Before you start figuring out practicalities, like choosing the right content management system, it's crucial that you think before you act: What is your business goal? What do you want this website to do? Who is this website for? … If needed, a business strategy trajectory can help you figure out the answers. Solid research will help you make the right UX and technology decisions, significantly increasing the impact of your website.
Once you have a clear business view, you should talk to your internal and external stakeholders to have a good understanding of what the ideal website looks like. In other words, get started with your UX strategy: What works well on the current website? What could be done better? What do your colleagues and your customers expect the website to do? If both parties are having similar expectations, you’re considered lucky. UX strategy is not only important to optimize your conversion, but also to save development costs in the long term.
“Let’s say you’re designing a chair: you’re not going to draw it, produce it, sell it … and then test it. If you come to the conclusion that it’s not comfortable at all at that point, you’re in big trouble. That’s exactly what a UX strategy does for your website!”
Head of User Experience at Duke & Grace
Once you listed the findings of your in-depth interviews, you want to support them with data. By doing quantitative research, you will know whether the input you’ve received is representative for the whole target audience. This implies elaborate Key Word Research and taking a closer look at your Google Analytics. The latter will make sure you can compare the results of your old website with the new one at a later stage.
As your website plays a central part in all your marketing efforts (social media, newsletters, SEO …), it’s no luxury to really think through your content strategy. See it as a traffic generator! By defining your target audience, you can outline the different content needs in each phase of the customer journey. In that way, you send the right message to the right people at the right moment, optimizing the conversion rate of your website.
All the previous will help you and your website builder pick the right content management system for your business. Because what you choose now will determine what you will be able to do later. So, a well-founded decision, based on your strategy and (future) ambitions, will save you time and money in the end.
Looking for a starting point for your talk with the web developer? Great news! We’ve listed a few questions to ask yourself that can help you pinpoint your (future) needs.
Together with your web developer, you can run through the answers you’ve given to these questions and translate them into a requirement list. To reach a common understanding on the importance of each requirement, we use the MoSCoW method, a well-known prioritization technique in web development, which stands for:
Now your web developer has gained sufficient insight, he will suggest a specific content management system. As every choice should be tailor-made, we can only give you an overview of the technologies we think could meet all your needs:
Does this remain rather vague to you? We fully understand! Let’s illustrate with some real-life cases:
Are you specifically looking for a headless CMS? Then you should definitely read our previous blog post, where we illustrate some specific examples to clarify the choices we made together with our clients.
Once your strategy is on point and you’ve defined the right technology, it’s time to optimize your website for conversion by developing your UX flow(s). How can you formulate an answer to the needs of a certain stage in the customer journey, which you already defined in the first step, with the features of the platform?
You translate this into a prototype UX design, which can then be tested with the target audience.
So, how does the testing work? You basically sit together with someone from your target audience and ask them questions that require them to navigate through the website, like to discover how they believe the company could help them with a specific problem. While they are thinking out loud, you check the following:
Are website visitors not taking the desired actions on your website? Then you might be struggling with your UX. Remember that we can easily help you out with a UX audit. Together, we can help you pinpoint the problem(s) and convince your management that it could be done better.
Great, your website is finally launched! Now, it’s time to generate traffic. Let your social media, newsletters, SEO, SEA, partner websites … work their magic. While doing that, you should attach GREAT importance to tracking. By measuring from the very beginning you’ll be able to easily adjust and optimize afterwards. What website KPIs should you definitely take into account?
“Fellow marketers are wondering what the bounce rate really says, but everyone uses it anyway. Just keep in mind that it will disappear with Google Analytics 4. You can easily switch the bounce rate for pages per session and average session duration.”
Online Marketing Consultant at Duke & Grace
Your content strategy should operate as an always-on approach, which can then be peppered with the creative campaigns of your marketing plan:
The rising horizontal line represents your always-on approach. This approach is based on your content strategy, as it responds to the needs of your target audience in every phase of their customer journey. Think of newsletters, social media, blog posts, SEO, SEA … A good example of this pull communication would be Barco. By offering content that is relevant for the target audience at that point, they could guide them to the next phase of the decision-making process. Working in phases by first creating a broad audience through content marketing and then retargeting these audiences with conversion-oriented messages, ensured more cost-effective leads. The ‘campaign bursts’ represent (creative) campaigns from your marketing plan. A good example of this push communication would be Van Marcke. For Batibouw 2021, they’ve put together a series of luxury videos focusing on bath and wellness items, published as part of the Treat Yourself campaign.
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Now’s the time to get the most out of your website. In the first step, you defined what your internal as well as external stakeholders expected the website should do. Based on that, you can now measure the success of your website. Are website visitors actually taking the desired actions on your website? If not, that's not only throwing your marketing budget down the drain, but also a waste of your efforts. Why don't they convert? You’ve tested out some assumptions during the user tests, but continuous optimization is required.
The process of finding out why your website visitors aren't converting and testing improvements is called Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). This approach combines UX and online marketing. Based on your findings in tools like Google Analytics and Hotjar, you can suggest adjustments to the website. For example, you see in Google Analytics that many visitors are ending up on your contact page, but not many are filling in the contact form. In that case, you could introduce a poll on Hotjar and ask them what goes wrong. Or have a look at the heatmap in Hotjar. You could assume that the submit button needs a different location. Via Google Optimize, you can do A/B testing your assumptions. Based on your findings, your developers can swing into action, carrying out the adjustments.
As you can imagine, improving your website performance never ends. It’s considered a circular process.
If you’re struggling to improve your website performance, you can always call in the experts at Duke & Grace. We have a team of strategists, UX architects, developers and online marketers who will gladly assist you along the way. Simply let us know if you need any help!
Head of User Experience
Head of Development
Online Marketing Consultant
Ewaut Van Gerrewey