Whether you’re reorganizing your website pages, updating the design, or starting from scratch to build an entirely new site, it’s definitely in your best interests to involve a digital strategist. Here’s what a digital strategist does, and why you need one.
First of All, What Does a Digital Strategist Do?
Digital strategists take part in a variety of projects, from digital ad campaign planning, implementation, and management to digital audits, website builds, content strategy, and anything that might affect an organization’s digital presence. For website projects in particular, a digital strategist will plan and prep from the earliest stages through to the end to make sure that the website produced is usable, functional, and intuitive. Whether it’s user experience (UX) considerations to page hierarchy, menus and navigation, or content and URL structure, digital strategists help you create a website that’s easy for visitors to use, easy for search engines to find and read, and long-lasting so it can grow and maneuver with you, while still retaining its structural and organizational integrity.
How a Strategist Can Help Build a Better Website
As part of an integrated web team, a digital strategist can help you:
- Stop Before You Start. Jumping into a new website project is exciting, and it’s tempting to just plow directly into design, image choice, and fun user experience flourishes. But, before you get there, it’s important to take a step back and consider the what, why, and how of your website. What do you want users to do on this website? Why do you want users to have this particular experience? And how can you facilitate that? A lot of this will come down to setting clear goals, organizing content so it’s readable by both humans and machines, thoughtful menu planning, and intentional UX/UI that helps users accomplish their end goal without hassle or confusion.
- Get an Outsider’s Opinion. A digital strategist will also come into a project with a point of view that’s informed and backed by industry expertise and best practices. It can be hard to take a step back and be objective when it comes to your own website and brand. As someone outside of your organization, a digital strategist can help moderate conversations and feelings across your internal teams and leadership, while keeping the website purpose, goals, and audiences as the main focal point of the project.
- Improve SEO and Avoid Costly Mistakes. Website revamps and rebuilds are the perfect time to do an in-depth SEO audit to get an idea of what your website is doing well and where you could improve, whether it’s content and keyword related, or technical. Rebuilding or updating your website is also a great time to reconsider what keywords you want to rank for, to get a sense of what your competitors are ranking for, and what content they’re producing to make it happen. This is also the time and place to consider all of your website’s pages, what to keep, and what to archive or redirect. Removing large swaths of content, paying little or no attention to URLs, or taking short cuts in copywriting can create a lot of SEO problems and headaches down the road.
- Plan and Build a Website That’s Great for Users and Search Engines. Most importantly, a digital strategist will help you consider what your website needs to do to facilitate a great experience for both visitors and search engines. This balance includes considering technical aspects like URL structure, page speed, indexability, content hierarchy, and much more, but also aesthetic and front-end user experience that’s intuitive and thoughtfully crafted to help meet your website goals and speak directly to the audiences your strategist has helped you identify.