Strategy & Planning, Site Architecture, Content Strategy

Your website is often the first way your clients and prospects learn about your brand. It must quickly capture interest, gain trust, and guide your visitors to the right content. The goal: convert prospects into customers and drive sales.

Strategy and planning is an important first step in any web design or redesign project, to ensure that the results meet your goals and deliver ROI. 

The website strategy process looks a bit like this:

  • Hold a collaborative kickoff meeting with all client stakeholders and project collaborators.
  • Identify key features and map to business goals and buyer persona needs.
  • Create a strategy brief, sitemap wireframes, and software development spec.
  • SEO and analytics review of the existing website and key competitor performance.
  • Content strategy and messaging development.
  • Prioritize features based on your highest priority initiatives.

Here’s what’s considered in a website strategy:

We review your ICP (ideal customer profile) and buyer personas, current and competitor analytics and business goals; your company’s brand attributes and your website goals. Conversation topics include:

  • What does success look like for the site?
  • What’s working and not working about your current marketing, branding, website, and other marketing materials?
  • What market trends can you foresee impacting the way people will interact with your company?
  • Describe an ideal customer (there are likely a few personas here), in terms of their demographics, and other websites that they may often visit.
  • What key messages resonate within the sales cycle? 
  • What features are must-haves, shoulds, or nice-to-haves for both users and admin users?
  • How does the list change when we consider time and budget?

We hold a collaborative kickoff meeting to discuss your digital marketing in depth, including overall needs/goals, what’s worked well in the past, and how you stack up against your competitors. Armed with information you share, and our research, we create a practical metrics-driven strategy that makes the best use of available resources. 

Delivering a practical, easy-to-follow website strategy

Long before products make it to production, they exist as a CAD file. Think of the strategy and planning deliverables as your website’s CAD file equivalent.

The strategy brief is a first draft overview of how you can improve or optimize your site’s user experience and effectiveness. It includes:

  • Project challenges and solutions
  • Website information architecture 
  • SEO-informed content strategy
  • Key personas and website audiences
  • User Flows
  • Goals, metrics, KPIs

After review and collaborative feedback, we’ll flesh out the website planning further with detailed documentation including:

  • Sitemap (a document of all website pages)
  • Wireframes (webpage blueprints)
  • Software development doc (for complex projects)

Depending on project complexity, we often collaborate on a detailed feature prioritization map using the MoSCoW process, which maps what’s a must-have, nice-to-have, and won’t-have. A separate technical strategy session is often held for sites that integrate with third-party systems, followed with a software development specification document.

We may also consider additional research tools and strategies depending on your project’s needs, but we prioritize action over getting buried in unnecessary data. Some of these tools include:

  • Heatmap reviews
  • Card-sort exercises
  • Customer interviews
  • Sales demo or role-playing
  • Feedback surveys or polls
  • Tree testing plans

Scoping and planning for greatest impact and return

For complex projects where strategy and planning is a separate scope of work we always include conversations throughout the project around budget and ROI. This includes a build budget we create collaboratively.

A detailed build estimate will account for UX recommendations, budget and timeline priorities, and often a suggested phased approach that shows where you first can make the biggest impact.

User experience planning for technical industries and website admins

Through usability studies, focus groups with engineers, and extensive professional experience, our UX strategists understand how technical audiences, such as engineers, scientists or surgeons, interact with websites. We look closely at user flows and information finding patterns to optimize how visitors locate information and perform tasks on your website. These insights and findings influence the site’s final design and functionality.

In addition to creating websites that attract and captivate your audience, we build them so anyone can maintain the content. Our focus on your site’s administrator role ensures you won’t get frustrated when content updates are made.

Looking for a strategic partner to help you create a website that converts your prospects into customers and drives sales? Let’s Talk