You've decided that your company needs a new website, so what's the first thing to do? Appoint a designer to produce some dazzling graphics, or find an expert developer who knows how to wrangle all the latest technologies?

These are common mistakes that many companies make and as such we see many websites that look great but achieve nothing, or are very easy to use but look awful. No matter what size your business is, the first place to start any website is to produce a strategy.

Five reasons why you need a website strategy

1. Clear Objectives

Without objectives your website is like a ship without a rudder. Do you want your website to produce leads, be a customer support tool or sell products online? List the goals and prioritise them so you know what the real focus is. Begin with the end in mind and your website will be a success.

2. Customer insight

Taking the time to research what content your customers want is extremely important. If your website's main objective is to produce sales leads then the main content will be based around product pages. You can answer their questions and tell them how your product will benefit them. Many websites make the mistake of showing too much irrelevant content that visitors are simply not interested in.

3. Measurable Success

Your strategy should include measurement tools such as Google Analytics. This allows you to know what your visitors are doing, how they are finding you, what content is being viewed and if all of these things match up to your objectives. Your website is more measurable than any other marketing tool so you can review and develop your website regularly based on facts.

4. Competitive Edge

A well planned website can put you ahead of your competitors by being far more effective in generating enquiries and sales. The design will be customer driven with content that visitors want. Search engine optimisation from the start will result in higher rankings and more visitors. Always research your competitors website as part of your planning so you know where you can provide a better online offering.

5. Look at the big picture

Without a strategy you may not know what you’re missing, make sure you consider the big picture. Digital marketing can help every company and it doesn't stop at a website.

Email marketing, search engine optimisation and social media can all be beneficial in promoting your company and increasing relevant traffic to your website. Investigate what your customers are doing online and how your website strategy can reach as many of them as possible.

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