When you work with a website copywriter, designer, or developer, sometimes it’s hard to know exactly who “owns” the website strategy.
Every website collaborator is going to have different strengths, of course, but they all should be fairly well-versed in what goes into a successful website. Otherwise, you could end up with a website that looks gorgeous but doesn’t perform.
I know, it’s not as fun to think about how your website design will function versus how it will look, but you won’t want to skip over this part–trust me!
If you are DIY-ing your own website or want to make sure you understand the basics before you work with someone, let’s dig into how to create a foolproof website strategy.
You’ll want to make sure you go through all of these steps before you touch your website design or copywriting. You’ll thank me afterward!
Establish your main website goals
If you aren’t aware of the goals behind your website, you won’t be able to create it strategically. Although it may be tempting to jump right into building your website, it’s better to take a step back and determine why you’re building it in the first place. Once you set your goals, prioritize them based on your business model.
Common website goals can include:
- generating leads for your business
- building your audience (through your email list and beyond)
- introducing new offers
- sharing your story and what sets your brand apart
- positioning your brand against competitors in the market
Your website goals may be completely different from what’s on this list, but it’s best to jot them down. This leads us perfectly into our next section.
Choose your CTAs
Once you choose your primary website goals, you can use them to inspire your calls-to-action (CTAs, for short). Your CTAs are anything that directs your audience to take a specific action. It connects the goal with the action someone needs to take to get there.
Here’s an example of this in action:
Let’s say your website’s biggest goal is to introduce your membership community and attract new members. Some of your CTAs throughout the website, then, could be to direct visitors to your membership sales page before you give them the option to purchase a monthly membership.
You don’t have to lead a membership community for this to be relevant for you. Just replace what you sell in the example and determine which steps your audience need to take before they will comfortably and confidently buy from you. This will create the best path for your website user.
See? It’s quite simple!
Create your website structure
With your goals and CTAs in mind, now it’s time to think about how you want to structure your website. I created an in-depth guide on website structure previously, but let’s break down the bigger ideas.
Your first step in structuring your website is to determine how many pages you need to create.
Start by listing the pages you currently have and decide if you need any additional pages. If you want to optimize your website for SEO (which I highly recommend!), you might want to think about the keywords you’re hoping to target and whether or not that means you need to create any more pages. If you do, you can always do this over time so you don’t overwhelm yourself in the beginning. You’ve got this!
We already talked about defining your CTAs, but now is your time to pair one CTA with each page on your website. Remember to choose ONLY ONE. Otherwise, you risk giving your audience analysis paralysis, which isn’t fun for anyone involved.
Once you have an idea of the pages and CTAs you need, let’s think about the user pathways you want to create. If you’re anything like me, you loved choose-your-own-adventure books growing up. It was fun to feel like you could totally change the trajectory of a story based on your decisions.
Creating pathways on your website does the same thing, only your visitor gets to the hero of the story (something the StoryBrand framework talks a lot about!). Based on the steps they take and the places they click, you’ll lead your visitor through your website to help them get to where they want to go.
It’s so helpful to think about these pathways before you get started in the website creation process. That way, you’ve already defined how you want to direct people through your website, influencing how you organize all of your website content from here on out.
Organize your website navigation
You’ve probably noticed the collection of links people put at the top of their website, but have you ever thought about how they decided on which links to feature? This usually comes into play during the website strategy process.
To learn more about website navigation, you can learn from this guide I created on the subject, but let’s break down the basics. Your top website navigation bar is meant to show off the most important pages on your website. That may seem obvious, but what’s not so obvious is how many you should include.
I usually recommend for website creators to choose four to six pages for their website navigation. Otherwise, it gets way too overwhelming for your audience to know where they should click next.
Some of the most common pages you’ll see in this top website navigation are:
- Home, the central hub of your entire website
- About, the place people go to learn more about you and your brand
- Services, the full outline of your service offerings
- Portfolio, the place visitors go to see your past work examples
- Blog, the place visitors go to learn from you and access your expertise
- Contact, the place visitors go to personally connect you with
Of course, you can swap any of these page links for ones that make the most sense for your business. After all, that’s why we’re talking about creating a custom website strategy! However, hopefully this list will give you a helpful example.
Once you determine what your main website navigation will be, then you can think about your footer navigation. This typically can be found at the very bottom of your website. You can repeat some of the same links from your top navigation if they feel important, but you are also able to select more links for this space.
Here’s a look at my footer navigation to give you inspiration:
You’ll see that I’ve selected eight different page links for my footer, but you can design and structure it however you’d like. Make sure you revisit your website goals before you finalize your navigation!
Now you’re ready to move on from website strategy!
Is that music to your ears?
Good, because it’s time to refocus your energy on your website design and copywriting!
At Digital Grace Design, I work with clients on both to ensure their website is the best representation of their brand. If you’re interested in learning more and seeing if we’re the right fit, click here to get started!