Why Website Strategy Should Come First, and Content Creation Should Come Second
The short- and long-term success of your online marketing strategy depends on several key elements:
- how you execute the strategy
- who contributes to the strategy
- what comes out of it
With that in mind, what is the first step to creating your overall online marketing strategy? Website strategy or content creation? This post will end the debate, and explain why planning out your website strategy needs to come before jumping right into your content creation process. Before we jump in, let’s define website strategy, content creation, and online strategy:
What is website strategy?
Website strategy is a long-term strategic business plan which shows how to create and grow a company’s online presence through the use of their website. A website strategy identifies the purpose of each page and how every element within the website is used.
What is content creation?
Content creation is the act of crafting valuable and relevant content for a clearly defined audience and purpose. Content creation is the direct product of content marketing.
What is online marketing?
Online marketing includes any set of tools or strategies used for promoting products or services through the internet. Website strategy and content creation both fall under the umbrella of online marketing initiatives.
Now that we’re clear on the definitions above, let’s dig into why your website strategy needs to come before content creation:
Before you can create content, you need to have a plan
Every piece of content you write must have a purpose, and if you’re thinking ahead (as you should be), each piece of content contributes to an overarching online marketing strategy. This strategy can include your website copy, social media, e-newsletters, SEO, calls-to-action (CTAs), advertisements, graphic design—whatever online marketing tactics you like.
The goal of any online marketing efforts should be to direct traffic to back your website. This website strategy is an important part of the online buyer’s journey, and makes up the foundation of your online marketing strategy. You know what they say—build on a cracked foundation and your structure is going to crumble.
If your website strategy is the foundation of your business’ online house, it must be stable and secure before moving on to other structural elements—your marketing tactics, which can include content creation.
Be sure to have a purposeful place to highlight your content
It’s absolutely important to create consistent content for your online marketing—but where do you upload it to once it’s ready? If you have a separate URL for your blog than you do for you company’s website, you’re not doing yourself any favours. It’s better to have your blog on your website because it streamlines all of your website traffic to one place, rather than splitting your numbers and cutting your website traffic in half.
A large piece of search engine optimization (SEO) relies on website traffic volumes. To improve overall SEO and score high in search engines, send all of your website traffic to one place. It also makes it easier for online users to learn more about you if all of the information they need is in one accessible place.
Before you start creating content like a factory, understand where your content creation efforts fit into your website strategy so that both are working to benefit the health and traffic of your web traffic, and the quality of your website visitors’ experience.
You might get website visitors, but are they converting?
Marketing your content through social media, for example, can certainly drive visitors to your website, which is wonderful. But are you paying attention to how they’re behaving once they’re on your website?
Getting online users to your website is only one piece of the puzzle. Once they arrive, they need to find something of value for them to stick around. Keep in mind that they don’t owe you anything and don’t have to stick around and explore your website. You have to earn their attention, and deliver them something of value to keep them from clicking away.
When we take the time to create a strong website strategy first, we are making a roadmap for clear marketing goals. The clearer we are on our goals, the better chance we have of being successful in our overall online marketing strategy. The purpose of creating content should be to direct online users back to our website, where they can learn more about us and our offerings. Content should be used as a support to our website, not as an entity which can stand on its own. Don’t believe me? Just remember this: there’s a reason why we often only have one website, yet hundreds or thousands of pieces of content.
And there you have it—my take on why, as both a website strategist and a content marketer, website strategy needs to come first. From having a plan to simply providing a better online experience for your prospective buyers, your website is the backbone of your online marketing operation. Are you treating it with the attention and effort it requires? If not, it may be time to seriously consider how you can give your website strategy a massive facelift.