Well it’s that time again and I’m back with part 2 of part 2.  Last week I started off by explaining the basics behind setting yourself a brief to reach a specific objective and gave you some examples of how we do it for the most common requests that we receive.  This week I will talk about some of the other website changes and upgrades that we are asked to assist with and how we keep on the right track throughout the project.

So, we’ve been asked to upgrade a website by implementing an SEO strategy so the site will rank higher on search engines. Where do we start?

We start by looking at the content and the keywords relating to the business and services that it contains.  The written content is naturally going to contain words and phrases relative to most common search terms simply through its explanation of the company and products, but what we want to find out is where the gaps are that will allow it to be optimised without losing site of the objective, tone, brand and message.  The content needs to be based on optimising the visibility of certain keywords and phrases on your site…so logically the next step for Début Marketing is to focus on the keywords.

In any brief it is important to set out the keywords and phrases that you are going to use but first of all you need to choose them, and how this is decided will be based on research findings.

There are a couple of reasons that should determine how you select your keywords and phrases being;

  • local search volume and resulting potential traffic
  • keywords that are realistically going to help you to rank well

  • Niche keywords that are being searched for but not targeted by competition

So with keywords chosen we would then set about weaving them into the copy in such a way that search engines will recognise them as a term and not a blatant plug, which would have the opposite effect to the one that is desired – a higher ranking.

  • The next step would be to consider headers, sub-headers and straplines.  These can and should contain keywords but must still make sense.
  • Now we will move onto links and videos.  Does the site currently have any and where would it benefit from them being put?
  • And finally, we may suggest a blog as besides as being an informative way of being interactive, it is a good tool for search engines as it provides fresh, relevant content on a regular basis.

Here is the final example of website work we get asked to be involved in: a re-design. Whilst we don’t actually do the behind-the-scenes techy bits and bobs or the pretty pictures, our input is required from a “how to market to specific, target customers” point of view.  The attributes of the visuals and navigation layout is as important as the content and this is where we come in…

In order to have a starting point for our brief we need to ask some questions and the most importantly one is, who are the customers?

This determines a lot! The design, wording and content of your site will all depend on the answer. If for example your customer base and predominantly elderly you will need to have everything larger and clearer with simpler messages. If they are a more youthful audience then you may consider more interactive features and going into more detail.

Other questions that we also ask on a regular basis are:

  • Are there any design notes and ideas?
  • Has a colour scheme been chosen and is it on brand?

  • How many pages are there and what is the content of these pages?

  • Is the navigation clear?

  • What is the current website situation in relation to online turnover, new customer sign ups and enquiries?

  • How many visits does the site receive?

  • What are the site stats in relation to bounce rate, time on site and page views etc?

  • What is the site’s current Google ranking?

  • What is the site’s authority ranking?

  • Are there any links to and from the site?

We need the answers to these in our brief so we can make it as detailed as possible therefore giving us the best chance of reaching the objective set as effectively and efficiently as possible, and also so we can look back and reference them in order to set and measure new targets.

Now, you may be thinking that I have missed a fundamental question out – the budget. Whilst this is obviously a constraint, there is always something that can be done no matter how big or small your allocated spend is.  We understand that this can be deemed as a taboo subject and lends itself to the ‘elephant in the room’ analogy and that is why we take the time to fully understand your needs and compile a proposal accordingly.

The final step in the website update process is the review, which is also the topic of next week’s blog.  Come back next week to find out how to tell whether all the hard work and effort has been worth it.  **SPOILER ALERT** (I can tell you know, it will be)

Building a brief for a website review Part 2

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