Where I work, we are embarking on a web realignment (redesign) project for our main web presence. From the very beginning we’ve had the mindset that this approach had to be strategic in nature. I remember back in the day when designing websites it was enough to be cool and eye-catching and was very creative in nature. While the creative aspect is still very much needed, it is not enough. Intelligence is our web efforts is needed, hence the need for a web strategy.
I came across an article on eMarketing Matador where they are brainstorming an Internet Strategy Checklist. After reading some other articles that were off-shoots of this one, some very interesting points came through:
80% of websites have adequate traffic to achieve their goals, they just don’t handle it well
This is so true for us. We have a large amount of traffic to our website, but that translates into low conversion rates online. One of the focuses of our project will be to improve the conversion rates.
Without a website that can handle traffic, there is no sense of giving it any
Online marketing and search engine optimization techniques are extremely important, especially in this global economy. But spending money and time on these tactics before the site is ready to respond to the increase visitation is a waste. We are looking at this piece very carefully and have it part of the project, but it will be done in conjunction with our redesign and not applied to the current site.
9 /10 People Search Out Of Frustration, Not Interest
This statistic is usually the case for websites that have their information architecture, labeling and content designed how the institution wants it, not how the target audience expects it. eMarketing Matador goes on and says that keywords used in a website search engine are more likely content items that can’t be found, not popular topics. This point I found interested, and will keep this in mind developing our new IA.
This really only scratches the surface and only speaks to some specific points of a strategy. Developing a web strategy is not a difficult task You need to have a clear understanding of your goals, target audience and how they want to use your site and find it, etc.
When realigning our website, we will be putting heavy emphasis on what our external audiences are looking for and how they are looking for it and what they need to accomplish on our site. This will be the foundation of the new website.
How have you developed your institution’s web strategy? Was it difficult to get senior leadership buy-in? Please share your thoughts about web strategy in the higher education environment.