Soooo you want a new website. Allow me to introduce you to the best marketing strategy tool you will need to get the most out of your project.

One simple word.

Why.

Really. Give it a shot. Have someone say “we should probably redo the website” and respond “why?”

“Well, because it’s old.”

“Why?”

“It’s not responsive, the imagery is outdated, and the copy could use a refresh.”

“Why? Why does it need to be responsive and what does it matter what the images look like or what the copy says?”

“Cause it’s better for phones and having outdated stuff makes us look bad.”

“Why does it make us look bad? Why does it matter?”

“Because we want our clients to trust us.”

Bingo. You have the seed of your strategy. If you redesign a website just because it’s old, you’ll get a new website, but for all intents and purposes, it doesn’t make it any better. When you’re designing a website because you want to build confidence with potential and current clients, that gives you a measuring stick to hold the rest of your decisions up to.

“Why” is helpful in so many situations. It’s constantly buzzing in my head, though I do my best to keep it there to avoid sounding like a petulant four-year-old (with varying degrees of success). Designers need a reason for everything and that keeps us up at night. It also gives us something to say when our clients ask “why does it look like that” other than “it’s pretty?”

Why is the basis of any good marketing strategy. Simply employ this word at whim and see how far it gets you. In fact, you need to know the why behind every decision you make for a strong result. Each decision builds on the one before it and you need reasoning to build a strong wall of defense of why your project is worth it.

Take building a home page. Seems simple, just pop a logo on there, catchy call to action, some pretty thingamabobs and a little about yourself and call it a day.

Let’s break out the handy-dandy strategy tool.

Why do you need a logo? Because everyone else has one. Why does everyone else has one? To differentiate ourselves from one another and in the marketplace.

Okay. So we’re going to put it at the top of the page either to the left or the center of the navigation because 1.) it’s seen immediately and designates that a visitor is in fact on your website, your website that is distinct and better than your competitor’s because your logo is on it 2.) a logo is home base for your website. Whenever viewers get lost and bewildered reading about the intricacies of your widget, it’s super easy to look up, find the logo where it should be and return to home base. Putting the logo somewhere else is at best a missed opportunity, and may frustrate your viewer to the extent they’ll leave your website.

Why do you need a call to action? So the people visiting your website do something. Why do you want them to do something? So you can interact with them and either provide something of value or get information from them, preferably both. Okay, so your website is a marketing piece. That’s a baseline strategy right there and answers a lot of other questions about how you approach building your site. A marketing website is different from say a purely informational website. If the point of your website is to convey information, you want that information to be both easy to find and easy to click between different sections to related content. A marketing website wants the viewer to do something.

I only addressed two items on the home page. Applying this tactic to an entire website may feel a bit pedantic, but it’s a surefire way to employ solid strategy that can be measured with results.