Having been designing and developing websites for approaching nigh on two decades we recognise a complete sea change in how the web design industry is moving forward. Only a short time, maybe two or three years ago a normal website project would kick off something like this.
- Customer approaches us with a stated need such as a re-design to improve branding, or make their website a responsive or both, or the addition of a content management system, so that they can add their own content or even look at site rebuild to try and focus on search engine optimisation.
- We would look at design and functionality and work with the customer to hit the stated requirements.
- The customer would be happy and then carry on with the new website in the same way as they did with the previous website.
- Occasionally the customer may have then asked us, or called in additional resources, to manage their SEO, Pay Per Click and maybe even their blogging and social media.
The end result is that nothing much changes because the main initial focus is on the website itself almost in isolation to everything else around it. A number of marketing tactics would be carried out and driven to an inappropriate website.
Today of course websites are approached in a completely different way. If you really believe that your website should be a major contributor to your marketing and sales efforts then it can not just be seen as a single entity out there on its own, but has to be a working part within an overall marketing strategy.
So strategy has to come before any thoughts of what the design of your website should be, or what technologies it is built upon, or how it should be marketed.
Its just not good enough to be a website designer or a marketeer in isolation of each other. The two are so intertwined that they are indistinguishable from each other. This is where a strategist comes into play. A strategist must be able to facilitate a business goal, devise a strategy to achieve that goal, and then be able to deploy a number of tactics to help reach that goal.
Most web design companies agencies only tend to focus on the tactics or the functionality, so miss out massively on what really is needed to help drive a business forward.
There are many reasons for this, but one is that marketing technology has, and is, moving so quickly forward that it is impossible for a person who is not totally immersed in web design and marketing strategy and tactics to fully understand just what is available out there and how all of these things fit together. In fact with so many things appearing on a daily basis, its impossible to keep up with all of the changes going on.
If however, you dont see your website as an important part of your sales and marketing effort, then nothing really changes. The only thing that is different is the ease of which you can get your own website up and running, or employ an agency to build and leave.
We think that although the ‘old’ way of building websites is indeed dead, the future is bright for specialist strategy based web design agencies.