An organization’s website should broadcast to the world what your brand stands for; it should be a hub for all of an organization’s marketing communications. As a result, an organization needs a website development plan that includes all of the key components of a successful website. A high-performance website begins with having a clear understanding of the brands core values; the brand identity! The core values are what the brand stands for!
Let’s use an example of two premium Ice Creams; Haagen-Dazs and Ben and Jerry’s. Both of these brands are premium Ice Creams, but as you will see, they each have very different positions in the marketplace based on their core values; and this difference is reflected in their website’s design, navigation, and content strategy.
The core values for Haagen-Dazs are high quality (best in class), delivers a worldly experience, and inspires meaning-full moments. As you will see, Haagen-Daz’s website www.haagen-dazs.com reflects these core values; as does all of Haagen-Daz’s marketing communications.
Ben & Jerry’s core values include High Quality, Social Responsibility, Fun, and Hippy-ish. As you will see, Ben & Jerry’s website www.benjerry.com reflects these core values; as does all of Ben & Jerry’s marketing communications.
Generally speaking an organization will not have more than 3, 4, 5, or 6 core values. Hammering out an organization’s core values can be challenging, but it is a prerequisite to achieving any high-performance marketing activity in an organization. An organization cannot develop a logo, a website, business cards, packaging, advertising etc., until and unless the core values are fully understood; the core values are what the brand stands for. it is the foundation for building a high- performance brand!
Once an organization’s core values are understood, they can be embedded at every level of website development. Website development includes the following components:
1. Design — The core values of the brand are infused into the website’s design. The use of color, font styles, white space, logos etc. are all considered within the framework of the brand’s core values.
2. Structure — Building the structure (wire frame) for a website requires a web designer to consideration the following web-design components: User-friendly, Interactive, Scalable, and Secure.
User-friendly — Is the navigation around the website difficult, slow, time consuming, and frustrating? If so, your website user- friendliness rating is low; and as a result, your visitor time on site will be low. And if visitors cannot easily navigate around an organization’s website, if they become confused on the functionality and direction they should take, they will not stick around. And if visitors do not stick around, they will not purchase products, services, ideas etc.
Usability testing is an ongoing process of continually trying to improve the customer experience. Here are a few things to consider about usability: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3J85SUZFXNM
Interactive –getting visitors to interact with a website is critical to engaging the visitors in a meaning-full experience. Landing pages, contests, feedback, links, blogs, social media platforms, posting product reviews, etc. all engage the customer to some degree.
Scalable— relates to how easy it is to continually build out and update the functionality of an organization’s website. Build-outs and updating always need stay aligned with the principles discussed in this post. Most websites start with basic functionality and then scale-up the functionality as time goes on.
Security — visitors to websites are becoming increasingly concerned about the security of websites. If your organization is going to ask for visitor data, then visitors need to feel good about knowing that their data will be secure.
3. Content— The heart and soul of search engine optimization (SEO) is the relevance of content. In other words, does the content an organization publishes on the website and social media platforms have meaning (value) to its recipients; if not, your content is merely junk mail. Many companies are damaging their brand by publishing content that is irrelevant and un-engaging. This irrelevant content will lead to people “de-friending” a company’s website.
4. Visability — relates to how easily potential customers can find your website. It’s great if an organization builds out a website that is authentic, user-friendly, interactive, scalable and secure, but if no one can find the website, then all is lost. The heart and soul of Visibility is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Where does an organization’s website rank in the “organic” listing, not in the Pay-Per-Click advertising listing.