In today's tech-based society, every business needs a website. But with the internet crowded with competitors' websites, how are you supposed to create a web design that doesn't get lost in the crowd?
Many businesses use flashy websites with many animations and graphics to catch the eye. And while an appealing aesthetic is an important component of successful websites, it is not guaranteed to get the results you're looking for.
That's why you want to implement a website design strategy that takes your business, your audience, and your goals into account. That way, your website becomes more than just another pretty page on the internet. It becomes a business-building machine, supporting your business's goals and development.
What is Strategic Web Design?
So what is strategic web design? And why does it matter?
In its essence, web design strategy means choosing each of the key element of your design with your goals in mind. Each facet of your website, from the font and colors to the layout and calls to action, should push your visitors to your final objective.
Objectives differ from business to business and even between seasons. Do you want to increase site visitors to improve brand recognition? Or perhaps you want to sell more products to increase revenue. Maybe there is key information that you wish to provide to as many people as possible.
Regardless of your objective, you can build your website to achieve your goals. But it requires a strategy to do so effectively. Below you'll find eight steps that will help you do so.
8 Steps to Build the Right Web Design Strategy for Your Business
Step 1: Clarify your objective
The first thing you need to do when sitting down to design or redesign a website is to clarify what you want to achieve. If this idea overwhelms you, here are some questions to get you started.
- What are your goals?
- Why do you need a website in the first place?
- What do you hope to achieve?
- What could a website do for you? (Dream big!)
All right. Now that we've done a little brainstorming, I hope you have a little more clarity. Maybe it looks like one of these options:
- Drive more traffic to your website to discover more customers
- Gain user's attention with a good aesthetic so they spend longer on your site
- Increase sales of services or products to your ideal buyer persona
- Improve search engine optimization to rank higher in search results
These are just a few of businesses' many objectives for their websites. Identifying this now is essential because this goal or objective should direct every step of your web design from here on out.
Your website's purpose will shape each choice you make as you build your web design strategy.
Step 2: Consider Your Target Audience
Now that your objective is fixed, you need to consider your audience. You might already have a buyer persona or ideal client avatar for your business. If you do, that's great! Take a look at that avatar.
If you don't, then now is a great time to create buyer personas for your ideal customers. This avatar should include basic demographic information, such as general age, gender, region, perhaps income level, etc. Ultimately you're imagining the best client you can imagine for your business.
With these buyer personas in mind, consider what they would want or need from your website. Do they need information about your company and services before committing to an appointment?
Perhaps they're looking for reviews on your products before making a purchase. Maybe they want to be entertained by your blog or videos as they get to know you more. You want to keep these wants and needs at the forefront of your mind.
A website is often a delicate balancing act between satisfying a customer's or client's initial desires (so they don't get frustrated and leave) and guiding them along the path to your desired outcome: signing up for an appointment, buying a product or service, etc.
Another thing to keep in mind is the user experience. Potential customers are easily turned off by complicated or confusing websites that are difficult to navigate. Make sure to make your website user-friendly.
This is especially important when considering the age of your buyer personas. If they are used to navigating an online world, they will have more tolerance for confusion than someone not as experienced in online spaces. Also, consider the needs of someone with visual impairments and build accommodations into your plan.
All right, now that we have our objective identified and our target audience in mind, let's consider the next step for your web design.
Step 3: Remember Your Brand and Story
An essential element to consider when designing websites is integrating your brand image and your business story.
Incorporate Your Brand Strategy
The visual elements you've chosen for your business will be key design elements for your website.
Some key features from your branding to include in your web design strategy are:
- Font styles
- Brand colors
- Style (modern, classic, abstract, etc.)
- Other images associated with your business.
Consistent use of these elements helps brand recognition, business reputation, and more. Your brand's personality should be communicated repeatedly to the consumer from your landing page to each drop-down menu.
However, telling your customers who your business is goes beyond how your brand appears on the page. Business storytelling is the most effective way to create an emotional connection between your business and your buyer.
So what is it, exactly? Business storytelling uses stories about your business, values, customers, and more to achieve an objective. This objective can be making a personal connection between your business and your ideal buyer, describing positive outcomes to demonstrate your effectiveness, building trust between teams or employees, etc.
For your website, you incorporate your business storytelling to further the primary objectives and goals we established in step one.
If your goal is to bring more customers in, you want to explain your unique value proposition in depth to show them how you can make the difference they're looking for. If you want to encourage visitors to spend more time on your website, you tell stories (relevant to your business) that make them want to stay to hear the end.
Humans have been using stories since the beginning of our species to convey key information. Despite the time and technological advancements between then and now, we are still the same. Stories are key. So make sure to incorporate them into your web design strategy.
Step 4: Evaluate Your Content
As an extension of considering how to tell your story, your next step should be to evaluate your content. And this step comes in two parts as well.
Previously Created Content
Chances are, if you have been in business for any time, you already have some content created. This can be from newsletters, social media posts, etc. Whatever copy or images you have can be repurposed on your website.
So how do you decide what to reuse? You've probably already guessed, but you decide if it helps you achieve the goal from step one. You make sure that it appeals to your buyer personas from step two. Then you ensure that it communicates your brand image or tells a story essential to your business.
If it meets these qualifications, it's perfect for your website.
Brainstorm New Content
You will also want to determine what kind of new content you will use on your website. Do you plan to have a blog? Or perhaps a series of videos? Tutorials? Product advertisement videos?
The options in our modern landscape are endless. So that is why you will want to narrow your focus to what will achieve your objective, appeal to your audience, and communicate your brand. I hope you see the trend we're building here.
As part of your content strategy, you will want to consider what will draw website visitors, rank well on search engine results pages, show well on mobile devices, etc. As part of this, you might want to do basic keyword research for your business and see what pops up on search engines.
Once you have completed these four steps, we are ready to begin creating your web design strategy.
Step 5: Create your Website Strategy
Now that we have identified the purpose of our website, who we are building it for, what brand elements and storytelling we need to include, and what our content needs are, we are ready to begin building our strategy.
The first thing you need to do is determine what your site design will look like. Before jumping into the home page or landing page, you need to consider what website pages you will include.
In general, you'll probably have an About section, and then you'll have other sections for services descriptions, a section detailing your products and prices, perhaps a section for your blog, etc.
Since you already know what content you will include, now is a good time to sketch out where this content will appear on your website. Once you understand what you'll need in the 'scaffold' of your website, make sure you plan for website navigation. How will your users navigate from one website page to the next?
Calls to Action
The next part of your plan should be to plan the placement of your call to action. A call to action invites your website visitors to complete an action that moves them down the gameboard to your ultimate objective.
There should be several, and they should be incorporated in different places throughout your website.
This is a key part of your communication strategy: tell the stories and describe your services or products to prepare your user for the call to action.
Call-to-action buttons should be included on every main web page of your website. It could be an invitation to join a newsletter in exchange for a discount or free resource. Or perhaps, after a blog comparing different brands of a product you offer, it's an invitation to visit your online storefront to make a purchase.
Many websites lose their effectiveness because they expect the user to jump from one area to another, such as from a product description to add the item to their cart or from the blog to the store.
But for each extra click, you include between each area of your site and your end objective, the higher your chance that your buyer will click away.
So include calls to action in different ways on your website. And make sure they follow your strategy.
Step 6: Build Your Website
You have your plan in place, and now you need to execute it. The web design process can seem tedious depending on the platform you're using and your expertise.
Don't forget that web designers can help you by executing the plan you've created for your website. A web designer already knows the platform and essential web design techniques, which can save you time and effort if you're willing to invest money.
Here are a few things to consider as you execute your plan and build your website.
As you build each website page, you will want to include design elements effectively to engage your users' attention. To do this, you will need to consider the following:
- Page layout (menus, text boxes, drop-down menus, images, etc.)
- Use of negative space
- Colors, fonts, brand elements
- Interactive elements
- Mobile Optimization
Top web design strategies use layout to move a user's attention across the page to the important information and call to action. Interactions and animations are also great ways to encourage users to follow the path you create to achieve your objective.
While it can be tempting to throw in all the bells and whistles, you still want to consider how everything on your page will translate on mobile devices. Creating websites can be fun, but throwing in random elements to your new site will not make it more effective--usually, it will do the opposite.
You are a business owner building a digital presence to attract your ideal client. So keep your strategic web design objectives in mind.
Search Engine Optimization
An important factor to consider as you build your website is SEO. There are multiple strategies to improve your ranking with search engines. Here are a few key ones:
- Mobile-first indexing: most search engines understand that people search using their mobile devices, so they prioritize mobile-friendly sites
- Meta descriptions: these are short description of what your website is about and is generally shown to users in search engine lists
- Informative page copy: many of these engines also prioritize the results they think provide the most 'value' or information. This is where good copyrighting and the right content will help you.
- Essential keywords: phrases and words that your target audience will use to find your services or company should be organically sprinkled throughout your website. They're like breadcrumbs that will lead back to your new website.
Making sure to consider these elements as you build out your website design will help improve your ranking and allow your business to be discovered by more customers.
Step 7: Monitor Your Results
Congratulations! Once your website has been built and you hit publish, you're done. Right? Not quite. The work is not yet over because we need to evaluate how the new website performs. We have to make sure that it meets your objective.
Generally, you want a few weeks to measure your website's performance. Having a good analytics program will help you evaluate this. Are you getting the visitors you were hoping for? Are any sales coming through?
If you don't get much traction initially, you will want to try marketing campaigns to draw attention to your website. Another thing search engines like are websites that get a lot of visitors and clicks.
Once you have some data about your website, move on to the last step.
Step 8: Adjust Accordingly
The truth is that the last two steps in this process might be repeated indefinitely. Regularly checking your website to see its performance is essential for long-term success. And once you've identified where it is doing well and where it isn't, it's time to adjust your strategy.
Are your marketing efforts succeeding? If not, then perhaps try a new campaign.
Try doing a Google search for your business or using keywords related to your service or products. Find where each web page ranks. Are there any things you can do (improving your meta descriptions, checking your mobile optimization, adding more keyword-rich content) that can help your ranking?
Get reviews from recent customers who have visited your website pages. Feedback is essential for seeing things from the customer's point of view.
Put Your Web Design Strategies Into Action
Now that you know the steps for a strategic website design, it's time to implement the theory. Create your strategy, build your website, and monitor the results. And if something isn't working, don't be afraid to try something new. The internet landscape is always changing. Don't be afraid to change with it.
Feeling overwhelmed? You don't have to tackle building your own website. Instead, contact our professional team for customized web design strategies tailored to your brand.