will leave a good first impression on your audience and yield mutually beneficial interactions. There are specific areas of your website on which you should focus that will, overall, ensure it’s it in the best shape. 

Here are 5 aspects of website strategy you should focus on and how they can make your business better: 

Page names and content organization. Information finding is the name and simplicity is the game.  Users go to your website because they want information quickly and easily (see more on this below). Page names should be clear (and not necessarily shortened) and organized into groups that are logical. For example, you should never forego a logical category name like “About Us” for something vague like “A Glance at Our Company.”

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Our friends at Nielsen Norman Group said it perfectly: “Old words are better. When users understand their choices, they're more likely to pick the right one. Speak plainly and speak simply. If users don't understand a menu item, they're less likely to click on it. Paradoxically, companies are particularly prone to making up fancy terms for their newest and most important offerings, thus shooting themselves in the foot with a double-barreled rifle.”

The same goes for how you organize your pages. Think about what kind of information a user would expect to find under your Products category. If you thought “a list of products and information about those products” would make sense, you’re basically a UX expert. You wouldn’t put Awards under Products, even if your awards are strictly related to that Product – that information belongs with more general company information under About Us.

Responsive. Actually Responsive. It’s amazing how many websites are still out there that do not deliver an optimal mobile experience for users. Don’t be one of them. Responsive doesn’t mean your desktop site scaled down to fit on a mobile screen (that’s just mobile friendly) – it means a specialized experience for mobile devices with clear parallels to the full site. Pages will have to be arranged differently, the menu will need to be formatted differently, fancy animations might have to be eliminated among many other considerations. If your users are frustrated with your mobile experience they probably won’t bother with desktop.

Website Strategy
Succinct, Useful Copy and Clear CTAs. Get to the point and get there quickly. If you think people want to read fluffy copy and belabored points, then stop it. Stop it now. Regarding CTAs, make sure it’s very clear what you’d like a user to do and give them that option. If you want a user to click a button to order a product, don’t spend a paragraph talking about how a consultation changed someone’s business, get your user excited, then make them navigate to an entirely different page to then fill out a laborious form. Get that short intriguing copy and a form above the fold all on one page. 

Design That’s Relatable to Your Target Audience. You wouldn’t pair a salesperson or account manager with a client if they couldn’t get along. So why would you design a website that doesn’t relate to your target audience? You read that right – your website is another salesperson. If you’re selling a car that’s commonly used for a rougher terrain and attracts a less-luxurious audience, you probably wouldn’t design a site that uses pastel colors, buttons with rounded corners and floating cloud animations. But that design might work if you were selling perfume. See what I mean? 

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What about the capabilities of your target audience? Are they older and potentially have sight issues? You should make the text bigger and CTAs larger and bolder. If your online “salesperson” doesn’t have the right qualities, it probably can’t do its job.

Design, But Not for the Sake of Design. Good design might seem like a no-brainer, but we have to start thinking of it differently. It’s not just about making something look better with pretty colors and cool graphics, it’s about transitioning our priority to UX design. How does the organization of homepage elements showcase the most important messages about the company? How does the color of certain text reveal to a user it’s clickable? Is this form cleanly designed above the fold so a user can easily fill it out? Is there enough whitespace on this page so the user understands what the focus is? 

These are the things that keep us up at night when we’re designing websites. We have a team of experts here ready to help take your site to the next level. Interested? Contact us!

Jensen Smith
written by JENSEN SMITH

Jensen is an account manager at Carbon8. Her experience includes marketing communications with an emphasis on branding, digital and traditional advertising and media relations. She is results-oriented with a passion for client service and coming up with creative solutions.

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