Many organizations look at their upcoming website redesign as a separate, standalone project. But as your digital strategy encompasses so many moving parts that often live outside your website, your revamped site has to take more than itself into account; it has to include your entire digital ecosystem.
As your organization begins to tackle its next website redesign, keep the context of your larger digital ecosystem top of mind. Doing this can help improve the way that you reach your goals and how your various digital components — from your website to your social media handles and CRM platform — work in unison to provide valuable content and collect important data.
Specifically, new opportunities to be gained from taking a larger digital ecosystem approach to your website redesign include:
- Consolidation and integration. In some cases, you may find efficiencies in combining two or more systems into a single platform. This can also make it easier for you to manage the day-to-day work. Why switch back and forth between two platforms when you can have it all in one?
- Better tool and CMS selection. Make sure that the Content Management System you are using is giving you what you need. If integration is difficult with your current solution, it may be time to introduce a new one. Do not settle for a system that ‘sort of’ works. Your organization deserves better.
- Holistic data collection. As you aim for integration between systems, improve how systems collect and analyze data. This can help reduce the chances that your organization works in silos and allows you to make better decisions based on collective data.
What makes up your digital ecosystem
Beyond tools and platforms, a digital ecosystem is also made up of the practices and people you interact with every day. Practically speaking, digital ecosystem tools can fit into the following categories:
- Public platforms: Websites, social media channels, mobile applications
- Engagement tools: CRM, email marketing, advocacy, and donor management tools
- Knowledge management platforms: Intranets, wikis, communities of practice
- Project management tools: Agile development tools, issue tracking, task management
- Collaboration tools: Email, messaging, video chat, file-sharing
- Research applications: Data visualization, data storage, resource libraries, archives
Your digital ecosystem + your web redesign
Based on the above list, map out all the various tools and platforms you are currently using across your digital strategy. Which ones are essential to the success of your website goals? How are the various components connected, and not connected, to your website? And if they are not, can they be? As you answer these questions, keep your larger digital goals in mind to ensure that you are using tactics and tools that will truly contribute to your website’s impact.
A next step is to see how the components of your website contribute effectively to both your goals and larger ecosystem. Consider the following questions:
- Audience engagement. If someone lands on your website, is it easy for them to engage with your content? How are your social channels integrated to make it easier for them to share your content with their own networks or take a particular action? Are their journeys throughout the pages on your site optimized in order to make it easy for them to take the actions you want them to take?
- Member behavior. For membership organizations and associations, is your CRM able to effectively track and collect member data and actions they take on the site? This could allow you to create personalized content that keeps your target audiences coming back for more as they find value in what you offer.
- Website conversions. From online donations to event registrations and newsletter sign-ups, does your website correctly capture new conversion data in terms of the exact page and action where it took place? And does it then allow for your the correct automation to occur so that your conversions are moving along in the correct direction, e.g., confirmation emails, interest tagging, etc?
- Platform branding. How does your website design connect and compare to the other public-facing platforms with which your audiences engage? When a user hops from your email newsletter or social media handle to your website, are they having a consistent experience in terms of the messages that they receive, and the colors and images that they see?
While it may feel like an extra lift, approaching your website redesign with a more holistic lens will increase the strength of your website in contributing to your digital strategy goals. Make connections where possible, find efficiencies to make your day-to-day easier to manage, and focus on your goals as you build a website that knocks it out of the park.