10 best practices to adopt during web strategic planning
Strategic web planning is vital to the sustainability and profitability of a website. It must be a corporate project rather than that of a business unit. That's why I'm giving you 10 good practices for successful strategic thinking before creating or redesigning it.
1. OVERCOME THE SILED MANAGEMENT OF YOUR ORGANIZATION
Everyone knows it, everyone has identified it, but no one is able to overcome this dunce that harms the communication of so many organizations. Note that the main interfaces they put in place such as the website, the call center and communications are a copy of this. How can the user/customer find his way around easily? He doesn't want to see your organization, he wants to consume your products/services. We have to come to terms with this organizational shortcoming until managers trust the people they have hired more, but that's another story. The easiest way to break down its silos is to meet all the units affected by the operations of the website. Everyone has a right to speak allowing them to communicate their reality, their frustrations, their challenges.
2. MOBILIZE SENIOR MANAGEMENT ON THE STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE OF THE WEBSITE
A daunting task awaits you. All CA or CE members will tell you: “The Internet is the future, the website is important, we can generate savings if it is well organised”. In reality, few of them consult it and understand its real value. Your job will be to prove its strategic value by presenting its contribution to them in comparison to other entities of the company. To do this, present them with the main financial indicators of the site. Speak their language, that of money, develop your own communication strategy. The budgets will come out, the decision-making power too.
3. ESTABLISH WEBSITE GOVERNANCE
Another critical point related to the organization. I often tell our clients that the success of a website depends above all on its management, management provided by humans. From a poorly organized and inefficient web offer arises an organizational problem. Historically, Marketing Communications and IT jointly manage the site and must respond to requests from other units. IT dictates the technological constraints suddenly breaking the momentum of marketing communications that consider the web as a medium rather than an element specific to the company's value chain. The solution is to give equivalent roles to everyone by including a manager from each affected unit when planning the site.
4. SET MEASURABLE GOALS
The site, by its model, has a mission and the performance indicators are used to measure whether the site contributes to the achievement of the company's business objectives. We are therefore very far from measuring the number of unique visitors to your site. The performance of the site must be measured according to the 3 elements of the trinity of Avinash Kaushik : behavior, satisfaction and results. By choosing the right KPIs and setting targets to be achieved for the site, like the company's other business units, managers will value its contribution and focus on its continuous optimization. All this upstream work will have an influence on the choice of the measurement tool and the definition of the requirements in the choice of a technology supplier.
5. IDENTIFY PERSONAS BASED ON BROWSING BEHAVIOR ON YOUR SITE, NOT BASED ON YOUR MARKET SEGMENTS
A persona is a collection of discriminating browsing behaviors of users on your site. They can group together several market segments or conversely the same market segment can include several personas. It is mainly used to properly map the set of tasks that can be performed on the site which will be declined in the event of use to end up in content architecture. We can prioritize content, features according to their needs. It also breaks the organizational straitjacket mentioned in the first point. 😉
6. CONDUCT COMPETITIVE INTELLIGENCE CONTINUOUSLY
Competitive intelligence serves as an ideation base for your site (present or future), but also to quickly identify opportunities and threats from your online industry. You identify best practices, you estimate the relevance of your web offer in your industry and you discover competitors that you had not thought were so direct. It consists of drawing inspiration from best practices from similar industries having to deal with similar problems. You should also constantly track search trends on your most popular keywords or test potential keywords with, for example, Google Insight . It contributes to the determination of personas , discovering new competitors, new markets and prioritizing certain content to produce. Several sites or tools , including the benchmark feature of Google Analytics, help you easily track your industry. Remember that this work must be done continuously.
7. CONCENTRATE YOUR SEO EFFORTS UPSTREAM AND DOWNSTREAM OF THE PRODUCTION OF THE SITE
Google is the unifying site for any user on the Internet. Your competitive position is closely linked to your positioning in search results. From competitive intelligence, therefore upstream of production, you discover, select and prioritize the main keywords sought by your personas . They will improve the structure of your site and help you create new content. You can then customize your HTML tags. You define the technical requirements for the front-end and the back-end of the new site.
8. CENTER CONTENT ARCHITECTURE ON THE USER
By doing so, you break the dogma of the site tracing the organizational chart of the organization ( point 1 ). The user (or the client) doesn't give a damn about your organizational reality, he doesn't care that two complementary products are managed by two vice-presidencies. He wants the site to meet his needs. Never forget that all users go on the Internet with a purpose. You know this and you should consider every interaction with your customer as a moment of truth. Identifying personas ( point 5 ), strategic monitoring ( point 6 ), and respecting the main objectives of the site so as not to repeat the error made by the majority of large companies on the Internet.
9. SAVE BUDGET AND RESOURCES FOR CONTINUOUS WEBSITE IMPROVEMENT
The majority of companies all fall into the same trap: they invest all their budget in the redesign or creation of their site, without maintaining the investments for the future. The managers believe that the site will be able to live for 1, 2 or 3 years without making any structural changes or improvements! Worse still, they delegate all the management of the site to the Webmaster. This poor devil will have to combine all the functions such as campaign management, performance measurement, web marketing strategy and try to get the most out of it... without dying. However, dear manager, a site should constantly be tested, optimized and marketed, otherwise you will never meet the objectives you have set in point 3.
10. HAVE A DEVELOPMENT PLAN WITH MAJOR STEPS
Not all the tactics proposed for your site can be implemented: financial, technological and human constraints oblige. You have to prioritize according to the objectives, the needs of the personas and your resources. A new web strategy necessarily impacts the people who operate it. Their routine may change: some tasks disappear and some processes will no longer be the same. We talk about change management: the commercial practice of the company must adapt. No need to bet everything without being able to maintain everything. The evolution must be done gradually, you will avoid shocking the most refractory or discouraging your most ardent faithful.