How to Create a Website Blueprint

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  • 1 HOW TO CREATE A WEBSITE BLUEPRINT IN ORDER TO MANAGE A SUCCESSFUL WEBSITE (RE)BUILD

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    A WEBSITE BLUEPRINT

    HOW TO CREATE

    IN ORDER TO MANAGE A SUCCESSFUL WEBSITE (RE) BUILD

    www.sol8.com

  • 2 HOW TO CREATE A WEBSITE BLUEPRINT IN ORDER TO MANAGE A SUCCESSFUL WEBSITE (RE)BUILD

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    How to create a website

    blueprint in order to manage a

    successful website (re)build

    BY KASIM ASLAM

    Kasim Aslam the Digital Ninja knows how to put awesome sauce on everything he touches.

    The brains and technical knowledge behind Solutions 8, Kasim is proud to co-own the fastest

    growing digital media company in Arizona. Even as a kid, Kasim knew he wanted to be an

    entrepreneur and own his own business one day, having watched his father run multiple

    businesses of his own. He grew up playing center and power forward in high school for the

    basketball team and his goal in the next 5 years is to be retired, hopefully. Kasim loves his

    chosen field because it is always an adventure, no day is the same, and because the

    technological landscape is always changing. He can connect and proficiently explain even very

    difficult, technical procedures to anyone and this makes him an amazing person to have on any

    team. Kasims advice to other entrepreneurs is: "Spend less time worrying and more time doing

    - a great plan is worthless without execution".

    Kasim and his wife, who is currently Miss Arab USA 2012, love to travel and two of the places

    they have enjoyed are Egypt and Honduras. When he isnt working, which rarely happens,

    Kasim enjoys writing and acting in local films. He and his wife met on the set of a GoDaddy

    commercial and Kasim has also shared a screen with Sarah Chuck, David Della Rocco (Boondock

    Saints) and Sayed Badreya (a popular Egyptian filmmaker and actor). Kasim is inspired mostly by

    the strong men in his family and by his wife Suzanne. If Kasim was an animal he would be a

    Chimpanzee. Digital Media and strategy planning is a wild jungle, but Kasim maneuvers and

    swings through it all with ease.

    @kasimaslam

  • 3 HOW TO CREATE A WEBSITE BLUEPRINT IN ORDER TO MANAGE A SUCCESSFUL WEBSITE (RE)BUILD

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    Table of Contents

    Introduction ............................................................................................ 4

    Your Website: A Fifty Thousand Foot View ............................................. 6

    Your Website: The Open Source Content Management System ........... 14

    Your Website: Best Practices for a successful Build .............................. 19

  • 4 HOW TO CREATE A WEBSITE BLUEPRINT IN ORDER TO MANAGE A SUCCESSFUL WEBSITE (RE)BUILD

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    Introduction

    INTRODUCTION

  • 5 HOW TO CREATE A WEBSITE BLUEPRINT IN ORDER TO MANAGE A SUCCESSFUL WEBSITE (RE)BUILD

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    Your website is the foundation of

    your digital strategy

    Your website should be the epicenter of everything your

    organization does online. Where your Digital presence is a

    solar system your website is the Sun. When building a new

    website (whether this is your first step in the digital world or

    youre a seasoned business rebuilding your site) its important

    to heed the carpenters motto: Measure twice, cut once.

    Having a well thought out blue print for your web

    application will save you countless hours of time, innumerable amounts of money and a stress level that

    could make a bomb defusing expert weep like a spice girl at a where are they now? convention.

    If you have already found the right vendor to build your site (or are building it in-house) then providing

    your team with a well-defined blue print will set them up for success.

    If youre still looking for the perfect development team, knowing exactly what you want will put you in a

    position of being able to adequately vet potential vendors and ensure quite a few essentials including:

    You and the development team are on the same page in terms of scope

    Your specific needs are clearly outlined ensuring the development team has an opportunity to

    speak to them directly

    Every bid you receive is based upon the same criteria so that you are comparing apples to

    apples

    Your website blueprint will ensure that your needs are clearly outlined; continue to refer back to it

    throughout the process in order to maintain the level of consistency required for the development of

    such an important component of your business. When managing a web development process having a

    blueprint is absolutely essential to your success.

    Let us begin.

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    Your Website: A Fifty Thousand Foot View

    YOUR WEBSITE A FIFTY THOUSAND FOOT VIEW

  • 7 HOW TO CREATE A WEBSITE BLUEPRINT IN ORDER TO MANAGE A SUCCESSFUL WEBSITE (RE)BUILD

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    General theory of an effective website and its uses

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    While there are many reasons to have a strong presence on a multitude of online properties, the only

    digital tool that you have complete and total control over is your own website; your ability to engage

    and convert users is exponentially more potent when theyre on your home court. Where online profiles

    like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (in order to protect the integrity of their communitys aggregate

    experience) have very specific guidelines and functions, your website can and should be custom tailored

    to engage your users on your terms allowing you to capitalize on your viewership and ensure the highest

    possible conversion rate.

    For this reason it's crucial to make sure that, regardless of how active you are online, ultimately all roads

    lead back to your website. Secondary properties like those mentioned above are extremely important

    but they are still secondary and should be run with the aim of driving all possible and relevant traffic

    back to your website if and when appropriate.

    To this end your website needs to accomplish the following overarching goals:

    o Attract

    o Engage

    o Convert

    o Nurture

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    1. ATTRACT

    Im assuming youve heard the term SEO (search engine

    optimization) - this is a process geared toward making your

    website the most relevant result for a specific key phrase (or

    phrases) in the eyes of major search engines (i.e. the almighty

    Google). Well dive more deeply into the intricacies of SEO in

    later chapters. Its important to touch upon here because

    before we can begin this all important and exceptionally tedious process, you have to ensure

    that your website is actually optimizable. This means your site must be well built with clean,

    transparent code, quick to load and best practice compliant.

    2. ENGAGE

    You have seven seconds. Statistically a user will decide whether

    or not to stay on your website within seven seconds. While this

    is yet another great reason to optimize your sites load speed

    (something we discuss in greater detail in the on-site

    optimization punch list) what it really means is you need to build

    your website with immediate engagement in mind. Your website needs to clearly and succinctly

    deliver your target message in a way that allows users to immediately qualify your web

    application as pertinent to their search.

    This means ensuring that your highest value information is delivered above the fold (meaning

    they dont have to scroll down to see it), is easily identifiable and displayed in ways that help

    capture your users attention and illustrate your main points. Images, videos, bullet points and

    infographics are extremely valuable tools to this end and should be built with the idea that they

    must capture a users attention before earning the right to educate the user any further than

    the initial seven seconds.

    A mistake many digital marketers continue to make is focusing primarily (and often solely) on

    the homepage of their site while leaving internal pages sparse and void of engagement.

    Remember that the great and mighty Google has made it its mission to get its users to the end

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    result as fast as possible meaning that, very often, theyll be linked to an internal page or blog

    post on your site and bypass the homepage entirely. Every page on your website (and especially

    your blog) needs to be built with targeted engagement in mind.

    3. CONVERT

    User conversion is absolutely key to an effective digital

    marketing strategy. Conversion and engagement go hand in

    hand; if a user is engaged the logical next step is conversion.

    Your website is not a static, informational brochure meant to

    host information online for your users to browse at their leisure.

    Your site should be built with the intention of converting users

    into active and ongoing members of your own personal digital

    community. But what does it mean to convert a user?

    Conversion refers to any action taken by the user that assists in your ability to engage them

    further.

    Examples include:

    Subscribing to your blog or RSS feed

    Submitting their email in order to receive updates and newsletters

    Commenting on your articles or engaging in further discussion on hosted forums

    Filling out a conversion form

    Emailing, calling or otherwise contacting your organization for additional

    information

    Liking, friending, +1ing, following any number of your social media properties

    Bookmarking your site

    Downloading / accessing internal sources of media and information

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    Converting users is the first step in filling your funnel and beginning the sales cycle required to

    turn users into prospects and prospects into customers. There are three layers to your sales

    funnel (top, middle and bottom) and all three should be serviced through consistent conversion

    points throughout your website. An important thing to remember is that your conversion points

    should be specific to the area of the website within which they are housed. If you have a

    products/services page make sure to have conversion points geared toward further defining

    your products or services. Conversely, your portfolio or client pages may house conversion

    points such as case studies or testimonials better suited to the sections topic.

    TOP OF THE FUNNEL

    A top of the funnel conversion point is typically a very

    broad and (dare I say) general offering that helps convert

    users who are in the beginning stages of their due

    diligence process. More often than not these top of the

    funnel offerings are geared toward education and

    clarification. It can be something as simple as a high value

    blog or article and as intricate as an eBook or whitepaper meant to explain one of your key

    topics or core competencies. It's critical that any content you provide as a conversion point is

    high value enough to your target user to trade their email address for. Please consider this your

    new gold standard: Is my [insert content type] valuable enough for a user to be willing to give

    me their email address for? If the answer is no, then youre not giving enough - you have to

    give to get in the realm of inbound marketing.

    Some examples of good top of the funnel offerings:

    eBooks and whitepapers that explain the products / services from an objective

    standpoint and educate users on the values and uses of their employment

    Explanatory / educational video highlighting key points about your industry and

    product or service

    An infographic explaining the way a product or service works and the value it

    provides

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    Remember to stay far away from a sales pitch when creating content meant to convert. Try to

    provide your users with information as though you were an independent and objective

    consultant giving advice on the industry. This approach is the most effective at building trust and

    establishing credibility as a thought leader.

    MIDDLE OF THE FUNNEL

    Where a top of the funnel offer is meant to incite interest

    and/or educate a user, a middle of the funnel offering

    is geared towards assisting users who have moved

    further along the sales cycle in making specific decisions.

    These offers are more focused and need to be geared

    toward advancing the user toward the bottom of your sales funnel.

    Some examples of good middle of the funnel offerings:

    A budget calculator that allows the user to determine the costs associated with the

    types of products/services you offer (these can be constructed in Microsoft excel

    with simple algorithms for automated calculations)

    eBooks / whitepapers meant to assist users in specific use and deployment of the

    tools and technologies relevant to your industry (I would consider this eBook a

    middle of the funnel offering)

    Videos that detail the specific differences between certain levels of offerings and

    which level is most appropriate for each user based upon their needs

    Seminars or podcasts instructing users on specific components or facets of your

    industry and how they pertain to a user based upon their needs

    BOTTOM OF THE FUNNEL

    Bottom of the funnel offerings almost always entail

    direct interaction with a user on a one-on-one basis.

    These users are presumably ready to buy and have been

    well educated on your specific offering, the value they

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    will receive in its use and your organizations methodology and value-add compared to your

    competitors.

    Good bottom of the funnel offerings include:

    Free, no-obligation consultations on the users existing infrastructure

    Personal demos via online meetings meant to showcase your offerings and explain

    their uses in regards to the users specific needs

    Onsite visits geared toward ascertaining user specific needs with a full analysis of

    their specific requirements and a proposal as to how your organization can fulfill

    them

    Bottom of the funnel offerings and conversion points are the highest value and most time

    consuming offering you can provide. Its important that you qualify your users prior to leading

    them this far down the sales funnel in order to ensure that youre not wasting their time or your

    own.

    4. NURTURE

    While youve probably heard of nurture tracks (which will

    b...