Considering all the advances in website design and web development technologies, there are still way too many poorly, outdated and ineffectively designed websites that do more harm than good to any business by diminishing their brand credibility and business growth. Not only are these websites are unpleasant to look at, they also disregard any marketing insight into the industry of the business as well as the business's target audience. This is likely because these sites are designed without a solid marketing plan and with content strategy analysis and development.

Even though proper marketing plans and content strategy analyses vary for each type of website/business, the core factors tend to be the same:

1. Who is your target market? Basically, what audience are you designing this website for?

By establishing your target audience parameters, a qualified designer can easily adapt their design to reflect the general look and feel of the website, leading to a better experience for the user, and, in turn, a higher conversion rate.

2. What is your industry? What are your industry standards for web design?

Besides the industry consideration this point also touches on the competitive analysis for the project. Identifying your industry will help designer establish a baseline for the website's features based on industry standards as well as get the project going toward a further competitive analysis strategy.

3. What is the conversion goal for the website?

For most businesses, the answer is easy. However, it isn't asked as frequently as it should be. Every website should be designed around and for specific conversion goals. These are the features, factors and goals that drive income for the busines, and they should drive the call for action on the site. For example, "brick and mortar"-type businesses may have goals including:

  • Request a Quote
  • Schedule a Consult
  • Book Your Tee Time

Or, for of an online, user driven business model:

  • Download Now
  • Newsletter Sign-up
  • Sign-up for Free Trial
  • Purchase an ECommerce Product

4. What content should the website have?

Accurately derived definitions and parameters from the above questions should drive the content development strategy for the website. Content strategy should consider it's audience, industry and conversion goals when setting up the initial strategy, as well as strategy for the future.

Unfortunately, there is not one answer for everyone when it comes to properly designing and setting up a website. But, when the above factors never even come into consideration, a website's design and conversion rates suffer significantly. When taking on a web design project, all designers should do the groundwork and properly understand their client's marketing plans. This should drive the development of a content strategy that equates to results and does justice for their clients.

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