To successfully design purpose-driven websites for mission-driven organizations, there must be a repeatable, proven process that uniquely blends design, technology, performance reporting (analytics), and strategy.
The Purpose-Driven Website Process
The Purpose-Driven Website Process covers everything mentioned above. Its origins are rooted in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a well-known diagram in the field of psychology, as well as the SEO Hierarchy of Needs, developed by Bruce Clay, Inc., a pioneer in the field of Search Engine Optimization.
Our purpose-driven process follows a similar pyramid concept in that the most fundamental needs of websites are at the base of the pyramid and each tier represents certain needs that cannot be realized until those below it are met. If fundamental site requirements are not in place, such as quality content and theme-based site architecture, then the full capability of a purpose-driven website will not be realized and those layers above, like digital marketing, will be far less effective.
Our purpose-driven process is a framework. It’s a structure that shows clear steps to success yet it also grants flexibility to make adjustments for the unique qualities and requirements of each new project. At the end of the day making sure your website and online presence is helping you achieve your goals and mission is what purpose-driven is all about. Our approach is intuitive and responsive, it builds a partnership-like relationship between us and you, and it generates quantifiable results that you can easily track. It also produces a great looking website.
Project Kick-off, Information Gathering and Establishing Analytics Goals
We start a new web design project by getting to know your organization better. You fill out a comprehensive questionnaire that uncovers the most important aspects and goals of your new website and online presence. With this information in hand, we reference it and refine it as we follow up to further discuss the project. Knowing your goals and understanding how your site and online presence can help your organization achieve them becomes the focal point from which many design, technical and strategic decisions are made going forward.
A lot of web design companies just add analytics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) after a site has been designed and launched. Not us, during the project kick-off phase your mission and your goals are built into the design and matched with analytics performance reporting so that you can accurately track how your new site is helping you achieve your goals once it is live.
Web analytics is the backdrop for all internet marketing efforts, including the overall performance of your website as it relates to your organization’s goals. Website data not only tracks visitor interaction and engagement, it measures your website’s impact on your goals. Having analytics involved at the beginning provides a baseline from which to measure the effectiveness of the website’s overall design.
Keywords, Content and Market Analysis
Next up is seeing what your market is saying and thinking. We accomplish this by researching the search terms used, analyzing trending content both on other websites and social media, and examining who your competitors (or like-minded organizations) are and what they may be doing right and wrong. This analysis gets married with your requirements and goals from Phase I to lay the ground work for Phase III.
The keywords coming out of this phase help shape your site content. Both are critical components of your site because they communicate to both people and search engines what your site is about, what they can expect to get from it, and where your expertise lies, your ability to help, and overall mission. Targeting relevant and trafficked keywords that relate to your site’s goals will ensure your new website continues to grow and meet the needs of your audiences. Form this analysis you can then choose to develop or recraft your existing content into engaging, compelling and unique content around this keyword research and your goals.
Site Architecture & On-Page Elements
Phase III is where everything starts coming together. In this phase we work with you on designing the right site architecture. Your site architecture is how your website is organized and how visitors will navigate it to get to what their seeking and for you to lead them to your site’s goals. Your site architecture is a culmination of goals, keyword research, market analysis, and content strategy.
Site architecture is extremely important for several reasons because it really dictates how effective your website will be in connecting with your audience and then leading them to your mutual goals. Site architecture is a blend of performance objectives and technical fundamentals that help your site with search engine optimization and overall usability.
Behind the scenes, on-page elements, site architecture and server performance must be optimized for search engine consideration. Meta information indicates the subject of the pages. Siloed site architecture creates theme-aligned content sections of a site. Really technical things like .htaccess and robots.txt files help search engine spiders know what to crawl and index on your website so that those areas appear in targeted search engine results. There is much, much more, that is probably incredibly boring to you, but that’s why you have us.
Usability & Web Design
Alas, we’re on to design and development, the phase where you start to see your site come to life. Up until now, everything has been focused on research and planning to lay the groundwork for the design and development. During this phase we create the look & feel of the site based based on all the research. We take an iterative approach, where we design, get you feedback, make adjustments, get your feedback, make further refinements, and get your approval. During the design process, you have various opportunities to provide feedback that ensures the site is being designed to your expectations. Throughout the design process, we’re also referencing the research conducted, to make sure your expectations, the research strategy and our expertise are all coming together to produce your purpose-driven website.
We also focus on usability during this phase. Web site usability seeks to optimize your visitor’s holistic experience on your site, optimizing their journey through the site. An optimized and usable site design eliminates obstacles to conversions, or whatever your goals may be, and offers your users a preferred experience on the site.
The last part of this very busy phase is development. Once the design is confirmed and we feel comfortable with usability, we start making your new website a reality. The site architecture, any available content and graphics, the design, and any desired functionality all come together to finally bring your site from concept to reality. When we think we have a finished product, we’ll test functionality, have you review it and test as well.
Training & Launch
A phase not on the Purpose-Driven Website pyramid, but very important, is the Training & Launch. Upon approval testing and development approval at the end of Phase IV, we get ready to launch the site! We wrap up your project with training that helps you feel confident in your ability to use your new website as well as see its new capabilities. During this training we also review your analytics performance reporting to make sure you know how to interpret your website’s performance going forward so that you can make informed online marketing decisions.
Though your project ends here, we don’t abandon ship completely. We’re on standby for a post-launch period to offer additional support if needed. We also recommend you opt in to one of our monthly Website Care Packages that places us at the ready, to continue to help and support you.
Digital marketing, also known as online marketing, is the phase that follows your new website and an area we can help with by being directly involved or just simply advising. Now that your site is live, and it was built with your goals and proper market research in mind, it’s now time to drive traffic to it. Usually a site on its own, will not attract new users without a bit of marketing effort, but because your site was built on strategy and purpose, your marketing efforts will be more aligned.
Content marketing, pay per click and display advertising, email marketing, as well as social media are some of the areas to be explored and utilized in this phase. All your digital marketing efforts should integrate with your website in one way or another because your website is positioned to be the hub of your online presence and your performance analytics reporting is capable of accurately keeping you abreast of your total website/online presence results.
Congratulations, you now have a Purpose-Driven Website!