Five lethal mistakes to avoid in your web strategy

At World Wide Creative, we've spent the past six years looking deeply at how to do websites ‘right'. We've tweaked, tested, trialled and torn apart all the various techniques that are available to us in this technological battlefield where everyone is fighting for one thing: traffic. We've listed our top five mistakes that need to be avoided.

  1. Not identifying the people who will visit the site
    We've identified 20 critical steps in creating a website. One of the very first steps is what we call a ‘sitestorm'. This is perhaps the most important step in the whole process. It's where we dig deep into the core of your company and figure out what your offering is, where the problems lie, and who you are talking to. The biggest outcome of this step is to identify ‘personas', which is different to the traditional idea of ‘target market segments'. Instead of looking at huge slices of the population, you look at real people in real situations, and dig into exactly what will interest them on your website.

  2. Your website does not meet your site visitors' expectations
    Consider the following scenario: You go to a camera website, looking for the new Canon Powershot S5. You land on the site and you spend 10 seconds scanning the home page. No Canon logo. No search field, and no list of company brands. You see a link called ‘cameras'. Ah, ok. You roll over it and a drop-down appears. The categories appear as “SLR's”, “Point and shoot”, “Film” and “Accessories”. What? You click on SLR, not really knowing what it is. A page appears titled “Steps to buying a camera”. This is not what you're looking for. Whoop, you're out of there. Part of the process in planning for your site is to identify what each site visitor wants to find on your site – we ask ‘why is he / she here?' Next we identify what action you would like the visitor to take (on the camera site, it may be to purchase the camera, or to sign up for a newsletter). It is important to create ‘calls to action' that make the site profitable for both the visitor and the site owner. The camera example shows how easy it is to rectify potential loss of revenue - if you do the proper planning before the site is built.

  3. Ignoring the other channels in the marketing mix
    This is a common mistake in web marketing. Many brilliant websites have been built that are practically unrecognisable from the brand that they're trying to sell. Ultimately, the thing that builds brand recognition, and loyalty, is consistency of message. So, if your website is the complete antithesis to your brand, it will erode your customers' trust in your company.

  4. Thinking of the website as a brochure
    Think about it. The web provides us with a fantastic opportunity to interact with your target market on a large scale, so why not exploit it? Look at the options available to you: blogs, feedback forms, forums, online assistance, Flash videos, microsites, mobi-sites, Facebook, competitions, animated experiences, 3-d product displays, and ‘create-your-own' functionality. And so much more. There are so many creative ideas you can plug into the website – some expensive (Flash animated experiences), some cost-effective (social media interaction) – that it is a shame to see a website flattened into a carbon copy of your print media.

  5. Starting without defining your site map
    Designing a website without a detailed site map is like heading off into the desert without water - and without a camel to get you back. In the sitestorm process, World Wide Creative uncovers each and every page that needs to be created on the site. Site navigability is key to the user experience. Without a decent navigation plan, you will find that visitors to the site will struggle to get to where they want to be, and they're outta there. Research has shown that a person will leave within 10 seconds if they battle to get to their intended destination.

If you need help with setting up your strategy correctly, contact our Cape Town studio (0861 932226), or drop us a line (). The above examples are simple mistakes that are incredibly common, but with proper planning and analysis, they will be avoided - and you'll be well on your way to a profitable website.

22 Feb 2008 15:11

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