For All You Website-Building Creatives, Please Mind the Strategy Gap
As a creative, and therefore (by nature and inclination) independent, you’re probably well aware that having a website is a good idea. Some would go as far as saying that it’s a necessity. You’re building up your personal brand, perhaps looking for a job, and you want something that shows you off – just you. Not your agency. Not your current or former colleagues. Just you.
Well, the good news is that there is a slew of website builders out there that can help you architect your personally branded, digital dashboard. Some also have a wide range of tools that allow you to make the most of your new online home. And the creativity that has resulted from these services is remarkable.
The bad news, however? Most of us are creatives, which means that we believe in the art of our work speaking for itself. Which, in turn, leads us to a place with a whole lot of website and very little strategy.
To ameliorate the situation, keep the following key strategies in mind. Some are for your journey towards building a website, some are for the actual process, and some are for consideration once you have your site already built.
Before You Build
- Goals and objectives should be defined – and defined well – from the get-go. You should have a clear sense of what your website’s purpose is. This is one of the only ways of ensuring that it will help (rather than hinder) you and that the investment is worthwhile.
- Dedication is something to consider and remember. It is perfectly fine if your current situation has pointed to the absence (and need) of your personal website; however, prepare yourself for the continued involvement that it beckons. It is ill-advised to create your website for a contemporary purpose and then simply forget about it a few months later. It will need a good cadence of upkeep.
While You Build
- Be picky about content and features. This is where your creativity comes through. Website builders can offer you so many choices that you end up lost in the abundance (WIX being a great example). But this also happens to be where the most creativity shines through. It’s a game of mix and match, and the more you know the reason for your website, the better your pattern of content and features will turn out.
- Simple is always better, but that doesn’t mean you should stick to whatever everyone else is doing. This is another trap. That feeling that you saw a fantastic website and want yours to do the exact same thing. Remember that technology moves at a faster pace than you can wrap your head around, so go and peruse the Internet. You’re bound to find some really great ideas that somebody has yet to piece together.
After You Build
- Study those analytics – figure out what they mean and how you can improve. Most of these website builders have analytics included in some way or another. Some require that you utilize Google Analytics, while others have proprietary analytics tools (i.e., Squarespace’s Metrics app). Whichever path you end up taking, enstate a schedule for analyzing those metrics and stick to it. Make alterations based on why your visitors are discovering, staying on, and returning to your site.
- Maintenance is not a joke. Too many creatives build their websites for one timely purpose and then forget to tend to it with updates that are necessary to keep the site relevant. Even those built by professional developers (such as Web.com) offer a way of managing and updating your site that is easy and does not require programming knowledge. In other words, you have no excuse.
- SEO is also a big deal. The Internet is your ecosystem and, with that, comes the responsibility of working well with others. You must not only be knowledgeable about what is trending and what your competitors are doing, but you should also be proactive when promoting your website through the channels or content of others. Backlinks, probably one of the most important aspects of any SEO strategy, is a term that you should become very familiar with. It’s not rocket science, but you should read about it – a lot.
- Consider email marketing. We say “consider” because email marketing is not the easiest art to master. An inbox is a personal space – similar to one’s smartphone – and must be treated with care. One idea is to start a newsletter of interesting content (either created or curated by you). If that does not fit your overall strategy, then perhaps some smaller campaigns to particular targets is a good way to go – either to get them acquainted with you, remind them of you, or showcase your newest work. There are multiple options, but one thing ties them all together: The subject line will always be your sweet spot for creativity and effectiveness.
Now, there are many more tips where these came from. But, for the beginning, these should give you a pretty good head-start. We’ve seen creativity flourish alongside the development of website builders; however, we don’t want our fellow creatives getting caught in the freedom without taking a few strategic moves into consideration first.
Article Written By: Branding Magazine0