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A web strategy is a long-term strategic business plan indicating how to create and develop a company’s online presence adhering to the business development strategy.
Depending on the business maturity, immediate needs, and long-term goals, the programme should yield different results. e.g. if the business is only starting to tap into the online space, then the web strategy programme will outline how the business should position itself online, what online media it should use to spread its message, how it should communicate with the customers, what services and products it should provide online, and what supporting infrastructure for the online operation should be in place.
A web strategy is created by a highly skilled business professional, the web strategist, who is knowledgeable in online trends, business, design, user experience and technology concepts and principles.
Elements of a Web Strategy
According to Silicon Valley executive, Jeremiah Owyang, the three elements of a web strategy consist of the following:
1) User The Web Strategist must understand (by using a variety of techniques and tactics) what users want. This is commonly known as User Experience Research which will create and craft a ‘mental model’
2) Business A website that is not aligned to business or market objectives is ultimately doomed to fail. The User and Business requirements will often match, but will rarely ever be a perfect fit. The Web Strategist) will need to obtain business requirements from stakeholders, whether that be execs, sponsors, sales, or even shareholders. Understanding the market, competitors (and key milestones) and other external forces are also required –a business requirements model will be formed, these are you objectives.
3) Tools Lastly, a Web Strategist needs to know how each and every tool and technology work, they’ll need to know the strengths, benefits, limitations and costs. This also applies to human capital, and timelines. Often technical limitations will reduce the scope of User and Business needs, so you’ll need to incorporate this going forward.
Key Questions to Consider
Jeremiah Owyang also suggests that a web strategy should include answering these questions:
•How do we align our website with our corporate objecives?
•How do we spend our resources?
•How do we measure our return on investment? •How do our customers think of our website?
•How do I prioritize our projects?
•What future technologies do I need to be aware of?
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The Impact of Social Media
Once a web strategy is in place, one way of launching the website immediately onto the Internet is through social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media applications have become indispensable tools for business, as companies and their employees regularly engage directly with the public (that is, customers, potential customers and even competitors), actively ‘sharing’ information across various social media platforms.
Social media enables two-way communication and collaboration. Organisations can utilised it to great success building a competitive advantage, generating business and engaging with their customers on a more personal level. Brand awareness social media posts are like virtual flyers or the online equivalent of newspaper ads. They build name recognition and help your small business start to form a brand identity.
· A way for businesses to broaden their exposure to the public at a much lower cost than traditional marketing
· Pay-per-click advertisements are ‘geo-targeted’ according to specific criteria, to reach the correct audience.
· Establishing a presence on widely used platforms can help target new customers and make the brand more visible
· Two-way communication facilitated by social media can improve customer service
· Enables businesses to gain new information about their customers
· Higher conversion rates. Social media is a place where brands can act like people do, and this is important because people like doing business with other people; not with companies.
· Followers are free to post their comments on these platforms, exposing the business to the possibility of negative publicity
· Hackers pose a threat to businesses on social media, i.e. false information can quickly go viral
· Updating the social media accounts takes time and effort
· Need to commit resources to managing your social media presence, responding to feedback and producing new content
· It can be difficult to quantify the return on investment and the value of one channel over another
Types of Questions Answered from a Web Strategy
According to one source from a company which specialises in web design, these are ten top questions which will be answered from producing a web strategy:
- What are the categories of customers who use your website?
- Does your website address the needs of each category of customer in a satisfactory way?
- What are the top 10 questions customers ask when they reach your website? How do you answer each of those top 10 questions?
- On each page of your website, what is the desired action you want the user to take on that page?
- What is considered a successful visit on your website?
- What is the average conversion rate for your industry and what is the target conversion rate for your website?
- Besides relying on search engines, directories, and advertising, what is your six-month plan for increasing the number of visitors to your website?
- What are the goals for your website in the next 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year?
- What lessons have you learned from your competitors in the last 6 months and how do you plan to apply those lessons in the next 6 months?
- What reason does a visitor have to tell others about your website?
- Strategic planning
- Web development
- Web application development
- Virtual business
- Google Analytics
- "Web Strategy: The Three Elements of Web Strategy | Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang | Digital Business". www.web-strategist.com. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
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