In this ever changing world that we call “the internet,” it’s bound to happen at some point or another. The time will come when you need to evaluate your web presence and make some decisions. Maybe your site isn’t performing well with search engines. Perhaps your design and content need a refresh. Or, maybe your business model has changed and you need to realign your whole online marketing strategy.
No matter what the reason is, you need to be prepared. But where do you start and what direction do you need to take? This is a serious project, one that will impact the future of your business. You need someone on your side to help you develop your strategy and ensure that it’s executed, monitored, and adjusted on a regular basis to help you reach your goals. But who is that “someone?”
The World of Web Professionals
There are many types and categories of web professionals, and it can get confusing to make sense of it all. As the internet evolved, so did the industry, with different disciplines and specialties emerging to address client needs. Perhaps these are terms that you’ve heard before, and maybe you’ve even considered them to be the same thing or used them interchangeably. Let’s take a look at the distinctions:
- Web Strategist – this is the person (or team) who takes an overall look at your strategy and helps you identify key components like your goals for the site, target audience, overall experience for your visitor, conversion strategy, and more, and then develops the plan of action and wireframe for the designers and developers.
- Web Designer – this professional deals with the “feel” of the website. This includes the actual design (the look) of the site, as well as the user experience and how it functions for the user. Web designers take great care to ensure that the eye is drawn to the most important pieces on a page, that your brand is visually represented well, and that calls to action are clear and present.
- Web Developer – the developer deals with the code and structure behind the site, taking the vision, strategy and design and executing the “build” of the site. He or she makes everything work.
- Content Strategist – what is the message that your website will convey today, and what’s the plan for keeping fresh content on the site as time goes on? That’s the job of the content strategist. This professional will help develop the story – the words, the imagery, the offers, and the engagement points for the site.
- Digital Strategist – your site is launched, now you need to drive traffic to it. Your digital strategist will guide that plan. This could come in the form of Google AdWords, social media campaigns, content distribution, digital ad buys, inbound link strategy … and the list goes on.
All of the above play an important role in any digital project. Bottom line is that you want people coming to your website and doing what you want them to do when they get there. You need a plan and a holistic approach to your online existence that starts with (but goes well beyond) your website. If that’s the case, you need a web partner with experience in all of the areas of digital strategy who can create and manage it to maximize its effectiveness.
Partnership and Teamwork
Having a web partner, whether an individual or a team, means you’re in an ongoing relationship-it’s a commitment from day one. Gone are the days of you instructing a designer or developer to “build me a website!” There is an extensive process and a great deal of collaboration that goes into the strategy behind your site before the design and building process ever begin. And don’t forget the content! The messaging included on your website, the imagery and photography you create, as well as the carefully crafted calls to action tell a story about your brand and instill a feeling in the visitor. It works hand-in-hand with the overall site to encourage your audience to engage with you, build a relationship, and ultimately choose you to do business with.
The long-term strategy of your online plan goes hand-in-hand with the development of your site. It’s imperative that you don’t have a build-it-and-they-will come mentality with your website. There must be an ongoing strategy that’s present on day one, that includes a variety of tactics such as social media, ongoing optimization, digital ads, ongoing content strategy, and in many cases, traditional advertising and PR.
A web partner, especially one that’s multi-disciplined in a variety of areas, will deliver this experience, exploring your brand first, developing your story, translating it to the digital space, and broadcasting it on a regular basis to your target audience. They’re your support system, your sounding board, and your source of the latest information and techniques that can take your business to the future.
That’s what partnership is about, and that’s what we thrive on here at Kolbeco. We are more than web designers, web developers and web strategists. When you work with us, we are your partner. To us, that means shared collaboration and shared responsibility. It means ongoing communication and a reliable support system. If you don’t have a web partner already, now is the time to find one – before the digital world changes around you and you are forced to be reactive instead of proactive.