By RSA | September 2, 2009
Having a web strategy is a lot like declaring a major in college – once you decide on a career path and declare your major, you have a clear objective, something to work toward. This defines the classes you take, maybe your extra curricular activities, and even the people you associate with.
What’s your objective?
Defining your objective helps you focus on the building blocks required to successfully take you from your freshman year to graduation to a promising career (this also makes your parents happy, as you will graduate on time and end up costing them less money).
If you don’t declare your major, you may take alot of classes and feel like you know alot of “stuff”, but none of it will lead to an actual career (last time I checked, “career students” didn’t get paid very well).
If you just take classes with no goal in mind, you will be missing pieces of your education. This will mean additional semesters, which will lead to added years of college – a college education doesn’t come cheap, so unless you have money to waste, this also means more money will be spent trying to “figure it out as you go along”. The same situation can be applied to your website.
If you have a website with no objective and therefore no strategy, to put it bluntly, you are wasting your money.
With no strategy, your web presence is floundering around in “cyberspace” with no real purpose – it’s just kinda “there”. It may be a place you can refer existing customers to, but if they’re already your customers – unless your website is a customer service tool – why are you sending them to your website if they already know you?
Goals are important, they make you aware of how people use your site and give you the opportunity to adjust the strategy to meet their expectations.
What do you want people to do once they find your site? Do you have something to sell? Do you want them to contact you, visit a specific page, learn something, download a PDF? Is there a way for you to stay in contact with them? Do you want them to return – are you giving people a compelling reason to come back to your site?
If there are no goals in place, then there are no goals for your users to accomplish, no conversions to track, and no way of measuring the success of your website…if you can’t measure the success of your website, what’s the point?
Many people build websites with no strategy and then they wonder why it didn’t work – it may look nice, but where’s the growth? Why isn’t it bringing more leads? Why isn’t it generating sales? Why aren’t there more revisits to the site? Where’s my return on investment?
A web strategy is an investment and it will show you a return – its primary focus is on an objective tied to your business goals, whether that be making money, creating awareness, changing minds, or encouraging involvement.
(photos courtesy of lilit via flickr)