Preparation for A Website Project: The Coding Bull Website Strategy

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As you know, websites are popular platforms for digital marketing. Online marketing campaigns, eCommerce, mobile apps, social media, even word of mouth referrals, all rely on a sophisticated web environment that performs reliably.

Design alone can’t ensure an effective, secure, and scalable website. A web project must take technology trends as well as marketing strategy into account.

The Coding Bull’s website design and development services deliver websites that empower business owners to tap into the ever-growing internet world for opportunities to grow their business and avoid the pains associated with poorly-defined project scopes.

As you know, building a website is an investment with a pretty big price tag. According to “Improving IT Project Outcomes by Systematically Managing and Hedging Risk,” a 2009 IDC report by Dana Wiklund and Joseph C. Pucciarelli, 25% of all website projects still fail to launch after the budget is spent, and some companies even go over the budget by as much as 60%.

These web projects often go over budget happens because the website fails to meet business’s actual needs. When there are new project requirements, we have to make technical decisions as afterthoughts, which make things expensive. It’s like adding a basement to the house after the house has already been developed.

Why are the business’s needs so hard to predict?

As industry outsiders, company owners may not have a solid idea of what they need on the website before building it because there are many factors that they are not aware of.

It is often the case that before having a consultation with our digital strategists, many business owners think that having a new website means they would automatically be rewarded with more traffic, hence more business.

Sadly, this is a fairy tale.

For you to get new business opportunities from the internet, you have to constantly execute digital marketing campaigns, so that you can attract and retain your online traffic.

This statement is still true even if you are heavily relying on your customer referrals because other competitors can track down the people who go to your website and blast them with ads day and night.

Fortunately, you can fight that with some digital marketing techniques, but that’s another topic for another time. Here’s a case study showing how we defended this “traffic stealing” action for our client:

Digital marketing is a fast-paced chess game. Unlike other traditional marketing channels, you can constantly monitor competitors’ activities and see results in a couple of days. This nature allows businesses to deploy and test new marketing techniques rapidly.

It is also because of this ever-changing and fast-paced nature, a digital marketing team requires heavy technical support, which explains why the needs on the website are so unpredictable as well.

Even though digital marketing campaigns are always unique, the functionalities that they require from the website are predictable.

For example, if a B2B company wants to run a weekly newsletter campaign to educate its potential customers about the industry trends, that company website must have a blog and a newsletter subscription function. The content of each newsletter is different, but the functions required are the same for all newsletters.

That’s why our solution to this unpredictable problem is to have our multi-disciplinary team of digital marketing specialists gather objective data to build a complete website strategy including recommendations for feature, functionality, content and digital marketing methods.

Website Strategy – In Article

This way, we can foresee all the potential needs for the website and make sure the completed website is ready to do its job for your company without delays, budget over-runs and scope creep.

What’s in The Coding Bull Website Strategy?

A website strategy can take from two to four weeks. Here are the things that we are going to do. Every detail in the following steps will be presented to you during our website strategy meeting.

Part 1 – Research your business and industry

Business Objective

  • Preliminary Research On The Industry
    Gain an understanding of how the industry works. Understand the business model, services or goods provided, and the common target customers segments.
  • Preliminary Research On The Business
    We want to find out your competitive advantage by researching it through the internet, instead of relying on what you tell us. This way, we can see if people see the value of your company through your online presence.
  • Competitors Discovery
    From our industry research, we can see the most threatening competitors of yours on the Internet so that we can focus our competitive research around them.

Part 2 – Know what’s working, what’s not, and what should be working

We will meet some key members of your company and discuss the current website as well as the objectives of the new website.

  • Business Owner Interviews
    Besides having the website to get more business, business owners sometimes have personal reasons for investing in a new website, e.g., one of our clients rebuilt the website for his company so that he could sell the company at a much higher value.
  • Marketing Manager Interviews
    To understand what’s required of the website in their original marketing plan. If they have implemented a digital marketing campaign before, we will want to know how the performance and how the new website could facilitate their execution.

Part 3 – Current Website Performance Audit

Website Performance

If there’s an existing website already, we can unearth hidden issues on your current website that undermine the marketing performance. Knowing these data will set a benchmark for us to surpass with the new website. Here are the things that we will check:

  • Website Loading Speed
    If your website has a long loading time, people are likely to leave the website immediately. It’s bad for the user experience. Due to poor user experience, ad networks will punish you by increasing your ad cost. Search engines will also rank you lower because they are trying to serve their users a good browsing experience.
  • Website Traffic Quality Analysis
    You have 1000 people browsing website from Australia, but if you only serve the Vancouver market, the traffic is not going to convert. Knowing the traffic quality let us find out if it’s your website that is not converting, or if we are simply talking to the wrong people.
  • Search Engine Crawlability
    This step helps us evaluate your website’s search engine friendliness. If you can surf your website, it doesn’t mean the bot from Google knows how to serve your website. There might be coding issues blocking Google to fully index your website.
  • Backlinks Audit
    Backlinks are the most important factor that Google considers when they rank your website. A backlink audit analyzes your current links (also called your link profile) and evaluates how good they are for your site. It also reveals any risky links and shows you how you can improve your SEO strategy.
  • User Friendliness Audit
    We will know if a website is user-friendly by looking at the user’s behavior on the website. Usually, website with bad user experience sees a much higher bounce rate.
  • Mobile Responsiveness
    If the website looks good on your devices, it doesn’t mean it would look good on other people’ devices. We have to run systematic browser and resolution tests on your website to see if the website looks good on all devices.

Part 4 – Research & Compare Competitors Marketing Activities

Competitive Research

We gather data on your competitors’ digital marketing activities and their performances to see where we should invest our digital marketing budget. Once we know our marketing channels, we can complete the website feature list and set priorities on the features based on the potential return of a digital marketing campaign.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Audit
    SEO audit checks if your website is structured in a way that search engines understand. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words to URL’s, all these have to be structured correctly. This step helps us evaluate your website and competitors’ search engine friendliness and visibility.
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Audit
    If you had a plumbing company and you googled the keyword “Vancouver Plumbing Service,” which position would you see yourself on Google? Front page? Second page? What about your competitors? Are they ranked higher or lower than you with that keyword? Through SEM audit, we can see what keywords are associated with your website and your competitors’, as well as where do you and your competitors rank with those keywords on search engines.
  • Content Audit
    Conducting a content audit for SEO purposes helps us to identify any weak spots in your site’s search engine optimization as well as your competitors. For example, our client, Hilltop Plumbing’s competitors barely cover any plumbing services on their website, so we helped them create multiple location service pages.
  • Social Media Audit
    A social media audit is a process of assessing what’s working, what’s failing and what can be improved upon comparing your competitors’ social media channels.
  • Backlinks Portfolio Audit
    First, we examine your competitors’ backlinks portfolio to get a sense of their backlink sources. Then, we can see if employing a strategy to build backlinks from other relevant, credible, and authoritative domains is financially feasible.
  • Moz Domain Authority / Page Authority Audit
    Moz developed Domain Authority (overall website ranking) and Page Authority (individual pages) to predict how well a website ranks on search engine result pages using numerical analysis. It gives you a score for your website’s domain authority and page authority. Knowing these numbers help us know the potential challenge to execute certain marketing strategies with the new website.
  • Pay-Per-Click Campaign Audit
    We can see what keywords your competitors are bidding on, how much they are bidding for each keyword and also what are their ad copy. Through this, we can see if PPC is the right channel for us because we can see whether we can outbid them or write better ad copy.
  • Facebook Ads Spy
    With the right elements in place, using Facebook ads can bring your business truckloads of leads and sales. By spying on your competitors, we can see what are the right Facebook ads elements for your industry. We can see if we could replicate similar elements or exceed the current standard by looking at the required effort and resources to do so.
  • Competitors’ Websites Traffic Audit
    Last but not the least, after knowing the marketing activities of your competitors, we want to know how much traffic they get. This way, we will know what’s working for them, what’s not, their digital marketing spend and the results. From this, we can also predict the results of our future digital marketing campaign results.

Part 5 – Audience Definition and Research

Target Audience

Knowing your audience will help us identify the key features your site must include. You’ll need to make sure you include whatever it is that your target audience will want to be able to do on your website. It is also a way to help refine the digital marketing methods selection because different people have different ways to look for services and products.

Part 6 – Digital Marketing Methods Recommendations

From the previous steps, we can formulate a set of digital marketing methods specifically for your company. We will prioritize the digital marketing methods by its potential return on investment. For example, if your competitors do not run any pay-per-click campaigns at all. Running one would be the easiest and cheapest way for your company to attract traffic.

Part 7 – Designing The Ideal Website Structure

Idea Website Structure

Based on your company’s goals, your audience and our marketing recommendations, we will develop a full set of requirements for features functionality and content.

The first phase of your website may not necessarily have everything yet, potentially due to budget constraints, then in the case, you will just have the major features implemented first.

In the future, when things allow, your website can easily expand to have the remaining required pages without making big changes to the site, which, again, could be expensive.

Part 8 – Website Strategy Presentation

Our digital strategists will go through the whole website strategy with you. During the presentation, we will discuss and set the priorities for the features and pages.

We will leave out things with lower priorities to make sure we can complete the project within the given time and budget.

Once this strategy is refined, we can begin the website design and development project. See how we will proceed with designing and developing your website.

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